Ellen G. White in Europe 1885-1887


Faith and Sacrifice of the Believers

She wrote to Willie, who was still in America: EGWE 149.1

“The church [members] at Basel you know are all poor. There are but about two brethren in Switzerland who own the houses they live in; all have to pay rent. Of those who work in the office here, the highest wages they receive for their labor is one dollar per day. That is six dollars per week, and they work early and late and board themselves at these wages. Others have less. EGWE 149.2

“I can see a spirit of sacrifice on the part of our people here, far ahead of that which is seen in America. They believe the Testimonies and accept them as the voice of God to them and they will, of their small wages, do all they can do to advance the cause and work of God.”—Letter 72a, 1886. EGWE 149.3

By the beginning of 1886 Ellen White had had a fair chance to judge the condition of the work in Europe. She had attended the European Council, she had served in Britain, and now she had visited the Scandinavian countries and Italy. She observed that the situation in the Old World in the 1880's was quite similar to what the Adventist pioneers had faced in America in the 1850's. The believers were new, many of the workers inexperienced, financial resources scarce, and the responsibility of proclaiming the last warning message to the world immense, and not always understood. EGWE 149.4

When the plans were laid for the Whites to visit the European countries no specifications were made as to the length of the visit. They felt that they would be able to accomplish their work within a few months. But more and more it became obvious that they would not be able to leave Europe as soon as they had first thought might be possible. A month or two previously she had talked of returning to America in May, 1886, for the summer camp meeting season. Now that plan was abandoned: EGWE 149.5

“I cannot see how we can get away from here as soon as spring.... I was urged to go to Europe and in Europe I shall stay until I feel that I can be released to return.... I am in no hurry to return unless the Lord says, Go to America. We have scarcely begun.... I am glad I came, for the Lord has sustained me.”—Ibid. EGWE 150.1

During January, February, and March, she settled more and more into the routine of her work in Europe, speaking almost every Sabbath in the Basel church, and pouring out a steady stream of letters, not only to workers in Europe but to America, as well. EGWE 150.2