Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Good Meetings in Bienne

It can be seen that Ellen White's decision to go to Geneva to encourage and help Bourdeau was timely. She left on Friday, March 19, and spent Sabbath along the way with the church in Bienne. As the train glided along the sixty miles she enjoyed the scenery, the many tunnels, and the quaint little villages in the mountain valleys. She also took careful notice of the status of women at that time: EGWE 172.1

“We see men and women both at work on the land that can be cultivated—women with their hoes and spades.... Men are working also, with far less diligence. One or more is standing by with his hands in his pockets, looking on or directing these women in their work. The working women in Europe generally bear the heaviest part of the burdens. It is a common thing to see women walking, driving the load, with two or three men riding upon the load drawn by a couple of large cows.”—Manuscript 53, 1886. EGWE 172.2

At Bienne she stayed at the home of another of the Vuilleumiers—Virgil (Letter 96, 1886). Six churches had come together in Bienne for a weekend of meetings. She preached four times. James Erzberger spoke Sabbath afternoon. Then there was a “social meeting.” “The testimonies were excellent,” Ellen White said, “right to the point.” (Letter 96, 1886). EGWE 172.3

Sunday morning she addressed the people for the last time and then left for Lausanne, where she visited briefly with the workers. Elder Bourdeau was back in Lausanne when she arrived, and she went with him on a three-hour steamer ride to Geneva. The next day she hastened back to Basel. Of her thoughts on the train she wrote: “As we journeyed from Geneva to Basel, we passed through large and small cities and my meditations were, How is this people in these large cities to be warned?”—Letter 38, 1886. EGWE 172.4

But even though her stay was short, D. T. Bourdeau appreciated her counsel and her visit. He had known her for many years, and her frank messages to him only deepened his respect for her. In his very next letter after her visit he begged her to come to Geneva again, and by midsummer, his letters showed that he was diligently working to apply her counsel in his life. He wrote: EGWE 173.1

“Thanks for your interest as expressed in your last letter which came to hand four days since.... I do not neglect visiting, nor am I disposed to rush on independently of my brethren in this enterprise.”—D. T. Bourdeau letter, July 10, 1886. EGWE 173.2

It was never an easy thing for Ellen White to have to bear messages of reproof. About this same time when G. I. Butler felt the corrections of the Lord's servant were severe, she explained to him just how she felt in her own heart: EGWE 173.3

“The Lord knows I am not pleased with this kind of work. I love and respect my brethren, and would not in the slightest manner demerit them, cause them pain; but I have tried to move with a single eye to the glory of God.”—Letter 73, 1886. EGWE 173.4

Bourdeau labored in Europe until 1888, when he returned to America, where he continued to serve among French- and English-speaking people until he died in 1905, carrying the full respect of his brethren. EGWE 173.5