Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;                                                                                                                                                                                                                         my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Angel Over Her Tent

     Ellen G. White spent almost ten years in Australia. She first went to the island continent at the request of the mission board after the General Conference of 1891. Stephen N. Haskell, an Adventist leader who had gone to Australia in 1885, urged that the church send Mrs. White to help guide the newly formed groups and institution there. On November 12, 1891, she, her son William C. White, and several assistants sailed from San Francisco aboard the steamer Alameda.
     In Australia she directed many important projects. At her strong urging, the Australian Adventists established a college. At first it was conducted in rented quarters in Melbourne, but at her insistence, a special committee found a site for it at Cooranbong, seventy-six miles north of Sydney. This college was the first to use her idea of combining work and study in a rural location, a pattern later followed in creating most of the other Adventist colleges and academies. Avondale College still continuesto educate Australian young people for service for the church.
     Also she helped pioneer the organization of Australia into regions called local conferences. These united to become a union conference, the first in the denomination. When the church set up a worldwide organization several years later, it followed the organizational pattern developed in Australia.
     As always, she spent much time speaking and writing. Camp meetings provided her with many speaking opportunities. During the years from 1891 to 1900 she wrote countless letters to church leaders in the United States, plus many articles for the Review and Herald, Signs of the Times, and The Youth's Instructor. In 1896 she finished the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing. The Desire of Ages followed in 1898. The year 1900 saw the publication of Christ's Object Lessons and volume six of Testimonies for the Church.
Although always busy, Mrs. White still found time for evangelistic activities. At the camp meetings she presented series of talks to large crowds. One such series she conducted during the Brighton Beach camp meeting held from December 29, 1893, to January 15, 1894, in a Melbourne suburb. It was the first Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting ever held in Australia. Mrs. White had just returned from New Zealand, where she had attended camp meetings at Napier and Wellington, the first and second such assemblies the Adventists convened south of the equator.
     Arthur G. Daniells, Mrs. White, and other church leaders urged all the Australian Adventists that could toattend the meetings. To house the people expected to come, those arranging the camp meeting made thirty-five family-sized tents. Few thought more than that would be needed. But as reservations came in, the preparations committee had to buy and rent additional tents.

     When Mrs. White arrived at Brighton Beach, the campsite contained more than one hundred tents, housing 511 people. The careful, orderly arrangement of the tents and grounds impressed the many non-Adventist visitors who flocked to the meetings. The large audiences included doctors, ministers of other churches, and businessmen. They crowded into the main tent to hear Mrs. White speak on such topics as the Ten Commandments, Sabbathkeeping, and the events heralding the second coming of Christ. The wonders of the Adventist camp meeting quickly became a local topic of conversation. Mrs. White said herself that she had not seen such deep religious dedication and enthusiasm since the Millerite meetings of 1843 and 1844.

     But not everybody appreciated the camp meeting so highly. To a group of juvenile delinquents—larrikins, the Australians called them—living in a nearby town, it represented a chance to have some fun. They began to do little acts of vandalism and mischief. They attacked the tents, hurling stones at them and pulling one down. The camp meeting staff had appointed several students from the Australian Bible School to act as guards. They helped control the larrikins. Unable to do much damage, the delinquents decided on a bolder scheme. Their leader outlined a plan to pull Mrs. White's tent down on her thenext night. He considered her the most important person among the Adventists.

     But some of the gang bragged about their plan to the camp's student guards. Learning what the larrikins wanted to do, Fairly Masters, one of the Bible School's students, went to the faculty and warned them about the teen-age gang's schemes. The teachers hurried to the Melbourne police headquarters and asked for protection for the campsite. The city sent a tall, heavy-built Irish Roman Catholic policeman out to the little tent city to guard Mrs. White's tent.

     Actually Mrs. White did not worry when she heard about the teen-agers’ plan. She had often faced greater dangers in her long life. Time after time angels had protected her from disease, accident, and the violence and hatred of men. Since God had taken care of her for so long, she did not see any reason for fear now. Most of the time Mrs. White did not let people give her police protection. Now she accepted it only to please those with her. After the meeting that night, she walked to her tent, prepared for bed, prayed, and fell asleep in perfect peace. She would have slept just as peacefully without the policeman. Outside, the policeman patrolled the area around the tent, watching for the troublemakers. But the boys never showed up. Some of the youthful camp guards warned the gang members not to try anything, because the city had sent a law officer.

