Are you teaching SDA church history to your children? Today I’d like to share another resource to aid in that endeavor:
These are dramatized stories of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, produced by the creative team of Your Story Hour, and are of the same high quality. You’ll follow the pathways of the faithful men and women who devoted their lives to spreading the gospel and establishing the Adventist church.
Beginning with the life of William Miller and concluding with the death of Ellen White, these stories will delight your children by bringing to life all the wonderful and difficult years of the early church history. The series contains more than 100 stories, and will bring about 23 1/2 hours of enjoyment.
Or, perhaps your homeschool group, Pathfinder club, or Sabbath school class would like to use skits for special church programs, Pathfinder programs, or maybe even for camporee. The scripts include optional prompts for music or sound effects. This package comes in a CD-ROM format, and includes written scripts in Microsoft Word, Acrobat PDF, and Plain Text. You can purchase it through the Adventist Book Center, for $19.95.
Now, I know that Your Story Hour is a popular resource for Seventh-day Adventists, and has been for several decades. Nonetheless, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t an overlooked resource for your home school.
I grew up listening to Your Story Hour on one of these!
Have your children ever seen an old record player? My boys were fascinated with mine when we came across it earlier this year! Currently my set of records is at my brother’s, in Texas, so I couldn’t share a photo of them. He converted them to mp3 files, which are loaded onto a couple mp3 players.
We use those mp3 players to listen to audiobooks and Your Story Hour in the car when we travel. When it takes us 12 or more hours to get from our house to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, there is nothing better to pass the time than listening to the Your Story Hour Bible stories.
In case you don’t know what Your Story Hour stories are like, they are old-time radio dramatizations of Bible stories, history stories, and character building stories. Each episode is about a half hour. You can read how the program got started on the website.
There are Christian radio stations that still play the Your Story Hour stories! Check out the list of radio stations to see if there is one near you. The air times are also listed.
They can be purchased on CD, as well as mp3 downloads. Prices vary.
Check our the website: Your Story Hour. They also have activity books available for some of the volumes.
We have a very special place that we are going to take you to in today’s field trip. I would have to say that this is my very favorite field trip destination out of all the places we have taken you to thus far! I will let you in on a secret as to why it is my favorite–I used to volunteer here! For around ten years I was privileged to live just a few miles away from this special place, and when we first moved there I would take every single friend or relative who came out to visit us to tour this home–until one day, my husband up and volunteered me to work there giving tours! That’s right–he didn’t volunteer himself, he volunteered ME! I didn’t mind though, because I really loved this home and had just never even thought about them being able to use ME as a tour guide. But they were delighted to have me nominated, and I ended up very much enjoying my time I spent there. In fact, if we hadn’t moved across the country from this location, I would still be giving real live tours there today! Anyway, I better let Austin tell you about it before I give away all the details. I hope you enjoy your Virtual Field Trip to Elmshaven!
Today in my last post I’m going to share with you the very first Adventist history site that I visited! And that is Elmshaven, home of Ellen White from 1900-1915. It’s just a few miles away and up the mountain from John Loughborough’s grave that I took you to last time! And Elmshaven was the home that Ellen White died in; in fact, next month it will be 100 years since she died!!
But I’m getting ahead of myself! In the beginning…
Ellen White’s husband James sadly died in 1881 at the very young age of 60. But Ellen White was still alive, and God still had many plans for her. In 1891 Ellen and her son Willie moved all the way to Australia to help open a Bible training school and in general further God’s work. Willie’s wife and children moved to Australia, too! They were all quite happy there; they were comfortable in a nice house and were being extremely effective in helping to spread God’s Word. Ellen White was 73 years old and liked very much the idea of living the rest of her life in Australia!
However, in 1900 she was impressed by God that He needed her back in America. Reluctantly, Ellen and Willie and family packed up and sold their homes. In those days you didn’t have to worry about selling your furniture; the furniture came with the house! And so they all sailed across the great Pacific Ocean once more. But still, Ellen was very worried about finding the right home in California. Beyond needing a home that came with furniture, she needed to be close enough to the publishing press in Oakland. This was because she was writing lots of books! But also she needed a place of seclusion and so many other things, too.
But just like He always had, God was watching out for Ellen White. He does the same for you and me, too! God assured Ellen White that He had prepared a refuge for her, where she would have peace and quiet to follow His directive of writing books.
About a week or so after landing in San Francisco, Ellen White found herself spending Sabbath with some Adventists in St. Helena. St. Helena is a small town about 65 miles north of San Francisco. While at St. Helena she found that Robert Pratt, a vice-president for the Southern Pacific Railroad, was selling his home. It was beautiful, spacious, and came with plenty of furniture. There were pots and pans in the kitchen and linens in the closet! Plus a barn and 60 acres of land with many fruit trees. It was just what Ellen White needed. Best of all, it was at a low enough price that she could afford it! And it was this home, after her musing about how her new “haven” had so many elm trees, that Mrs. White named her new home “Elmshaven”.
It was lots of fun to visit Elmshaven. The bright blue California sky radiated above and beautiful countryside abounded. This was a very special trip for me, as I myself grew up near St. Helena when I was a boy! The tour guide took us on a tour of the house, and told us many of the things I have told you. Now I shall share some pictures I took there!
