Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Caught in a Hailstorm

Sunday afternoon her friends took her off on a ride to visit a two-hundred-year-old convent. Suddenly clouds began to gather, lightning flashed, and huge hailstones fell, some as large as hickory nuts. Cattle and horses were running wildly about the fields. Roth put the cover up on the carriage and hastened to a nearby farmhouse, where the farmer threw open the doors of his barn to admit the horse and the carriage. EGWE 188.4

While Ellen White sat in the carriage waiting for the storm to pass, Oscar Roth talked with the family. It turned out that the farmer and his wife were devout Roman Catholics, and they were soon taking Roth to task for the frank statements they had read in Les Signes about the Catholics. The man was greatly offended, but Roth told him that he was not the one who chose the contents of the magazine. Finally the farmer calmed down and said, “Well, we will talk no more about it.” Ellen White remarked, “We look upon this as being an interesting little bit of experience” (Ibid.). Later she was led to give counsel regarding the articles in our journals: EGWE 189.1

“Every article you write may be all truth, but one drop of gall in it will be poison to the reader. One reader will discard all your good and acceptable words because of that drop of poison. Another will feed on the poison, for he loves such harsh words.”—Letter 91, 1899 (published in Counsels to Writers and Editors, 65, 66). EGWE 189.2

“We may have less to say in some lines, in regard to the Roman power and the papacy, but we should call attention to what the prophets and apostles have written under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit has so shaped matters, both in the giving of the prophecy, and in the events portrayed, as to teach that the human agent is to be kept out of sight, hid in Christ, and the Lord God of heaven and His law are to be exalted.”—Letter 57, 1896 (published in Counsels to Writers and Editors, 65). EGWE 189.3

There was a missionary meeting that evening at which Ellen White spoke on the privileges and duties of the Christian. She stressed the importance of a right relationship to God, especially for believers who only rarely heard a regular minister preach. Everyone, she said, should become a channel of light to others, because “every true follower of Christ is a missionary” (The Review and Herald, July 20, 1886). EGWE 189.4

Monday, she drove to Bienne with Sara, Willie, and Mary and Oscar Roth. Here she spoke for another missionary meeting with Mary Roth serving as her translator. Then it was on to La Chaux-de-Fonds on Wednesday. The next day she took a trip to Le Locle to visit the Pierre Shield family and arrange an appointment for the following Sunday. She returned to La Chaux-de-Fonds to speak again that evening. EGWE 190.1

W. C. White was urging his mother on from place to place, trying to get her to visit as many groups of believers as possible. And she was doing her best. But the evening meetings and loss of sleep were beginning to take their toll. She spoke again Sabbath morning in La Chaux-de-Fonds however, and said of the meeting: EGWE 190.2

“The Lord blessed me. I was very weak, but I knew Jesus was in our midst, and His sustaining grace was given me. My heart is seldom more deeply stirred than it was at this meeting. I could not forbear weeping as I had a vivid sense of the love of Christ. The congregation was many of them in tears. I knew that Jesus of Nazareth was passing through our midst, and His blessing was flowing in rich waves of love to our souls.”—Manuscript 20, 1886. EGWE 190.3

She knew that there were some in the congregation who were convicted, but had not yet decided to follow Christ, so she asked those who wanted to be “fully on the Lord's side” to stand. Nearly all stood. Erzberger offered a “deed and earnest prayer” followed by a lively social meeting (ibid). EGWE 190.4

On Sunday they traveled on to Le Locle. The Adventists here had suffered a great deal of opposition, and were almost afraid to have her come to speak. But they had secured a hall, and she spoke to a good crowd on temperance. After the meeting the believers took heart and decided that if she would return they would get an even larger hall. EGWE 190.5

Later that day she sent her Swiss friends back to Tramelan with her carriage while she took the train for Neuchatel for a final speaking appointment before returning to Basel. Her work required haste, and she must surrender her preference for the quiet carriage ride amidst the beauties of nature to the demands of the Lord's work, but she never forgot those glorious days, itinerating in lovely Switzerland. EGWE 191.1