Sister White


Chapter Twelve—The Hill Beautiful

Out in southern California, that sunny land of palms and orange groves, there is a little hill called Loma Linda. That is a Spanish name. Loma means “hill,” and Linda means “beautiful.” So the name really means Hill Beautiful, or Beautiful Hill. And it is a beautiful hill, standing up in the valley like a bit of the garden of God, with its palms and its pepper trees and its charming silver-green olive trees bordering the walk. When I pass under those olive trees I always think of what a great poet, Sidney Lanier, wrote about Jesus’ going into the groves to pray. SWhite 99.1

“But the olives they were not blind to Him, The little gray leaves were kind to Him, The thorn tree had a mind to Him, When into the woods He came.” SWhite 99.2

Loma Linda now has the beautiful white buildings of the sanitarium covering its top and sides; and flowing down the right slope into the valley are the buildings of the great medical college that trains our doctors and nurses and dietitians—those good people who teach us what to eat to make us strong and well. But forty-and-some years ago—so long ago that your father and mother were little children, or maybe were not born yet—the Hill Beautiful did not have all those great buildings, and it did not belong to us. There was a big wooden building on the brow of the hill, in which some doctors were trying to run a sanitarium. They had put a good deal of money into it, a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. But they were not Adventists, and they did not know our way of making a sanitarium. So they did not do very well. They were losing money every day, and they decided to sell it. They asked forty thousand dollars for it, which was only about a quarter of what they had put in. SWhite 99.3

Now Sister White had seen in dreams this very place, though she did not know where it was. And it was told her that here we should make a sanitarium and schools for nurses and doctors. So she told Elder John Burden to look around and see whether he could find the place. He looked around, and he looked around, and he asked everyone if they knew where there was a place that could be bought cheap, where we could make a sanitarium and a school. And pretty soon he heard of Loma Linda. SWhite 100.1

“Forty thousand dollars!” they told him. “Cash! You can have it if you will pay down forty thousand dollars. And that’s cheap, dirt cheap. It cost us four times that much. Cash!” SWhite 100.2

But Elder Burden did not have forty thousand dollars. And the Southern California Conference did not have forty thousand dollars. Nobody they knew had forty thousand dollars to spare for Loma Linda. Where could they get forty thousand dollars? SWhite 100.3

Elder Burden told Sister White of his find, how beautiful it was, and how cheap; but he said he did not have the money, and the conference did not have the money, and no one he knew had the money to pay for it. He said the owners now offered to take a thousand dollars down if we would make further payments in thirty days, sixty days, and ninety days, and pay the rest in three years. SWhite 101.1

Sister White saw that this was the very place the Lord had shown her. Here He would have a sanitarium and a school for nurses and a school for doctors. She believed God was leading them step by step, and they must go forward in the dark, with the light of God’s promise showing them the way foot by foot. So she told Elder Burden to get the property by paying the thousand dollars and promising the rest, and the Lord would see that they had it. SWhite 101.2

Elder Burden did not have the thousand dollars. He must get one thousand dollars at once and four thousand dollars more within a month, and then he must get five thousand the next month, and another five thousand the next month, and then twenty-five thousand more. Where could he get all that money? SWhite 101.3

He talked with Elder Rodney Owen, Bible teacher at San Fernando Academy, near there. And Elder Owen told him of a brother who had some money he might loan. They went to talk with him, but they found he had moved away, out into the country. How could they get to him? Jump in their car, you say, and go right out there. But Elder Burden didn’t have a car. Elder Owen didn’t have a car. Almost nobody had a car then, for cars were very new, and only rich people could afford them. SWhite 101.4

In those days they had, in some places, electric railways that ran between cities. There was one that went near the ranch where the brother had gone to live. So Elder Burden took an electric car, and got off at a country crossing. Then he had to walk a mile and a half to the brother’s house. He found the house, which was only a cabin, away out in the country, with no other house in sight. But there was no one in the cabin, and though he searched around and called, no one came. SWhite 102.1

