Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)

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Planning for the School and the Institute

Tuesday, May 6, 1873, was a day of special interest. Butler was in town. Ellen White described the activities of the day: 2BIO 382.2

We have a beautiful morning. We had prayers and then set about the duties of the day. The directors and trustees [of the Health Institute] ride out to the lake to consult and pray over matters. We conversed over important matters and came to good conclusions. After talking a while, we spread out our food upon the tablecloths upon the ground. We placed upon the cloth our good hygienic food and we enjoyed our food much. 2BIO 382.3

We had much conversation after dinner in regard to the success of the work and the extended efforts we should make. We had a free, profitable talk and then we bowed before God and had a season of prayer. 2BIO 382.4

I spent the time from morning until eleven o'clock writing. We returned from the lake. Selected cloth at Salisburys’ for James—a coat. Brother Butler is here and went to the lake with us. He has come in a good time. 2BIO 382.5

We have many important matters to settle in regard to the location for school buildings, and the location of the institute. We are contemplating the ground. It is a most desirable place for buildings for school and institute.— Ibid. 2BIO 382.6

Sunday, May 11, James was not at all well. Ellen could see that they must both have rest and concluded that every hour they remained in Battle Creek was a positive danger to his life. They decided to drive over to Potterville and camp there for a time. Ellen declared their 19-year-old horses to be as true as steel. The journey seemed to bring relief, and at noon they stopped beside the road and built a fire for their dinner. On Tuesday James suffered another light stroke, but they were able to pitch their tent in Brother Sawyer's orchard on a plank floor that he laid for them. The Sawyers did everything they could for the Whites’ comfort, bringing carpet, stove, bedstead, washstand, looking glass, and chairs (Ibid.). But they could not get their minds off Battle Creek and the problems there, and on Friday they drove back and both were soon involved in their several tasks there. 2BIO 382.7

Among the accomplishments were the laying of plans for the operation of the school until permanent plans could be worked out. The Review and Herald would soon be in need of a third building to take care of its operations, so it was decided to erect a third building at once between the two in use, connecting them together in one combined unit. The erection of this building in the summer of 1873 opened the way for the school to continue in September with increased enrollment. 2BIO 383.1

There were good days and days not so good for James White through the spring months. Thursday morning, June 5, they reached the point where they knew they must make some decisions. In her diary she wrote: 2BIO 383.2

My husband had an ill turn. We had a season of prayer in our chamber. We called the brethren together and had a season of prayer for more clear understanding of duty. I felt that it was my duty to go to the Iowa camp meeting. We had two praying seasons. We finally decided to go on the morning train. We had to make hasty preparations. We had ample time to get to the cars. We waited three quarters of an hour for the western train. My husband improved in health and spirits as he journeyed.—Manuscript 8, 1873. 2BIO 383.3

The Iowa camp meeting was being held close to Washington, Iowa, where they had their hideaway home. Getting away from Battle Creek brought relief. By Friday noon they were on the campground. James White spoke in the large tent Friday night, and Ellen White on Sabbath afternoon and again in the evening. In all, James preached four times and Ellen five times (Ibid., June 24, 1873). Tuesday morning, seemingly quite refreshed, James and Ellen White were on the campground early. She wrote of the meeting: 2BIO 383.4

My husband addressed the people and gave important testimony in favor of the Health Institute and [Publishing] Association. I then bade them farewell with these words of warning, to watch as they returned home and not leave Jesus behind as did Joseph and Mary when they returned from Jerusalem. There was much tenderness of feeling in the congregation. We then bade them all farewell and returned to our home to rest.—Manuscript 8, 1873. 2BIO 384.1