Stories… How important is our past? Moses put it this way for those in his day, “Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen,… but teach them…” (Deuteronomy 4:9). Could this still be applicable to us?

Twenty-five years ago a ministry was born in response to similar but more recent counsel. In 1903, Ellen White addressed those in her day, “We must do as the Lord directed Moses to do…. Moses was bidden to rehearse to them all the dealings of the Lord to them during their journeyings through the wilderness…. The record of the experience through which the people of God passed in the early history of our work must be republished…. We must study to find out the best way in which to take up the review of our experiences from the beginning of our work…” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, p. 344-345).

The experience of William Miller and his associates, of Captain Joseph Bates, and of other pioneers in the Advent message, should be kept before our people.

In the 1980s what was “the best way” to recall the stories? It was the decade of the personal computer. The rapid development of the technology made “rehearsal” a new experience. Desktop publishing was born, and “republish” became a new possibility. CD-ROMs allowed entire libraries to be distributed on one disk. The need and mandate were clear. “Many of those who have since come into the truth are ignorant of the way in which the Lord wrought. The experience of William Miller and his associates, of Captain Joseph Bates, and of other pioneers in the Advent message, should be kept before our people. Elder Loughborough’s book should receive attention…” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, p. 345).

The new ministry was named Adventist Pioneer Library (APL). The first step involved “data conversion”—taking the old publications, many out of print, and having the words converted to electronic files. The work took off with a quarterly periodical, Lest We Forget, begun in 1991 highlighting the pioneers, a new edition of “Elder Loughborough’s book” The Great Second Advent Movement published in 1992, and a CD-ROM released in 1993 containing over 160 books, pamphlets, sermons, and articles, plus the first 12 volumes of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. The latest collection of writings has been published in partnership with the Ellen G. White Estate, on the CD-ROM Ellen G. White Writings Comprehensive Research Edition, and on the EGW Estate web site at www.egwwritings.org.

Now 25 years later, APL has the privilege to merge with Light Bearers. The desire is to enhance both ministries. Because the rehearsing, the republishing, and the reviewing are not finished.

Check out the websites—www.aplib.org and www.adventaudio.org. Keep in touch with our new plans. Partner with us in facing the future firmly rooted in the past God has given us. Our stories reveal His hand at work.

Director at Adventist Pioneer Library

Fred Bischoff became involved in Adventist history while working as a preventive medicine physician in southern California for Kaiser Permanente and serving on the clinical faculty, School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Loma Linda University. He finds his greatest joy in exploring and explaining "the simplicity that is in Christ" in relation to history and prophecy, which culminate in the Adventist mission.