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


At Hastings and Napier

Doors seemed closed in Wellington. Ellen White was still waiting for her much-needed dental plates, but was feeling quite well and had found she could talk so as to be understood, even without teeth. She, M. C. Israel, and Mr. Mountain studied plans for the immediate future. They thought it would be well to join G.T. Wilson, now the conference president, and his wife, who were working in Napier and Hastings. There, several people were just in the balance of decision, for or against the message of the church. 4BIO 104.2

Tuesday morning, August 15, they were off early for Hastings, a ten-hour trip by train—Ellen White, Emily Campbell, and Nina Piper, whom they took with them to assist in the home duties. They were to be in Hastings for several weeks, and they wanted to avoid being a burden wherever they might stay. 4BIO 104.3

On the train were many Maoris, natives of New Zealand, a people among whom Mrs. Caro was beginning to do missionary work with some favorable response. At one station Ellen White and her traveling companions had a unique experience: “We saw for the first time the ceremony of salutation—the rubbing of noses.” She commented, “It was a novel sight.”—Manuscript 84, 1893. At Hastings they were taken to the Wilson home, where they were to stay. It was a large home, and the visitors were easily accommodated. 4BIO 104.4

Wednesday evening twenty-five people gathered in the home. Ellen White spoke with great freedom. Three in the audience were not members of the church. One of them was a woman who, by reading Daniel and the Revelation and The Great Controversy sent to her by her son in Wellington, was deeply interested. Following Ellen White's remarks, there was a social meeting in which the people bore their testimony to God's providences. “These social meetings,” she commented, “do more than preaching to ripen off the work.” 4BIO 104.5

It was here that Ellen White wrote in her diary: 4BIO 105.1

Wednesday, August 16, 1893:

I see so much to be thankful for in my case. The Lord is my Restorer. I am able to kneel down now. 4BIO 105.2

I feared I might not ever be able to bow upon my knees in prayer. For more than one year I was unable to bend the knees to kneel down, but I am gaining all the time in health, for which I praise the Lord who is so good to me. His mercies are seen every day.—Ibid. 4BIO 105.3

W. C. White, after three months in Australia, was now back in New Zealand, and joined others in a special interest in the Maoris, who rather thickly populated this area. One 16-year-old Maori lad, who attended a nearby school and who had begun to keep the Sabbath, came to talk with the workers in Napier about attending the Australasian Bible School in Melbourne. Some others would soon be going to Battle Creek College. Mrs. Caro gave freely to aid them, and Ellen White promised support for one Maori student at the Melbourne school. For nearly two months she divided her time between Hastings, Napier, and Ormondville. 4BIO 105.4

Here and there baptisms were reported, and things were beginning to look up. It was thought, as the brethren counseled together, that the time had come when Mrs. White could return to Australia, by way of Auckland. But just then a telegram came informing them that the missionary brigantine Pitcairn [A hundred-foot sailing vessel built in 1890 for use as a missionary ship in the south pacific, paid for by sabbath school offerings.] would be in Auckland in a few days. There was trouble on board, and it seemed essential that W. C. White should spend a little time with the crew. Another telegram informed them that O. A. Olsen, president of the General Conference, would be arriving from Africa in time to attend the camp meeting that was scheduled to open in Wellington November 23 (DF 28a, “Experiences in Australia,” pp. 499, 500). Plans for an early return to Australia were dropped, and their minds turned to preparing for the meeting. 4BIO 105.5