     Yawning occasionally, the policeman kept at his post. Not long after midnight, when only subdued snores and the rustle of the night wind among the leaves disturbedthe campground, he paused in his circuit of Mrs. White's tent and glanced toward it. He thought he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. But the tent stood peacefully in the darkness. He started to turn his attention to another part of the campground, but before he could, he saw a beam of light suddenly hover over Mrs. White's tent. Gradually the light assumed a shape and became more solid looking. Gripping his night stick, he watched the shape of an angel form in the light and stand guard above the tent. Instinctively he dropped to his knees and crossed himself. Awestruck, he stared at the angel for several minutes, then slowly rose to his feet and began to walk away. He had decided that Mrs. White no longer needed his protection. God guarded her.

     Back at the Melbourne police station, he explained to his sergeant and the other officers on duty there why he had left his post. He explained that he felt Mrs. White had greater safety than he could give her. Strangely, his superiors did not question his story, but believed it and did not send him back to the campground that night.

     The Irish policeman, however, went to the campsite on his own the next day. He wanted to see the woman the angel guarded, to hear what she had to say. He attended the main services that day and every following day. What he saw and learned about Mrs. White did not disappoint him. The more he heard, the more interested he became; and he joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Later he resigned from the police force and moved to the country, becoming an active lay member responsible for many others joining the church.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

James Finds a Way

     This is a “stick-to-it” story. Do you like “stick-to-it” stories? This is a vacation story. Everyone likes vacations. This story is about a time when the White family were taking a vacation in the Rocky Mountains. There were Elder James White and Sister Ellen G. White and Willie who was eighteen years of age, and a close friend of the Whites, Mrs. Hall. Brother and Sister White had been working very hard, going from place to place attending meetings and speaking and helping the people for years, and they needed a change. Both Elder and Mrs. White had a great deal of writing they wanted to do and they could not get to it at home in Battle Creek or when they were traveling, so they decided to spend the summer of 1873 in Colorado, resting and writing.

     Sister White had a niece who lived in Colorado. The husband of this niece was Mr. Walling and he ran a sawmill. The Wallings had a cabin that could be fixed up and Elder and Mrs. White could stay there. Part of the time they would write and part of the time they would relax.

     And so the Whites went to the Walling home and got settled in the cabin and then had a wonderful time. They enjoyed climbing the mountains and watching the rushing streams. They gazed at huge granite rocks and they watched the beautiful sunsets. They enjoyed picking wild berries that they found here and there.

      One day, late in the summer, Mr. Walling asked Elder and Mrs. White if they would like to go up to Grand Lake in Middle Park for a couple of weeks and camp by the lake. Of course they would like to go! So they got their clothes ready. They got their food ready. They took some candles for light. They planned that they would be camping by the lake for about two weeks.

     At eleven o’clock Sunday morning everything was loaded into two wagons, and they started driving way up into the mountains, past the timberline where no trees grow because it is so high. They got through the pass and started down the narrow winding road and camped for the night. Monday morning, they started out again. Elder and Mrs. White and Willie were riding horses. Soon they were called back, for an axle on one of the wagons had broken. Now they would have to camp a few days here while Mr. Walling went back home to get the axle fixed. It was a week later that Mr. Walling sent one of his hired men with the repaired axle, and to take the Whites on to the lake.
     Grand Lake is quite a big lake, but in those days, no one lived there. During the summer months, two fishermen stayed there in a cabin and caught fish for the market. When they got to the lake, they chose a good site for the camp and the hired man helped the Whites pitch their tents. With his horses, he hauled in dry logs which could be used for firewood. Soon they were all nicely settled, but already their supplies were running low. After spending Sabbath with them, the hired man said goodbye and drove up over the pass and back to the saw mill, promising to send supplies soon or to have Mr. Walling come and get them and take them back to the cabin.

     How the Whites did enjoy this beautiful place! It was so quiet and the lake was so beautiful. They went boating and they went hiking. They rested and Elder and Mrs. White did quite a lot of writing. Mrs. White was just at this time writing on the early part of the life of Jesus.

     Willie especially enjoyed watching the otters in their play. They would slide down into the lake. The Whites became acquainted with the two fishermen. Their little cabin was right by the lake. They would catch their fish in nets and keep the fish alive until a man came up from Black Hawk with horses and saddlebags, and then that evening they would take the fish out of the water, clean them, leave them out in the frost and the next morning they put them in the saddlebags and took them to the market in Central City and Black Hawk.

     Brother and Sister White expected that Mr. Walling would soon come and get them. But for some reason, he was delayed. It seems that Mr. Walling was a man who couldn’t always be depended upon. Elder White was working on the revision of a tract which was printed at our publishing house in Battle Creek. He had promised them that the copy would be ready by a certain time. If Mr. Walling delayed too long, he would not be able to keep his promise, and the much-needed tract would be seriously delayed.

