of Prophecy Day / Heritage Sabbath Program
13, 2007 (North America, October 20, 2007)
story "Lost and Found" in
Acrobat Reader (PDF)
One June morning
in 1853 a carriage drew up to James and Ellen White's home. They
had hired a man to take them to Vergennes, Michigan; now the man
waited outside. Mrs. White came to the door and called to him, "Will
we need to pack a lunch? It's eight o'clock now--will we get there
"It is only
fifteen miles" (24 kilometers), the man replied. "We are
getting an early start, so we should be there before lunchtime."
The driver helped
his passengers aboard and they started on their way. At first all
went well. Of course, there was no paved road. They followed the
double wheel tracks through the forest. Someone had laid logs over
the worst holes, and the driver assured the Whites that he had traveled
this way several times and was certain of the road. No signposts
marked the way. Many sets of double wheel tracks crossed theirs
through the forest. Mrs. White thought they all looked alike.
On and on they
traveled. The June sun grew warm, then hot. Finally James White
asked the driver, "Are we almost there?"
The man pushed
his hat back from his sweating brow and answered, "Brother
White, I'll have to admit this trail doesn't look familiar. I must
have taken a wrong turn. But never mind, we'll cut right through
the forest to the trail."
So away they
went through the woods, between logs and fallen trees where Mrs.
White could see no trace of a road. She felt thirsty, but all the
water seemed to be murky marsh water. "Do you suppose,"
she asked the driver, "that we could get some milk from one
of these cows?" She pointed to several cows grazing in the
grassy spots. The driver stopped the team, got out, took a tin cup
from the carriage, and started to stalk one of the cows. The cow
seemed to understand his intentions and had ideas of her own. When
he approached a second and third cow, they behaved the same way.
Finally Mrs. White told the man, "Never mind, I'll just go
After a while
the travelers saw a small clearing, and in the middle of it a log
cabin stood. They drove close to the cabin and clambered down from
the carriage. A woman came out to meet them with a warm and hearty
welcome. Evidently she seldom saw visitors. She set out food and
drink and while the travelers ate the food and drank the milk, they
talked. After the woman learned they were going to Vergennes to
conduct meetings she asked them, "Won't you please come and
hold meetings in our neighborhood? It doesn't look like many people
live around here, but if you came to preach at our school house
you'd be surprised how many would come. We need you! The Spiritualists
are very active here. I have been to some of their meetings and
I'm afraid of them. Please come and give us some good preaching."
She continued to beg earnestly, and then she began to weep.
The Whites tried
to comfort her. Mrs. White thought of all their pressing appointments
and how urgent they all were. They couldn't promise to come at any
time in the near future, she explained to the woman. "I'll
tell you what we will do," she said. "We'll leave you
one of my books and some papers." The woman dried her tears,
accepted the book and periodicals, and told them how to find the
way to Vergennes. The new friends parted, hoping to see each other
drove on for several hours more. The journey, which should have
been only fifteen miles (24 kilometers), bumped along for forty
miles (64 kilometers), but at last they reached Vergennes. Mrs.
White said to her husband, "Why did this have to happen to
us? The Lord knows how precious our time is. Why this long wandering
through the forest?"
James White patted
her hand and said in a comforting voice, "Always remember that
He plans our lives, and someday we'll know why this strange experience
happened to us."
later at the Michigan campground a lady hurried up to Ellen White.
She shook her hands, greeted her joyously, and asked, "Do you
remember being lost in the woods many years ago? Do you remember
the log house in the clearing? You were lost and tired, hungry and
thirsty. While your horses rested I got you food and drink. You
astonished me because you didn't waste any time gossiping or complaining
about the trip. You just talked about Jesus and the beauties of
heaven, and you gave me a little book, Experience and Views, that
you had written. Well, I read it over and over. I still have it.
It's about worn out now. I lent it to the neighbors and they read
it. Since then, Seventh-day Adventist ministers have come to our
area. But you were the ones who prepared the soil and when those
ministers came, many were ready to receive the seeds of truth. So
we have quite a company of Sabbath keepers in our area." Then
the woman threw her arms around Mrs. White in an exuberance of joy.
"Oh, I am so glad that we are Seventh-day Adventists."
The woman stopped long enough to take a deep breath. Her face beamed.
She didn't need to tell Mrs. White of her joy in the Lord. Everything
about her proclaimed it.
heart thrilled with joy, too. At last she had the answer to the
question she had asked twenty-two years before, when they took that
long and troublesome detour through the forest that day in June
of 1853. They were on God's errand. He had sent them to this woman
who longed for truth, to bring the little book and to speak the
words of courage and truth that set her feet in the way to heaven.
A special beauty
and the power of the Holy Spirit attend Ellen White's writings.
She has said, "My writings will constantly speak and their
work will go forward as long as time shall last." She knew
the source of her writings, and she explained, "They contain
the precious comforting light that God has graciously given to His
servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is
to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour."
So whether in
the marshy forests of Michigan, admid the towering Andes Mountains
of South America, wherever Ellen White's books are distributed,
the mighty power of God goes with them and His Spirit speaks through
them to hungry souls the world over.