Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)


California Interests

August was a month that marked development in the work of the church on the Pacific Coast. The newly established Pacific Union Conference was getting well under way. On August 1, the first issue of the Pacific Union Recorder was published, and its first article, from the pen of Ellen G. White, was devoted to “True Missionary Work.” It fitted nicely in the journal's department titled The Church. This first issue carried, as well, an explanation concerning the formation of the new union conference and presented its constitution. 5BIO 124.3

It was also in August that the churches in the southern part of California, formerly part of the Statewide conference whose headquarters were in Oakland, were organized into their own local conference. This new Southern California Conference, comprising thirteen churches, had a membership of just about a thousand. Clarence Santee was elected president. 5BIO 124.4

Sara McEnterfer and Maggie Hare accompanied Ellen White on the journey south to attend the Los Angeles camp meeting. W. C. White remained at St. Helena. Ellen White spoke several times in the large tent and, on August 14, was invited to attend an important counsel meeting. Of this she wrote: 5BIO 124.5

This morning I was called into a committee meeting, to give the light the Lord had given me in regard to the sanitarium which is to be established in Los Angeles. Some of the brethren have held one view in regard to the way in which the work should be carried on, and some another. 5BIO 124.6

I gave them the light God had given me, and I think that now they will all work on right lines. I spoke for over an hour, presenting the necessity of blending together in medical missionary work. I had some very plain things to say.—Letter 113, 1901. 5BIO 125.1

After she had spoken, she drove out to see a five-acre site the brethren were looking on as favorable for a sanitarium. The next day they visited Long Beach, checking on another site. She felt that there was too much fog there to make a good sanitarium location. 5BIO 125.2

Concerning her entertainment in Los Angeles during the camp meeting, Ellen White wrote: 5BIO 125.3

We were well located in Los Angeles. A brother who had just purchased a new house kindly gave it up for the use of myself and my workers. We were very thankful to be thus favored. And even now as I recollect their kindness, I feel like saying, “Thank you, my brother and sister.”— Letter 125, 1901. 5BIO 125.4

On the return journey to her Elmshaven home she stopped in Oakland to attend two meetings of the Pacific Press board. She talked for an hour at each one of these meetings, “setting forth the importance of consecration to God's work.” She had much to say regarding “the religious interest in the Pacific Press” (Letter 125, 1901). 5BIO 125.5

After returning to her home, she wrote to the leaders in southern California concerning a vision in which she seemed to be participating in a meeting as important matters were considered: 5BIO 125.6

We were in council, and the matter of locating the sanitarium at Long Beach was being discussed, when One of authority said, You will make a mistake if you select that place. It is not a favorable place for invalids. The winds are objectionable. Take time to make full investigation, and in no case locate the sanitarium in a place where the sea breeze blows as strongly as at Long Beach.—Letter 143, 1901. 5BIO 125.7

And then to give emphasis to what she had just written, she declared: “This is light from the Lord.” 5BIO 125.8

The matter of the establishment of sanitariums in southern California was one in which she would participate for the next decade and more. 5BIO 125.9

At Elmshaven, work on Education was moving slowly. Ellen White felt the urgency of her literary work, but before she could settle down to this, there was the three-week teachers’ institute opening at Healdsburg on Friday afternoon, August 23. Elementary church schools were just getting well under way, and this institute would be an important one. She pledged her presence. Sarah Peck, an educator on her staff, and W. C. accompanied her. 5BIO 126.1

About forty people attended the institute, twenty-five of them church school teachers. Ellen White spoke frequently to the group. On the two Sabbaths she spoke in nearby churches, Santa Rosa and Petaluma. The Santa Rosa trip included a visit to the Lighter family, where she found Mrs. Lighter's father, an aged cripple, desiring baptism. He was too feeble to go to either Healdsburg or Santa Rosa, so plans were formed for conducting the baptism by letting him down in a bathtub (Letter 126, 1901; Evangelism, 315). 5BIO 126.2

Ellen White made a quick trip back to Elmshaven on Sunday afternoon, September 1, to attend to some important writing. Monday she worked from 2:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. A vision was given to her that night, and she was up on Tuesday morning at three o'clock, writing. She returned to Healdsburg that same morning (Letter 126, 1901). 5BIO 126.3

Then at the close of the institute on Friday, September 13, they returned to Elmshaven. W. C. White reported that book work was about to begin again (17 WCW, p. 366). This embodied primarily work on Education and The Ministry of Healing. The records of the days reveal these activities: 5BIO 126.4

Sabbath, September 21 Ellen G. White spoke in the sanitarium chapel.

Monday, September 23 An interview with J. N. Loughborough in regard to his going to Australia (Letter 195, 1901).

Wednesday, September 25 She found a letter under her door from A. G. Daniells at one o'clock as she arose and began her day's work.

Thursday, September 26 At 1:00 A.M. she began a letter to Daniells declaring that the church was not ready to press the work in China and India. She explained:

We first have a work to do at home. All our institutions—our sanitariums, publishing houses, and schools—are to reach a higher standard. Then the workers sent to foreign fields will reach a higher standard.—Testimonies for the Church 8:87. 5BIO 127.1

That evening she retired at seven o'clock. But an hour later she arose to write concerning Rodney M., a student at Healdsburg College and son of one of the ministers. She wrote until midnight and then slept until 4:00 A.M. When she rose. Burdened with the case of the “Doctors S.” at the Sanitarium, she wrote a testimony to them. 5BIO 127.2

In her eagerness to see the school year at Healdsburg start off in right lines, she drove over again for the opening of the college. Her address to the students and faculty “on the subject of Christian education” was encouraging. She dwelt especially on “the relation of students to each other and to their teachers” (Pacific Union Recorder, October 24, 1901). 5BIO 127.3

She constantly carried a heavy burden on her heart for the spiritual condition in church institutions and for the men and women connected with them. Just at this time she had a particular concern for the publishing house in Battle Creek, and for the sanitarium on the hill just above her Elmshaven home. 5BIO 127.4