Ellen Visits the Churches in California

November 1881 - January 1882

Through the remaining months of 1881 and into the early part of 1882 Ellen White, residing first in Oakland and then in Healdsburg, spent much of her time visiting the churches. At first she went to those nearby, in Oakland and San Francisco. Then she added Petaluma, Healdsburg, St. Helena, Napa, Williams, Arbuckle, and Santa Rosa. She was not ready to apply herself to a heavy program of writing. On occasion she was invited to speak in other than Seventh-day Adventist churches. Then, using the subject matter of her addresses here and there, she prepared a series of weekly articles for the Signs that ran under the general heading "Among the Churches." Much of the travel was by carriage, Ellen doing the driving. One report concerning the 35 mile (56kilometer) trip from Healdsburg to St. Helena is highly descriptive:

Brother and Sister Harmon [in whose comfortable home she had spent a few days] thought it unsafe for Sister Rogers and myself to make the journey alone at this season of the year. Hence they accompanied us, their team leading the way, while ours followed. When we left Healdsburg, the fog was so dense that we could see but a short distance before us, but in a few hours the mists dispersed, and we enjoyed beautiful sunshine.

The road through Knight's Canyon, always perilous to the inexperienced traveler, is often impassable in the rainy season. We were very thankful for a pilot in this part of our journey. I dared not look either to the right or left to view the scenery, but, holding the lines firmly, and guiding my horse in the narrow passage, I followed our leader. Carelessness here would have been fatal. Had our horse turned out of the right path, we should have plunged down a steep precipice, into the ravine below.

As we rode along in almost breathless silence, I could but think how forcibly this dangerous ride illustrates the Christian's experience. We are making life's journey amid the perils of the last days. We need to watch carefully every step, and to be sure that we are following our great Leader (ibid., Jan. 26, 1882).

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