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


Chapter 9—(1893) The Winter in New Zealand

With the Napier camp meeting over, Ellen White and her party moved on to Wellington, at the southern tip of North Island, New Zealand. Wellington was the headquarters of the New Zealand Conference—if a book depository and the president's residence together could be called a headquarters. M. C. Israel served as president. The trip by train would take them through Palmerston North, and it seemed convenient to stop over there for a long weekend. 4BIO 89.1

Ellen White, accompanied by W. C. White and Emily Campbell, left Napier Thursday morning, April 13. George and Mrs. Starr were to follow the next day. Of the five-hour train trip she wrote: 4BIO 89.2

I rode with Emily and Willie in the second-class cars for the first time since my severe illness. We could make me a comfortable seat with cushions, and I think I did not suffer any more in the second class than I should in the first, and we would have to pay one pound, one shilling extra for us three if we rode in first class. We left Napier at half past eleven o'clock and arrived at Palmerston at half past four.—Manuscript 79, 1893. 4BIO 89.3

For the first two or three hours of the trip they traversed rich farming country dotted with villages. Nearer Palmerston North the land was level with much heavy timber here and there and large fertile pastures. It reminded Ellen White of the newer portions of Michigan, Canada, and New York State in the 1850s. Evangelistic meetings had been held at Palmerston four years earlier, but the town had doubled in population, and further work was due. She and Emily were invited to stay with a couple named McOlivors, local church members. Sabbath morning Elder Starr spoke in the little hired hall and Ellen White in the afternoon. She reports in her diary that “I ... led out with words of comfort and encouragement for the little few who had met together to worship God.” 4BIO 89.4

Noting that a large part of the audience were children and youth, she adapted her remarks accordingly. Of this she says: 4BIO 90.1

I addressed words to them, to instruct and help them in doing right, in loving the Lord Jesus in the early years of their life. “Those that seek me early shall find me.” Proverbs 8:17. I think the lambs of the flock are left or passed over with but little effort to have them understand they may give their hearts and lives to Jesus in their childhood and youth. The simplicity of the lessons of Christ could be understood by children.—Ibid. 4BIO 90.2

Sunday, services were held in the Theater Royal. She reports that there was a good congregation who listened attentively as she presented before them the love of Christ, speaking from 1 John 3:1-4. 4BIO 90.3

Monday morning, she was up at three to get ready to catch the six-thirty train to Wellington. She was accompanied by W. C. White, Emily Campbell, and M. C. Israel. They traveled through what seemed to be newly developed country, wooded land and burned-over land, and, as they neared Wellington, sections abounding in tree ferns. At Wellington they were driven to what was to be their home for the winter months. It was now mid-June, and the weather was turning cold. 4BIO 90.4

As she looked back since leaving Australia, she wrote: 4BIO 90.5

It is now three months since we left Melbourne. We have traveled about twenty-five hundred miles by sea and by land, and I have written over three hundred pages of letter paper. I have spoken to the people forty-one times, and am gaining in health and strength, for which I render thanksgiving and praise to God every day, and in the night season.—The Review and Herald, June 13, 1893.

She had occasion to rejoice, for while she had suffered so painfully through most of 1892 she could now travel, speak, and write. Yet she confided, “Infirmities are still my companions by night and day.” She was thankful that the Lord gave her grace to bear the pain. She explained: 4BIO 90.6

Sometimes when I feel unable to fill my appointments, I say, In faith I will place myself in position. I will go to the meeting, and stand upon my feet, although feeling unable to say a word; and whenever I have done this, I have had strength given me to rise above all infirmities, and to bear the message the Lord has given me for the people.—Ibid. 4BIO 91.1