It was a bright Sunday morning on October 16, 1882 in Philadelphia for Reverand Russell's first sermon. The greeters at the door turned away a little girl named Hattie because the church was too full. She stood sobbing as Reverend Russell walked by. Hattie cried 'I can't go to Sunday School,' the Pastor guessed she had been turned away because of her shabby, unkempt appearance. Filled with compassion, Reverend Russell took her hand and led her into the Sunday school. Hattie was thrilled to learn more about Jesus. That night she went to sleep thinking of all the kids who do not know Jesus. Two weeks later, this same sweet girl died of diphtheria. Her dad told the Pastor of her savings of 57 cents towards building a bigger church. Hattie’s dad gave the pastor a note she had scribbled and her small donation.
'This is to help build a bigger Sunday School so more kids can learn about Jesus.' After sharing Hattie’s devotion to Jesus after only 2 visits at Sunday School, Pastor Russell sold Hattie’s 57 pennies and raised $250.00 from his congregation. The peace and joy Hattie May Wiatt found in Jesus was something she hoped every kid could know. The church began their building fund with the hope contained in a young soul. Soon after Hattie’s death a wealthy local realtor offered the church a parcel of land worth $10,000. When the non-Christian realtor learned that the church had no down-payment, he was compelled from within to give the church a loan at 5% with only 57 cents as their down payment. The hope was to fulfill Hattie’s dream and checks came in from people who heard of Hattie’s faith. God took the gift of her pure soul and He moved hearts to pay off the loan of $10,000; build a new church that today seats 3,300; build a new School named Temple University; and a new hospital. God changes hearts and He uses people to do His will, to reach the lost with the truth. God blesses those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Hattie May Wiatt had saved her pennies and denied herself candy and sweets. Her heart was on fire with an idea; she believed a larger church could be built. Her determined spirit led her to give all she had saved. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen”. (Hebrews 11) Hattie suffered with diphtheria, however, her legacy is her faith in her Lord Jesus Christ. She trusted that God would see to it that a bigger church would be built.
No mortal eye has seen, nor has a heart fathomed the number of souls Hattie blessed with her 57 cents. “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites.” (Mark 12:42 KJV) GOOGLE: Temple Baptist Church in Philadelphia. God is great and He touches hearts in mysterious ways. In September 1887 at the Centennial Celebration of the United States of America money was received from the Wiatt Mite Society "for the success of the new Temple".
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20) In 1880 Russell Conwell was ordained a Baptist minister. Before graduating from Yale University he served as a Captain in the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war Conwell studied law at the Albany Law School. Russell worked as an attorney, journalist, and lecturer. Russell Conwell’s most highly read book is “Acres of Diamonds” He also penned biographies of Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James A. Garfield.