So after two hours he gave up. Night was coming on, and the next car going back home would be along soon. Sad and sorry, he walked back to the railway, and waited for the car. But he was so lost in thought that when the car came along he failed to flag it down. And it went by, and left him standing there. Two hours it would be before another car would come. While he stood there, more sad than before, he received a message in his mind. “Go back to the little house,” he was told. SWhite 102.2

So he started, in the dark, and trudged back a mile and a half. Oh, joy! The cabin was lighted up! He knocked, and a voice said, “Come in!” He went in, and there he found the brother and his wife and their little child, eating supper. Elder Burden quickly told how the Lord had showed them Loma Linda, and how Sister White said they should get it for a sanitarium and a school. SWhite 102.3

“And now I must have a thousand dollars,” he said, “and then we must have four thousand more right away. Will you help us?” SWhite 103.1

“Praise the Lord!” said the man. “I sold my city home, and I put the money in the bank. The devil has been trying to have me buy more land with it, but I felt the Lord would call for it. I have two thousand and four hundred dollars, and you may have it.” So he gave Elder Burden a check for that much money. Elder Burden thanked him and his wife for their help, so much needed just then. And he hurried away to catch his car. SWhite 103.2

But now he had to have two thousand six hundred dollars to complete the first payment and to pay the bank. Where could he get it? Elder Burden trusted the Lord, who had led them so far; but he knew the Lord meant him to work to get the money. So he went to a sister who had some money, and he said: SWhite 103.3

“Sister Belle Baker, what do you think about getting Loma Linda?” SWhite 103.4

“I think we should have it,” said Sister Belle Baker. SWhite 103.5

“Are you willing to give a thousand dollars toward it?” “Yes.” SWhite 103.6

So there was a thousand dollars more for the fund. But there was needed another thousand and six hundred dollars. Elder Owen said, “I will borrow it at the bank, and give a lien on my house for it.” The bank was willing to loan the money, however, without taking his home for a pledge. So they got together the money for the first payment. And they were glad. Of course, after a while they had to pay back the money the bank had loaned them, but the Lord helped them to do that. SWhite 104.1

The next month they had to raise another five thousand dollars, and also the next month. Sister White encouraged them. She wrote to Elder Burden, “Move forward in faith, and money will come from places you do not expect.” SWhite 104.2

The Southern California Conference had now taken over the work of raising the money. But when it came up to the time of the next payment they did not have it. On the morning when they must pay it they sat in a meeting and looked one another in the face with dismay. How could they pay when they had no money? SWhite 104.3

Some of them said, “We shall have to give up Loma Linda, and lose what money we have paid.” But others of them remembered the word of the Lord, and they said, “No! Let us wait. The Lord will help us. Perhaps this morning’s mail will bring the help.” SWhite 104.4

Then the postman was heard coming up the stairs. He opened the door, and handed in the mail. They began to open the letters. Here was one from New Jersey, away across the land. Open it. What does it say? SWhite 104.5

It said, “Here is a draft for five thousand dollars. I believe you need it for Loma Linda.” The letter and the money came from a sister who had heard from Sister White, telling of the great need. And here she sent the money, just when it must be paid. SWhite 105.1

All the brethren in the room praised the Lord. Tears flowed down their faces, and they offered thankful prayers. “The Lord is in this,” they said; “indeed, the Lord is in this work of getting Loma Linda.” SWhite 105.2

When the next payments came due they were met by just such help which the Lord sent. And by December, six months from the time they had started, they had paid all the forty thousand dollars, and Loma Linda was theirs. They went on from that, and made the sanitarium and the nurses’ training school. And then they started the medical school to make doctors. And the doctors and the nurses they trained at Loma Linda have gone out as missionaries, some right here in America, and some in Europe, some in Africa, some in Australia and in South America, some in China and Japan, and all over the earth. SWhite 105.3

So the Lord has blessed the work begun by the buying of Loma Linda, as Sister White said He would, and He has made a great blessing for the world to go out from the Hill Beautiful. SWhite 105.4