Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


From California to Switzerland

July 13, 1885, in company with W. C. White and his wife, and Sister Sarah McEnterfer, I left California on my long-contemplated journey to Europe. For months I had looked forward to this journey with anything but pleasure. To travel across the continent in the heat of summer and in my feeble state of health, seemed almost presumptuous. Since attending the State camp-meetings in 1884, I had suffered great mental weariness and physical debility. For months at a time I had been able to write but very little. As the appointed time for us to go drew near, my faith was severely tested. I so much desired some one of experience upon whom I could rely for counsel and encouragement. My courage was gone, and I longed for human help, one who had a firm hold from above, and whose faith would stimulate mine. By day and by night my prayers ascended to heaven that I might know the will of God and have perfect submission to it. Still my way was not made clear; I had no special evidence that I was in the path of duty or that my prayers had been heard. HS 159.1

About this time my son William visited Healdsburg, and his words were full of courage and faith. He bade me look to the past, when, under the most forbidding circumstances, I had moved out in faith, according to the best light I had, and the Lord had strengthened and supported. I did so; and decided to act on the judgment of the General Conference, and start on the journey, trusting in God. Bidding farewell to the friends in Healdsburg, I returned with my son to Oakland. Here I was invited to speak to the church Sabbath afternoon. I hesitated; but these words came to me with power, “My grace is sufficient for you,” and I consented. I then felt that I must seek God most earnestly, I knew that he was able to deliver in a manner that I could not discern. In thus trusting, my fears were removed, but not my weakness. I rode to the church and entered the desk, believing that the Lord would help me. While speaking, I felt that the everlasting arms were about me, imparting physical strength and mental clearness to speak the word with power. The love and blessing of God filled my heart, and from that hour I began to gather strength and courage. The next Monday I felt no hesitancy in stepping on board the cars en route for Michigan. HS 159.2

In this experience I learned over again the lesson I have had to learn so many times, that I must lean wholly upon God, whatever my perplexity. He will never leave nor forsake those who commit their ways to him. We must not depend on human strength or wisdom, but make him our counselor and guide in all things. HS 159.3

Although I had prayed for months that the Lord would make my path so plain that I might know that I was making no mistake, still I was obliged to say that “God hangs a mist o'er my eyes.” But when I had taken my seat in the cars, the assurance came that I was moving in accordance with the will of God. Many friends had come to the station to see us off. It was a place of great confusion, and I had not been able to bear anything of the kind for months. But it did not trouble me now. The sweet peace that God alone can give was imparted to me, and, like a wearied child, I found rest in Jesus. HS 160.1

The weather during the first part of our journey was exceedingly oppressive. At one place the thermometer stood at 125 degrees in the shade. In Southern California and Arizona the wind was as hot as though it came from a furnace. This was what I had dreaded; but to our great surprise I was not exhausted by the heat. The blessing of the Lord continued to rest upon me as we journeyed, and I grew stronger every day. HS 160.2

Several of our friends who were going to Iowa and Michigan accompanied us across the plains, so there were thirteen in our party. From Mojave to Kansas City there were only two or three other passengers in the car, and as these readily consented, we erected the altar of prayer, and held religious service on the Sabbath. From time to time some of the train men would drop in and listen. One day my attention was attracted to a young man who appeared very uneasy during the service. At one time he would seem almost ready to weep, and again would manifest great pleasure. He afterward stated to one of our number that it was the first prayer he had heard for five years; yet in the home of his youth, prayer was offered by his parents daily. HS 160.3

I am convinced that we lose much by forgetting Jesus when we travel. We cannot, while upon the cars or boats, enter our closets and there be alone with God; but we can gird up the loins of the mind, and uplift our hearts to him in silent prayer for grace to keep our thoughts stayed upon him; and he will surely hear us. There will be temptations to let our thoughts and words flow in the same channel with those of the worldlings around us; but it should be kept in mind that “in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.” Those who are Christians will profess Christ in their choice conversation, in their sobriety, and in their deportment wherever they are. HS 160.4

