Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Chapter 17—The Long Trip Home

The General Conference of 1909 was over. It had been a good meeting. One delegate declared it to be “without doubt the most wonderful council since the days of the apostles” (Pacific Union Recorder, June 3, 1909). While Ellen White witnessed with joy the operation of the well-developed mechanism for carrying on the work of God in the earth, her overwhelming burden was the proper utilization of these tools for the finishing of the work. Sensing that secondary interests could easily interject themselves and sidetrack major objectives, it was with a heavy burden of heart that she met with the General Conference Committee and conference presidents on Friday morning, June 11, just before taking the train to start her homeward journey. 6BIO 208.1

The needs of the cities of the land were on her heart, and she said: 6BIO 208.2

When I think of the many cities yet unwarned, I cannot rest. It is distressing to think that they have been neglected so long. For many, many years the cities of America, including the cities in the South, have been set before our people as places needing special attention. A few have borne the burden of working in these cities; but, in comparison with the great needs and the many opportunities, but little has been done. 6BIO 208.3

Where is your faith, my brethren? Where are the workmen? 6BIO 208.4

In many of our large cities the first and second angels’ messages were proclaimed during the 1844 movement. To you, as God's servants, has been entrusted the third angel's message, the binding-off message, that is to prepare a people for the coming of our King.—The Review and Herald, November 25, 1909. 6BIO 208.5

She urged that “time is short.” The means coming into the treasury should be used wisely in supporting the workers. Nothing was to hinder the advance of the message. She said: 6BIO 209.1

Night after night, I have lain awake, weeping and pleading with God, because of the seeming inability of some to discern opportunities for extending our efforts into the many unworked places—nearby places that might have been warned years ago, had we chosen to do a broad work, rather than to hover around a few centers.— Ibid. 6BIO 209.2

She encouraged the spirit of self-sacrifice, and “of constant devotion to the needs of a lost world.” 6BIO 209.3

For years the pioneers of our work struggled against poverty and manifold hardship in order to place the cause of present truth on vantage ground. With meager facilities, they labored untiringly; and the Lord blessed their humble efforts. The laborers of today may not have to endure all the hardships of those early days. The change of condition, however, should not lead to any slackening of effort. 6BIO 209.4

And now, when the Lord bids us proclaim the message once more with power in the East; when He bids us enter the cities of the East, and of the South, and of the North, and of the West, shall we not respond as one man, and do His bidding? 6BIO 209.5

Shall we not plan to send messengers all through these fields, and support them liberally? Shall not the ministers of God go into these crowded centers, and there lift up their voices in warning to multitudes? ... Oh, that we might see the needs of these great cities as God sees them!—Manuscript 53, 1909 (Ibid., November 25, 1909). 6BIO 209.6

She told the gathering of church administrators that “as we advance, the means will come. But we must advance in faith, trusting in the Lord God of Israel.”— Ibid. It was a solemn appeal. 6BIO 209.7

With the thoughts of the presentation burning in her heart she took the train for appointments in the cities of the Northeast, visiting medical institutions, speaking in churches in the large cities, and attending camp meetings. The schedule called for stops in Philadelphia, New York, South Lancaster, and then Portland, Maine, a prime objective in plans for the journey home. It was not a hurried trip, and plans were formulated, more or less, as those who traveled with her took note of her endurance and strength. While conference presidents were in Washington attending the General Conference, appointments had been made tentatively for speaking engagements en route home. In some cases camp meeting dates had been shifted to make it possible for the people to hear her. For Ellen White, this was a sort of capsheaf of her lifelong journeyings, and she looked forward to it with anticipation. 6BIO 209.8

As she traveled north, she approached New York City, and it is reported that during the last thirty miles she “viewed with lively interest the many cities located so closely to one another.” “Several she pointed out as places that had been presented to her as neglected communities, where work should be done as soon as possible.”—WCW, in Ibid., November 25, 1909. 6BIO 210.1

A few days later she reported: 6BIO 210.2

I have passed through city after city, and I have asked the question, “Who is laboring here? Who feels a burden to go from house to house, visiting and praying with the people, and carrying to them the precious publications containing the truths that mean eternal life to those who receive them?”—Ibid., December 2, 1909.

Somehow the cities must hear the joyous message of Christ's soon return. 6BIO 210.3