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


The Stop in Samoa

The autograph album paged for Sabbath, September 8, shows the Moana lying placidly in the harbor at Apia, largest of the Samoan islands. The artist's prediction came close to the fact. The ship arrived at 7:00 A.M. on Friday morning. It would have been Sabbath morning if they had not just crossed the dateline, thus adding an extra day. 5BIO 20.4

As the anchor was dropped, the White party soon spotted its welcoming committee—a large green boat manned with singing Samoans (15 WCW, p. 868). They were directed by Prof. D. D. Lake, who supervised the Samoan Mission. One by one, members of the White party were helped down the rope ladder into the boat, and even 72-year-old Ellen White climbed down. One giant Samoan took Baby Grace in his arms and stood straight on the point of the bow, much to the discomfiture of her mother, May, who was afraid of water anyway. She could easily imagine those big, bare feet slipping off the slick wood. 5BIO 20.5

Even the smaller boat could not go all the way in to shore, so two of the men crossed arms to make a chair for Ellen White and carried her to the beach. May White was told to put her arms around the neck of the one who carried Grace, and Ellen had a good laugh over the strange sight of this grown woman in her full skirts clinging to the bronzed, naked back of a Samoan as he carried her and her baby ashore. 5BIO 20.6

Two carriages were waiting to convey members of the party who were not up to walking a mile to the mission headquarters. The rest of the group enjoyed the little jaunt. Oh, how good the home-cooked breakfast tasted! While most of the party went sightseeing, Ellen and Willie White stayed behind with Professor Lake to discuss the possibilities of reopening the sanitarium that had been forced to close when Dr. F. E. Braucht left for New Zealand (Ibid). 5BIO 21.1

The sightseers returned just as the interview was completed. After having prayer together they collected the many baskets of fruit that had been gathered for them. There were bananas in abundance, mangoes, papayas, and oranges. Everybody then headed for the boat, except Mabel. One of the women had wanted to return early, so Mabel had volunteered to drive her to the dock with the horse and buggy. On the drive back to the mission she became lost. She could not ask her way, for the only words in Samoan she knew were “How do you do?” It was nearly time for the boat to leave. Just as the situation seemed almost hopeless, along came Willie Floding. He had worked on the island and knew his way around. Together they quickly found the ship. 5BIO 21.2

Calm seas continued as they plowed their way north and east on the next leg of the journey—2,260 miles to Honolulu. Midway they would cross the equator and be again in the Northern Hemisphere. It was a pleasant week of travel. Ella, unable to restrain the desire to teach, had organized a little school for the twins, and soon other children joined. She even recruited Leonard Paap, one of the party, to teach the older children. The sunrise on Monday morning was outstanding. Ellen White wrote, “The sunrise was glorious. The whole sea was a river of yellow gold. We have on this journey a placid sea.”—Manuscript 96, 1900. Then she reported: 5BIO 21.3

I am now lying or half sitting in my steamboat chair on deck. I have eaten my simple breakfast and read my Bible and now am prepared to write. The Lord is merciful to us and is favoring us with excellent weather.— Ibid. 5BIO 21.4

She particularly appreciated the clouds that at times veiled the bright rays of the sun. This made the journey more pleasant. 5BIO 21.5

On Sunday night, September 9, God gave Ellen White a vision. It was not the only one given to her during the voyage, but this one she reported immediately. It dealt with the management of the Sydney Sanitarium. She was instructed that Dr. D. H. Kress, who had just gone to Australia, should be the man to manage the medical interests of the new institution. There were some others in Australia who thought perhaps they would be called to the position, so Ellen White cautioned Fred Sharp, to whom the letter was addressed, to treat the matter judiciously. “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” she advised.—Letter 203, 1900. 5BIO 22.1

Perhaps it was this vision of Sunday night in which she received the instruction she spoke of in Battle Creek some months later. Various and sundry rumors were floating around as to what she was at times supposed to have said. Warning came to her to be on guard against private interviews. There were people who would catch something from her lips that they could interpret in such away as to vindicate themselves. Her Instructor counseled that silence was eloquence, even when she was with her supposed friends. She was counseled to keep her words for public occasions. 5BIO 22.2

“‘Enter into no controversy,’” she was advised in vision. “‘Take no part in any strife or in anything that would divert the mind from God.’” And she was assured, “‘I have a message for you to bear, and as this message is given to the people, it is not for you to try to make them believe it. That is not your work. You are to go straight forward in the work I have given you. I will strengthen you to do this work.’”—Manuscript 29, 1901. 5BIO 22.3

Friday morning, September 14, at eight o'clock, after a very hot night, the Moana reached Honolulu. Elder Baxter Howe, in charge of the work of the church there, welcomed the travelers and took them to Sister Kerr's, where the whole party enjoyed an early lunch. The Kerrs were an affluent family. Mr. Kerr, a businessman, was not a member of the church, but Mrs. Kerr was generous-hearted and outgoing. Ellen White had been entertained royally at their home on her trip to Australia nine years before. 5BIO 22.4

The hours in Honolulu would be limited, so the party made a brief visit to the church, where both Ellen White and Willie addressed the people. Then they visited the Chinese school operated by W. E. Howell. By six o'clock that evening they were back on the boat, which soon was on its way eastward to San Francisco. 5BIO 22.5