By David Edgren
Long, long ago, back before your Mum or Dad were born – even before your Grandma and Grandpa were born, there lived a lady who had a very adventurous life. She travelled around the world telling people about the special messages Jesus gave to her in visions and dreams! Her name was Ellen.
When Ellen Harmon was a teenager, her parents took her to church meetings where people talked about Jesus coming very soon. They said He was coming in less than a year. They said they knew the exact day Jesus would come. And, sadly, when the day passed, they found out they were very wrong.
Many people who had been coming to the church meetings, stopped coming after they were so greatly disappointed. Some thought the dates were wrong. Others thought the people setting the dates were wrong. But, no matter what they thought, they were all sad.
During that very dark and sad time, something amazing happened. Ellen had a dream that showed the very people who had been disappointed walking on a high path toward heaven! At first, she was scared to tell people about the dream because she thought they would laugh at her. But, once she worked up the courage to tell her friends, they encouraged her to tell more people. And this is where her life of adventure began.
When Ellen started having more visions, a young preacher named Joseph White was convinced her visions were from God. He began spending more time with Ellen and telling people about her visions. Soon, he fell in love with Ellen. Joseph wanted to get married quickly because they could both feel God calling them to go tell the world their wonderful messages. Joseph was afraid if he went one direction and Ellen went another, they might never get married. On August 30, 1846 they were married and Ellen became Mrs White.
Mr and Mrs White had four children – all boys. Henry, Edson, William and John. Their youngest boy John died as a baby. For the three months of his short life he suffered from a skin infection, which caused blisters, fever and very sore skin. Ellen said, “My dear babe was a great sufferer. Twenty-four days and nights we anxiously watched over him, using all the remedies we could for his recovery, and earnestly presenting his case to the Lord. At times I could not control my feelings as I witnessed his sufferings. Much of my time was spent in tears and humble supplication to God” (spiritual gifts v2 p 296).
Their first born, Henry, died of pneumonia when he was 16 years old. It started with a simple cold. Life was very tough for people before modern medicine.
Mrs White’s travels often took her far away from her family. Sometimes she felt lonely. She wrote to her husband Joseph: “Although I miss you very, very much, and love you, yet I feel at present I belong to God to wait for and do His will. … It has been hard, so hard.”
On land, Mrs White travelled in carriages, on trains and by horse. After one mountain ride in Colorado, she wrote: “It looked fearful so high, and below was a fearful precipice of rocks. If the horses had stepped over to one side we should have fallen hundreds of feet.” (Letter 12, 1872). When she was in her late 80’s Mrs White’s twin grandsons Herbert and Henry took her for her first ride in an automobile. She said, “It is the easiest machine that I have ever ridden in” (letter 11, 1913).
While on a long sea voyage to Australia, Mrs White was travelling with her Son’s wife and granddaughter. The ship stopped near an island in Samoa. Because big ships can only get so close to land, they had to stop in shallow water. Mrs White and the other ladies were wearing the long dresses of the day and could not walk in the water as the men did. So, two big Samoan men carried the women to land. On their first trip, the two men clasped hands making a chair and carried Mrs White to shore where she sat on a large rock.
Ethel May, Mrs White’s Daughter in law, later wrote: “Another man took my 4-month-old daughter in his arms and held an umbrella over her to shelter her from the sun. Then he motioned for me to get on his back. So I scrambled onto his back and wrapped my arms and legs around him, and off we went. Mother White laughed so hard at the sight that she couldn’t stop. She laughed until she fell off the rock” (Adventist Review July 7 1983).
When she was home, Mrs White loved gardening. At nearly 70, she wrote in her diary: “I arose at half past four a.m. At five I was at work spading up ground and preparing to set out my flowers.”
What an amazing life Ellen White had because she chose to follow her dreams and share her visions. God has great plans for your life, too. Say yes to Jesus, and your life will be a grand adventure!
Special thanks to Jeff Crocombe for his online presentation, “Meet Ellen White – wife, mother, friend” at http://www.slideshare.net/jcrocombe/meet-ellen-white-presentation
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