Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Chapter 11—Visiting Churches in Sweden

Land of the child preachers

At Malmo, Ellen White, along with Willie, Sara, and Elder Matteson, boarded the train and after an all-night journey reached Stockholm. There that Friday morning to welcome the party to a busy time in Sweden was C. Norlin, a dedicated colporteur who took them to his new apartment at Westmannagaten 34. Ellen White developed a great respect for these self-sacrificing literature evangelists who she said were “poor but very excellent people.” Norlin went on foot from place to place carrying Swedish books printed in America. The profits were extremely small on these little volumes, since the production costs in America were high, and the shipping costs further trimmed his meager earnings. On some books Norlin made as little as three cents. EGWE 102.1

Fortunately, at the General Conference session later in the year, the SDA Publishing Association voted to furnish publications to foreign missions at the cost of production. W. C. White, who attended the session, probably helped to influence the decision. EGWE 102.2

The Norlins had just moved into a new brick apartment house, and plasterers and carpenters had not yet finished their work. As Mrs. White struggled up the four flights of stone stairs and into one of the rooms she discovered that the plaster was still wet. “We felt that we were surrounded by ice,” she lamented. Perhaps they might go to a hotel, but since neither she nor Sara could speak any Swedish, that might cause more problems than it would solve. EGWE 102.3

Just at the time when she was wondering where she could stay, Sister L. P. Johanneson came to invite them to her home. This woman, who had spent some years in America, not only could speak English but had a cozy little home at 15 Perlmetergaten on a hill in the suburbs of the city. Her husband, a salesman, had not yet accepted the Sabbath, but he believed it and was not opposed to the Seventh-day Adventists. The couple were very kind and attentive to Ellen White's and Sara's needs. The two Americans were taken to a third-floor parlor that had been reserved for them, and were pleased to find it dry and well heated. EGWE 103.1

“We were pleasantly surprised to find the table very much the same as at our Sanitarium at Battle Creek,” Mrs. White wrote. “The dishes were simple and healthful, and prepared with a skill and nicety that made them inviting and palatable.”—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 190. EGWE 103.2

Then her missionary spirit was stirred as she wrote: EGWE 103.3

“There is a great need of a more general knowledge of the science of healthful cookery. There is a wide field of usefulness open to intelligent, experienced cooks in teaching young ladies how to prepare plain, simple food in a palatable and healthful manner.”—Ibid. EGWE 103.4

There were other aspects of life in this lovely Swedish home that impressed Ellen White: EGWE 103.5

“The Scandinavian children seem remarkably quiet and well trained. Wherever we went, they came forward, one by one, and shook hands with us, the girls making a curtsy, and the boys a low bow. Sister Johanneson's four children, from the girl of eight down to the three-year-old boy, welcomed us in this manner when we came; and whenever they met us, morning, noon, or evening, the greeting was repeated. At another place where we visited, even the little girl of two and a half years went through the ceremony with credit. EGWE 103.6

“Mr. Johanneson was training his children in singing, and we enjoyed the music of their little voices blending together in sacred songs.”—Ibid. EGWE 104.1