     Mr. Walling did not come. Soon the candles were all burned up, so when it got dark, they went to bed, and when it got light, they got up. But the big problem was food. It was going fast and this really troubled them. They asked the fishermen to sell them some of their supplies, but they did not have much to spare. They found that there were wild berries here and there on the mountainsides, and they picked these berries and used them, and some of them they made into pies and traded them to the fishermen for other food. As each day went by, the food was getting more scarce.
     Elder White spent some time writing on his tract. As he and Willie came home to their camp after a hike one Tuesday afternoon, Elder White discovered that the men had come for the fish and would be leaving early the next morning for Black Hawk. He decided that he must finish his work on the copy for the tract and send it to the post office by these men. He had given his word that the tract would go out by a certain time, and this was his opportunity to keep his word. So he hurriedly got his Bible and his concordance and continued working on the copy for the tract. He looked occasionally at the sun and he saw that it would soon be going down behind the mountains. When it got dark, he would not be able to write any more because, you remember, they had no candles. What could he do? As he wrote, he thought. He must find a way to get that tract finished.

     Elder White was a man who didn’t give up easily. If one way seemed closed, he would try to find another way. He would stick to it until the job was done. As he thought, he remembered that that very afternoon as they were out for their walk, some distance from the camp they had seen the body of a wolf. There was a hunter who had set traps on what they called a trapline. He had a trail and he would set traps here and there in likely places where he might catch the animals. He did this because he wanted the fur. And about every week or ten days, he would come through and if he found an animal in the tray, and leave the carcass there because he had no use for that. And that very afternoon, they had seen the carcass of a freshly-killed wolf. Elder White thought perhaps—perhaps, they could get some fat off the body of that wolf and he could use that fat to make a light. He called his boy, Willie.

     “Willie, Willie, come here! I have got to have a light,” he said, “to finish this tract tonight. I have promised it and it must go at six o’clock in the morning when the men take the fish to Black Hawk. Do you remember the body of that wolf we saw out there on the trail?”
        “Yes,” Willie replied.
        “Do you think you could find it?”
        “Yes. I am pretty sure I can.”

     “All right,” Elder White said, “I want you to take your knife and a pan and go to the body of that wolf, scrape off all the fat that you can. I must have a light.” And as Willie was leaving, James White called after him, “Don’t forget the shotgun.” There were brown bears up in that valley;

     So with a double-barreled shotgun over his shoulder, and a pan and the knife, Willie started back over the trail to see if he could find the body of the wolf. He just hoped that a coyote hadn’t gotten it between the time when they saw it and the time when he hoped to find it. But when he came to the spot, there it was. He knelt down by the side of the carcass. He scraped a little yellow fat from here, and he found a little more yellow fat from someplace else, and then he cut the body of the wolf open. He found some fat here and some fat there, especially around the liver. As he told the story to his children many years later, he said that he never saw such a skinny wolf in all his life! When Willie had gotten about all the fat that he could from that wolf, he had just about a cup and a half full. It was getting dark now and he hurriedly walked back to the camp. Elder White took the pan and put it over the fire and the fat turned soft and melted into oil. Then he poured it into a dish, and he tore up some pieces of rag. He put them in the oil and twisted them and dipped them in the oil and twisted them until they took shape. Then he laid them up on the edge of the dish. He lit it. It sputtered a little bit and then it flared up in a nice flame. Elder White had his light;

     And so he went on with his work of writing, writing, with the light given from the oil which came from the wolf. Ten o’clock came, and he was still writing. Eleven o’clock came, and he hadn’t quite finished. He looked into the dish. Yes, there was plenty of oil. Twelve o’clock came and he looked again. He had finished the tract now and there was still some oil left. But he had the copy for the tract and his letter ready to go. He pinched out the flame and went to bed.

     Early in the morning when the men took the fish to Black Hawk and Denver, they took the letter to be mailed to the publishing house, and the copy for the tract. Elder White did not let them down. He hadpromised and he kept the promise. He found a way to do what needed to be done.

     We think that the pioneers did some great things, and they did. But they were prepared to do difficult things because when they were boys and girls, they had learned to do the hard things. We do not find them, when they found some difficult task saying, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it!” Now I know that you boys and girls never say that, but sometimes boys and girls are tempted to, when they are asked in school or at home to do what seems to be some very hard task. Elder and Mrs. White found a way to do what needed to be done.

     About a week later, Mr. Walling came. How glad they were to see him! He brought some food with him too. He explained that he had had some trouble at the saw mill and it just wasn’t convenient to come. He hadn’t realized that Brother and Sister White were suffering actual hunger there in the mountains.

     But be that as it may, Elder White “stuck to it.” He found a way to do what needed to be done. He didn’t give up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is a picture we took of "Going to the Sun Road." Here is a Bible text this picture makes me think of:
And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer. 2 Samuel 22:2 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

                                         This is a picture of the beautiful view we had in Montana.