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

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A. G. Daniells Elected President

The nominating committee brought in the name of A. G. Daniells for president of the Australian Conference, and he was elected. The choice was not an easy one. Writing of the experience to O. A. Olsen six months later, Ellen White explained their dilemma found in the extremely short supply of leadership material available. The delegates were divided in their preferences. She told the nominating committee that not one of the men from which they must choose “was competent for the situation; but we must have a president; and I presented before them the objectionable features of each case. I told them that Elder Daniells was certainly standing in the best condition spiritually of any of them, and would be better fitted for the work than any other man in Australia. 4BIO 28.1

“Well,” she said, “they selected Elder Daniells, and this we are sure was the best thing they could do, for decided changes for the better have been made.”—Letter 40, 1892. Earlier, in her letter to Olsen, she declared: “Few thought that Elder Daniells could be the one for the place of president; but with W.C. White as his counselor, he has done well.” 4BIO 28.2

In later years Daniells told in rather general terms of this experience: 4BIO 28.3

I was elected to the presidency of the newly organized Australian Conference, and continued in that office during the nine years of Mrs. White's residence in that field. This official responsibility kept me in unbroken association with her. Our mission field was vast. Our problems were heavy, and some of them very perplexing.... 4BIO 28.4

Our membership increased encouragingly, and it became necessary to establish a training school for Christian workers, also church schools for the children of our believers. Then followed the erection of a sanitarium for the treatment of the sick, and the establishment of a factory for the manufacture of health foods. 4BIO 28.5

I was young, and utterly inexperienced in most of these undertakings. As president, I was held more or less responsible for progress in all these endeavors. I needed counsel. This I sought at every important step from Mrs. White, and I was not disappointed. I was also closely associated in committee and administrative work with her son, W. C. White. His counsel was very helpful to me; it was based on a longer experience than my own, and also upon his intimate knowledge of the many messages of counsel that had been given through his mother during past years, in meeting conditions similar to those we were facing.—A. G. Daniells, The Abiding Gift of Prophecy, pp. 364, 365. 4BIO 28.6

The conference session was profitable and instructive to the relatively new believers, few of whom had been in the message for more than six years. On Sunday, January 3, it closed, but the program continued for another full week in “An Institute for Instruction in Christian Work” and devotional meetings. Two of the popular classes were in cooking and in nursing the sick; Mrs. Starr and Mrs. Gates taught the cooking, and Miss May Walling gave practical instruction in the care of the sick. She had just recently completed the nurses’ course at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. The people attending felt they had gained a good deal of practical instruction and were highly satisfied. 4BIO 29.1

Mrs. White devoted this week to house hunting. She and her office family needed to have a place to live and work. The overall plan was that she would make Melbourne her headquarters for six months, and write on the life of Christ. From there she would visit the principal churches and even spend two months in New Zealand in connection with their conference session. 4BIO 29.2

On Sunday morning, January 3, Stephen Belden drove Ellen White in his carriage five miles north to a suburb known as Preston. She was pleased with the country atmosphere and with the area generally, but the cottage they went to see was not large enough for the group that had to work together. Tuesday morning they were back in Preston, this time with better success. She noted in her diary: 4BIO 29.3

We found a nice brick house with nine rooms which, with a little squeezing, would accommodate Elder Starr and his wife and our workers. There is a beautiful garden, but it has been neglected and is grown up to weeds.—Manuscript 28, 1892. 4BIO 29.4

Wednesday they were there again, this time to make arrangements to rent the unfurnished house for six months. The next two days were spent in buying furniture, dishes, and other household necessities. Sunday morning she was up early packing and getting ready to move into their new home. By noon they were in their new quarters, and quite content with the prospects: a large lot; pure, invigorating air; a yard full of flowers “of fine rich quality”: and good soil. 4BIO 29.5

Because the new “home” was five miles from the city and the publishing house, Ellen White purchased a horse and carriage, a double-seated phaeton in which she could ride with comfort. They secured a good healthy cow to provide their milk supply, and a stable was built to accommodate the horse and cow (Letter 90, 1892). A girl, Annie, was employed to assist with the housework. May Walling did the cooking. Because their plans called for only a six-month stay, they bought secondhand furniture, improvising somewhat with packing boxes. Some of the old carpeting used in packing the goods shipped from America served as floor covering. Economy was the watchword. 4BIO 30.1

The women helpers took the yard work under their care, and the garden responded well. Wrote Ellen White: 4BIO 30.2

The girls went to work in the garden, pulling weeds, making flower beds, sowing seeds for vegetables. It was very dry, so we bought a hose, and Marian [Davis] was chief in the flower garden. With water, the flowers sprang up. Dahlias, the richest beauties, are in full bloom, and fuchias flourish. I never saw them blossom as they do here; the geraniums, Lady Washingtons, in immense bunches of the richest colors to delight the eye.—Manuscript 4, 1892. 4BIO 30.3

But for Ellen White, who began to feel ill during the conference session, there was an acceleration in her suffering. From week to week she seemed to be in more and more pain and was becoming more helpless. Nevertheless, she did not turn from her writing. On January 23, near the onset of her illness, she stated in a letter to Lucinda Hall: 4BIO 30.4

I am now writing on the life of Christ, and I have had great comfort and blessing in my writing. It may be I am a cripple in order to do this work so long neglected.—Letter 90, 1892. 4BIO 30.5