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


Return to Australia

Within a week of the close of the camp meeting, Ellen White had closed up her work and was one of quite a large group, which included W. C. White and O. A. Olsen, on their way back to Australia. [Ellen White's visit to New Zealand was confined to the north island. She never labored in christchurch or other cities on the South Island.] 4BIO 111.6

They boarded the Wairarapa at Wellington on Wednesday, December 13, for the seven-day ocean journey. Friday morning they were at Auckland for a stay of a day and a half, which gave the traveling party opportunity to attend services in the Adventist church there on Friday evening and Sabbath morning. The trip was a rough one, with waves at times swamping the deck; none of the travelers fared well. Ellen White was given the privilege of sleeping in the ladies’ lounge each night when it was vacated at ten. 4BIO 112.1

The stewardess, Mrs. MacDonald, was very kind to Mrs. White, and the latter gave her Steps to Christ and some pamphlets and papers. As Ellen White had opportunity, she talked with her about her soul's salvation and pointed out the perils of any whose life was on the sea. Mrs. MacDonald's response was “If I could, I would be a Christian, but I cannot. It would be an impossibility to serve God on such a vessel as this.”—Manuscript 88, 1893. Then she opened up and told of the wickedness of the officers and the crew, and of how she wanted to seek other employment to support herself and four children, but had not done so because the job paid better than others and she needed all she could earn. There was an earnest conversation about the Christian life and prayer, but she held out that “it is no use to pray here, or try to be religious.” 4BIO 112.2

Later, one of the crew told Emily Campbell: 4BIO 112.3

“I have been much impressed that this boat will go down with all hands on board ere long. I have felt so strongly exercised that I shall not, if I can possibly disconnect from it, continue to remain on the boat.”—Ibid.

A few weeks later the ship was lost in a storm, and the crew member who had predicted its fate was one of only two rescued. The stewardess-nurse was listed among those who did not survive. 4BIO 112.4

Arriving in Sydney Wednesday morning at about nine o'clock, the traveling workers were taken to the International Tract and Mission House. All were hungry for both food and mail. Mail interested Ellen White the most. There was a letter from Edson, and she wrote in her diary for December 20, “It is like the prodigal son returned to his father's house. Edson and wife are obtaining a rich experience.”—Manuscript 89, 1893. 4BIO 112.5