When we reached Kansas City, we found that a place had been reserved for our company in a chair car. The change from one train to another was easily made, and the next day we reached Chicago, where we were met by brethren who accompanied us to Battle Creek. We can truly say that the journey across the plains was accomplished with as little inconvenience and weariness as we have ever experienced in the twenty-six times that we have passed over the road. The Lord blessed us, and we feel it a privilege to give him all the glory. At Battle Creek I was pleased to meet many old friends, and to find a few days of quiet and rest in the home of my son Edson. HS 160.5

Sabbath forenoon I spoke in the Tabernacle, and in the afternoon attended the social meeting. It was a precious privilege for me to bear my testimony, and to listen to the testimonies of the brethren and sisters. The Lord seemed very near, and his presence is always life, and health, and peace. The thought would arise, We shall never all meet here again; but shall we all meet around the great white throne? Who of this large congregation will be missing in the Paradise of God? Who will be among the conquerors, and sing the song of triumph in that home of eternal bliss? HS 160.6

Wednesday noon, July 29, we resumed our eastward journey, stopping, at the request of friends, at Rome, N. Y., for a few hours’ consultation with some of the leading brethren of that Conference, and spending Sabbath and Sunday at Worcester, Mass., where Eld. Canright was holding tent-meetings. HS 161.1

Monday afternoon we were taken by private conveyance to South Lancaster. This ride of seventeen miles was a rest, as were also the few days spent in the quiet home of Sister Harris, although much of my time while there was devoted to completing important writings that I was anxious to leave with the brethren before sailing. Thursday I again visited Worcester, held a meeting with the missionary workers there, and then returned to Lancaster. HS 161.2

A short ride on the morning of the 7th, brought us to Boston. The steamer on which we had secured passage did not leave the dock till Sabbath morning; but we were allowed to go on board with our baggage Friday evening. As we commenced the Sabbath with prayer, the Lord seemed very near, and his peace and blessing came into our hearts. The day was one of rest and quiet. HS 161.3

The weather during the first part of the voyage was pleasant, and we spent much of the time on deck; but the fourth day out was very rough, and we felt best in our berths. The port-holes, which during the first days of the voyage had been left open, admitting the fresh, pure air of the ocean, were now kept closed for several days; but the system of ventilation on this ship was excellent. There was a constant circulation of cold, pure air, and I suffered much less from sea-sickness than I had anticipated, and was enabled during the passage to write over one hundred pages of important matter. The last part of the way we had much fog, which caused the ship to run slow, and made the voyage somewhat monotonous. One night we stopped entirely, as the captain feared, from the sudden fall in the temperature, that we were near icebergs. HS 161.4

I cannot speak too highly of the steamer Cephalonia, which was our floating home for nearly eleven days. It is not one of the fastest, but it is said to be one of the most comfortable, steamers on the Atlantic. The captain and all the officials were kind and accommodating. The cooking was sensible, the food palatable. The bread, both white and graham, was excellent, and fruits, vegetables, and nuts were served liberally; while those who preferred meat found it prepared in almost every style. HS 161.5

The evening of the 18th we arrived in Liverpool, where we were met by friends, and taken to the home of Bro. Drew. Here we united with the brethren in a season of thanksgiving to God for his preserving care during the journey, and the next morning, accompanied by Bro. Wilcox, we took the cars for Grimsby, which is at present the headquarters of our mission work in England. HS 161.6

As we paused here and I looked back upon our long journey across the continent of America and the broad waters of the Atlantic, it was with surprise and feelings of gratitude for the strength I had received. I had traveled more than seven thousand miles, written over two hundred pages, and spoken thirteen times; and I could truly say that my health was much better than when we started. To me this was abundant evidence that I was in the path of duty. HS 161.7