The Influence of Ellen G. White on Our Work in Australia

The influence of the Spirit of Prophecy upon the church in Australasia has been deep and wide. This might well be attributed to the fact that for almost ten years Ellen G. White lived in Australia and carried on her God-given work.

President Australasian Division

THE influence of the Spirit of Prophecy upon the church in Australasia has been deep and wide. This might well be attributed to the fact that for almost ten years Ellen G. White lived in Australia and carried on her God-given work. Providentially, the servant of the Lord arrived in Australia only three years after the Australian Conference had been organized. To have her connect with the work in its infancy was a great advan­tage. To be accepted without question as the messenger of the Lord brought im­mediate and lasting fruitage to the church.

Formative years always have an impor­tant bearing upon later development. It would not be proper to suggest that at times there was no resistance to counsel by individuals even though there is no re­corded evidence of this, but of organized re­sistance to counsel there was none. No doubt at times the faith of the brethren staggered because of unbelief, but they faithfully followed on. History has demon­strated that in following the divine counsel they were led aright.

The Australian Conference was received into the sisterhood of conferences at the General Conference session of 1888. Sister White arrived in Sydney in November, 1891. Soon afterward she visited the main centers of our work in both Australia and New Zealand.

Then she began to give counsel concern­ing the strengthening of the work. She preached in Melbourne in 1895, and urged the brethren to turn their attention to pre­paring foods that would sustain health. Twenty cases of health foods were donated by the Battle Creek Health Food Factory, but there seemed to be no demand for these products. The Australian way of life did not call for the newfangled articles of diet. The publishing house was asked to do its best to dispose of the stock. However, the Spirit of Prophecy writings were full of words of encouragement and persistent counsel. By faith the brethren responded. In 1897 a small food factory was established in a bakery, and a handcart was procured to deliver the goods. For years the work of the department was a struggle against the odds of lack of finance and lack of public support. At times it seemed fruitless to per­sist in the undertaking, but the messenger of the Lord supplied the vision of the future that was needed, and in many ways God in­dicated that He was in the work.

One such occasion was when the breth­ren had to meet a financial commitment with an empty treasury. Elder A. G. Daniells spent the night in prayer in the woods. The next day he counseled with his breth­ren on what expedient they could follow.

After prayer, one suggested that they go to the bank and request a loan of the required amount. When three of them arrived at the bank they found to their dismay that the door was locked. They had left it un­til too late, yet the money was needed that day.

Standing on the pavement discussing their predicament, one of them noticed that the back door was ajar. He called the at­tention of his brethren to this, and they all walked in. The manager and the teller looked up from balancing their books; their faces were white. "What do you want? How did you get in?" the manager asked. When Elder Daniells replied that they came through the open door, the manager exclaimed, "Impossible! I locked that door myself a few moments ago." Upon explana­tion of their need, and the strange happen­ing of the unlocked door, the manager ad­vanced them sufficient to meet their com­mitment, and the situation was saved. The brethren then, and those who know it now, believe that an angel intervened to un­latch the door.

By rugged faith and persistent effort over many years, the health food work made steady growth. For a long time it barely paid its way, but in 1906 it made its first contribution of $125 toward the support of other branches of the work. Since that time there has been a flow of funds that has deepened into a mighty stream. Last year more than $10 million worth of health foods were sold, and the contribution to educational and mission work amounted to 31.5 per cent of the entire division budget.

The development of the training school was likewise due to the direct counsel of the servant of the Lord. Under her urging, and with the assurance that a model school would be established that would supply workers to many parts of the world field, the brethren searched for suitable land. A large tract was required to fulfill the conditions outlined by God's servant. But large tracts of suitable land cost much more than the brethren could hope to raise. The outlook was discouraging. Finally, a vision from God was given marking a certain spot. The spot was found, but the land was con­sidered almost worthless for the produc­tion of crops. Experts were called in, and they confirmed the worst fears.

Here was a test of faith. Was human wis­dom and expert advice to prevail over di­vine prediction? To demonstrate her con­fidence in the vision and to strengthen faith, Sister White acquired a tract of land immediately adjoining that which she had been shown in vision. Here she planted fruit trees and started to erect a home. Such an example could not be resisted. The land was purchased, donations were called for, and the project was started. Avondale still stands. Its land produces that which was predicted of it. The school has trained workers who have served, and are now serving, in most of the world divisions of the church. It is still being further devel­oped, and we trust will more fully meet the divine predictions concerning it.

The publishing work, the medical work, the union conference organization, and the numerous churches in our large cities all bear testimony to the counsel of the serv­ant of the Lord during her residence in Australia.

This precious gift is woven into our his­tory. The future is before us. The lessons of the past are for our guidance. New believ­ers and the rising generation need to have their attention called to the manifestation of divine guidance that is our heritage. To assist in this objective, the home built by Sister White at Avondale has been pur­chased and restored to its original condi­tion. It is now a museum, exhibiting that which serves to make more real the fact that there has been a prophet among us.


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President Australasian Division

May 1961

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