Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Melting the Ice of Indifference

But Mrs. White had far greater concerns than just protecting herself from colds. She was laboring hard to melt the ice of indifference that had chilled the Christiania church, both workers and laity. Her thoughts were expressed in writing: EGWE 124.2

“God calls upon the workers in this mission to reach a higher, holier standard. Christiania is an important point in our mission fields; it is the great center of the work for the Scandinavian people. From this place the publications are sent out, and the laborers go forth to proclaim the commandments of God, and it is of the greatest importance that a right influence be exerted by this church, both by precept and example. The standard must not be placed so low that those who accept the truth shall transgress God's commandments while professing to obey them.... If this people will conform their lives to the Bible standard, they will be indeed a light in the world, a city set upon a hill.”—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 218, 219. EGWE 124.3

Every evening during her second full week in the city she spoke earnestly to the people, and testimony meetings followed. Some held back “as if in doubt and questioning,” her diary indicates, but others testified that they “were unhappy and troubled and wished to return to the truth” (Manuscript 27, 1885). EGWE 124.4

In the early mornings the servant of the Lord would awaken at three, too burdened to sleep longer. Summarizing the experience later, she wrote: EGWE 124.5

“During our meetings, the dear Saviour came very near to us again and again. A good work was begun. We called them forward for prayers several times, and though this was a new experience to them, there was a quick and hearty response. Earnest, heartfelt confessions were made. Several had become discouraged and backslidden because of the EGWE 124.6

accusing spirit manifested, and the lack of love for God and for one another. These humbly confessed their own wrong in allowing their faith in God and the truth to become weakened. Some had yielded the Sabbath through fear that they could not support their families. Others acknowledged that they had indulged a critical, fault-finding spirit. Many said that they had never realized as now the importance of the truth and the influence that it must have upon their life and character. Not a few testified with gratitude that they had received God's blessing as never before.”—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 218. EGWE 125.1

Meanwhile, W. C. White, Matteson, and Oyen were spending their days laying plans for the publishing house. On Tuesday, November 10, a letter came from the Review and Herald Publishing Company in Battle Creek refusing some requests that had been made in behalf of the Christiania Publishing House. For three weeks W. C. White had been convinced that he should go to the General Conference session that was about to begin in Battle Creek. He was now familiar, to a degree, with the problems of Europe and could speak out in committee meetings and on the conference floor. EGWE 125.2

At first, as he presented this proposal, Mrs. White opposed his going, but she wrote the next day that “careful, calm consideration of the subject” had changed her mind. EGWE 125.3

“I thought he could serve the cause of God and especially His work in these mission fields better by going to America, so that from his own lips the Conference could hear of the necessities of the case for laborers and for money, rather than to read the same arguments in letter form. I now think it is right that W. C. White should go, although I shall miss him very much and his counsel and advice seem to be almost a necessity at this time here.”—Manuscript 27, 1885. EGWE 125.4

So it was on Friday, November 13, that W. C. White left Christiania. He knew there was no way to reach Battle Creek by the opening session of the conference,* five days hence. But even though he knew he would arrive a week late, the needs of the cause in Europe compelled him to make the attempt. EGWE 125.5

Sabbath was another important day in Christiania, the last she would have with the church. “The hall was filled,” she wrote, “and we hoped that deep impressions were made.”—Ibid. At quarter-to-six Monday morning the White party arrived at the station to begin the return journey to Basel. The Hansens, E. G. Olsen and his wife, the Oyens, and several others were there to see them off. EGWE 126.1

“Shall we meet again in this life,” Ellen White wondered as the train pulled slowly away, “or shall we meet no more until the judgment? It is a solemn thing to die, and a far more solemn thing to live.”—Ibid. EGWE 126.2