Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Chapter 17—(1895) Tasmania—The Convention and the Wedding

I am going to the convention in Tasmania, “wrote Ellen White to her son Edson,” and to witness and participate in the marriage of my son Willie to a noble Christian woman.... If Providence favors, you will have a sister of whom you will be proud.”—Letter 92b, 1895. 4BIO 188.1

The convention, according to an announcement in the Bible Echo, would be the first meeting of its kind to be conducted in that colony. It would be held in Hobart, April 26 to May 6, 1895, and would include instruction on the duties of church officers and members, evening discourses on religious liberty, lessons on various lines of missionary work, and practical instruction given by Mrs. White. The announcement urged, “Let no ordinary obstacle keep you from the meeting.”—April 22, 1895. 4BIO 188.2

W. C. White was in New Zealand, accompanied by Elder and Mrs. Corliss and W. A. Colcord, conducting a camp meeting and visiting the churches. From there he would go directly to Tasmania. Ellen White hesitated at first as to whether she should accompany May Lacey, her prospective daughter-in-law, to Hobart, her home city, and at the same time assist at the convention. To Edson she wrote on March 21: 4BIO 188.3

I hope I shall soon feel decided in regard to what my duty is concerning visiting Tasmania. I am still questioning concerning the matter. May and her father both wish that I would go. If the “Life of Christ” were finished, and if my heart had gained its normal strength, I might feel clearer about visiting Tasmania.—Letter 92a, 1895. 4BIO 188.4

But on April 4 she found her “health, strength and activity” “about equal to what they used to be” (Letter 88, 1895), and soon she was packing for the month-long trip. On April 11 she wrote to O. A. Olsen: 4BIO 189.1

I have hesitated a long time in reference to leaving this field and visiting Tasmania. The call is very urgent for me to attend the convention to be held in Hobart.... I take the cars accompanied by May Lacey for Tasmania by way of Melbourne. May the presence of the Lord go with me is my most earnest prayer. “Send me not up without Thy presence, O God.”—Letter 62, 1895. 4BIO 189.2

Sabbath, April 13, she spoke in Melbourne at the North Fitzroy church to a congregation of more than two hundred. It seemed good to her, after an absence of a year, to be with the believers there, but as they met in a rented hall, their needs stood out in bold relief. As yet, Seventh-day Adventists had no meeting place of their own either in this city, the capital of Victoria, or its suburbs. In addition to this church of more than two hundred members, three others had been raised up as fruitage of the Middle Brighton camp meeting. 4BIO 189.3

The cost of a lot on which to build a house of worship seemed astronomical—$7,000—and this was said to be very reasonable for the area. The 1,450 acres of land recently purchased for the school at Cooranbong in New South Wales had cost $4,500, an amount that seemed barely within their reach. How could a local church raise nearly twice that amount for a lot—in addition to the cost of the building itself? “Let everyone who loves God and professes to keep His commandments practice self-denial and walk by faith,” declared Ellen White. She continued: 4BIO 189.4

We cannot see how it is possible to advance the work, to have the truth go in decency and order, unless we arise and build. But every foot of ground costs from £7 to £10, and unless we have trained ourselves to walk by faith and not by sight, it will seem impossible to push forward the work of building. But there are no impossibilities with God.... We must have a house of worship erected in Melbourne, so that those who embrace unpopular truth may feel that they have a church home.—Letter 99, 1895. 4BIO 189.5

The heart of Ellen White rejoiced as she saw the progress of the message made in Melbourne and its surroundings. But what especially encouraged her was to witness the fruitage of the messages God had given her for N. D. Faulkhead, treasurer of the publishing house. She reported to Olsen: 4BIO 190.1

I was thankful to see that the testimony of warning and encouragement given to Brother Faulkhead more than two years ago had been fully heeded, and that he had separated himself from the secret society of which he was a member. Jesus had spoken to him as He spoke to the fishermen, saying, “Follow me.” ... He called to him as He had called to Matthew sitting at the receipt of customs, and said, “Follow me.” The Lord had a work for this brother to do in His cause, and he heeded the word of invitation.—Ibid. 4BIO 190.2

Then she referred to the days of Christ when the people called for a miracle, and she declared that “there is a miracle wrought when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. He hears the voice saying, ‘Turn ye, turn ye ...; for why will ye die?’ ... Every time a soul is converted, a miracle is wrought by the Holy Spirit.” 4BIO 190.3