As the work was growing, new steps had to be taken in the interest of the furtherance of the message of reformation.
During a General Conference Executive Committee meeting held in Sacramento, California, USA, in March 1958, an important decision was made. It was agreed that, in our future Sabbath School quarterlies, we would use only the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. And this method has had the wholehearted approval of our brethren in general and of many reform-minded Adventists who study our lessons.
Another point on the agenda was the need to attend Union Conference sessions in several countries and to visit new fields in answer to repeated Macedonian calls. It was decided that A. Lavrik would go to Europe to conduct conference sessions in Germany, Yugoslavia, and Austria, and to follow up interests in other countries, particularly Spain and Portugal, while D. Nicolici would go to such countries as Nigeria, South Africa, India, Philippines, and Australia.
Early in 1958 there was some agitation in the SDA denomination because of the ideas brought out in the book Questions on Doctrine. Seeing the need, we printed and distributed on a large scale the pamphlet After Seventy Years, which awakened widespread interest and met with a wonderful response from many Adventists in different places. This increased not only the office work of the responsible brethren but also their traveling.
While Brother Nicolici was in Nigeria, he was in continual contact with the General Conference office, keeping us informed of the development of the work there. And many of us thought that a wonderful work had been started in that country. But that which seemed to be a great success was not a success at all. The men who Brother Nicolici thought could be trusted proved to be untrustworthy. Through our disappointment we learned one more lesson–the need for much more caution.
When Brother Nicolici arrived in South Africa, he had to face a crisis. Under the influence of E. Jans, the brethren there were divided. A few days later, we received official news at the General Conference office that unity had been restored, and that Brother Jans had apologized for his unsuccessful management of church affairs and for the way he and his father-in-law, O. Schallge, had dealt with the members. Brother Jans, who seemed to be reconciled with the leadership of the Reform Movement, was nevertheless separated from the church, but he found his way back after a few years.
While Brother Nicolici was still in South Africa, a telegram arrived at the General Conference office saying that he was critically ill. He was down with malaria, with which he had been infected in Nigeria, and had to be taken to the hospital. With sorrowful hearts this news had to be imparted to the new fields that were anxiously awaiting his arrival. All our Union Conferences were informed about Brother Nicolici’s condition, and prayers were offered by our believers everywhere in behalf of his restoration. With great anxiety the brethren at the General Conference office waited for further news day after day. As no news came, they made a phone call to find out how Brother Nicolici was doing, and, on hearing his voice, they were assured that he was on the way to recovery.
When his work in South Africa was finished, Brother Nicolici was able to continue his trip as scheduled. In the same year, 1958, he visited India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. That was the first time that these countries received the visit of one of our workers. In India, some contacts were made and the precious seed of the present truth was sown, but a major harvest did not appear until many years later. In the Philippines, immediate results were seen.
In Europe, Brother Lavrik made important contacts in Portugal and Spain. In Barcelona, Spain, he organized a little group of Reform believers. The question, Who will be sent to several new fields in answer to the call for workers? was left for the prospective General Conference session to be held in 1959.