Organ / Living Room
Fireplace / Living Room
This is the fireplace in the living room of Elmshaven. On the top there you can see the nine different books that Ellen White wrote while living at Elmshaven; they include Ministry of Healing, Prophets and Kings, and several volumes of the Testimonies series. This is also the room where Mrs. White would have daily worship. She would lead out in a hymn (see organ picture) and reading a scripture, finishing with asking someone to have prayer. It was a time that the children always enjoyed!
This is the dining room. This is where everyone would gather for breakfast at 7am and lunch at 1pm. If anyone wanted a supper snack, they were free to go ahead and make it themselves! Many times there would be visitors here. The conversation was always happy, cheerful, and oftentimes funny! Mrs. White believed in living a joyous Christian life, and made sure others knew that, too. I think that is something we, too, should work on — we as Seventh-Day Adventist Christians have so many things to be happy and thankful about, we need to let our faces know it!!
Ellen White’s writing room
This was my favorite part of Elmshaven — Ellen White’s writing room. This was where she would many mornings wake up early and write for hours about the visions and topics God had given her in the night. It was a very comfortable chair, and she would pull it close to the nearby fireplace to keep warm. This room did not exist when she bought Elmshaven; it was built especially with all the windows to give good lighting. Back then, the trees were not as tall, so on a clear day she could see for quite a ways!
There was a secret, back staircase that ran from the dining room/kitchen area of the house up to Mrs. White’s writing room. All of her grandchildren knew about it, and more than once they would creep up it to spy on Grandma writing! But when she saw them, she did not tell them to go away. She asked them to come close, and told them about some interesting thing — like a new colt had been born, or where to pick the best apples. She was always happy to talk to children. After telling them about these interesting things on the farm, they would scamper away, off to check out what Grandma had told them about!
This next picture is of Ellen White’s room. It was so special to be here — to be in the room where angels visited and sang, where heaven communed with earth.
Ellen White’s room
The next two pictures are of the room of one of Mrs. White’s attendants, and of the main staircase in the home.
And yes, it was in this home that Ellen White died. On February 13, 1915, she fell as she walked from her bed room to writing room. Just over five months later, on July 16, she peacefully passed away. Her last words, to son Willie, were “I know in whom I have believed”. May we all be able to say that, and meet her in real life at the great and wonderful resurrection Jesus will perform at His second coming!!
Ellen White was buried right next to her husband at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Battle Creek, Michigan. And you guessed it, I’ve been there too! Here are some pictures:
The White family plot
Ellen on the left, James on the right
The nearby historical marker
And if you are interested in it, here are my videos of both Elmshaven and the Oak Hill Cemetery:
I know that it has just been a truly indescribable faith-building experience for me to visit in person these Seventh-Day Adventist sites. I’ve grown up on these stories, but to see where they happened makes them become even more real to me. And I hope that even by these blog posts and videos you have caught even a taste of that joy, reality, and really, awesomeness of what God did through our Adventist pioneers.
But the thing is, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He did mighty things through our pioneers, so I know that He wants to do mighty things through us, too! The question is, will we let Him?
That is a question that each of us must answer for ourselves.
Well sad as it is, this is the last of my Adventist history articles!! I hope that you have enjoyed them. I have certainly enjoyed writing them! And the administrator of this blog has already asked me to write another series of articles next school year, on American history!! So even though we will have a two-month break, I am already looking forward and thinking about all the fun historical places I will be “taking” you on virtual field trips next school year!! Will you join me?? I hope so!!
And in the mean time, if you like going on fun field trips to historical places, please consider checking out and subscribing to my YouTube channel. On there I post weekly videos of me going on field trips to different historical sites all across America! I know that you’d enjoy it!!
Goodbye! Have a great summer! See you next school year!
Me and my sister Alison, at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana. Coming soon to a YouTube channel near you! 😉
One of our favorite subjects in the Ross family home school, is history. One aspect of history which I’ve always included, is Seventh-day Adventist church history.
In the past, I’ve shared reviews of a couple books we’ve used, one about Ellen White when she was a girl, and one about Lucy Miller (William Miller’s daughter). This time, I’d like to talk about the video series, Keepers of the Flame.
Keepers of the Flame is an 8-part video series. Through the series, we learn the great stories of faith and controversy that led to the emergence of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Dr. Allen Lindsay takes us to locations in Europe, North America, and Australia. Through each of the eight episodes, dramatic vignettes capture the greatest moments of Martin Luther, the Waldenses, Calvin, Zwingli, and John Knox.
Also covered is the life of Ellen White, her ministry as God’s messenger, her vision about health, and how her prophetic gift influenced the early church.
The Keepers of the Flame series can be viewed Wednesday mornings on 3ABN. My children have viewed it so many times now, they probably feel like they have them memorized!
If you don’t have access to 3ABN, you can watch them on YouTube.
Welcome boys and girls to St. Helena, California! Austin here again. We are now on the far western part of the United States of America. Did you have an enjoyable trip as you traveled here from our last Adventist historical site in Battle Creek, Michigan? Or did you find yourself a little bored while traveling those 2,273 miles?? 🙂
Haha, joking aside, welcome to our next Adventist historical site, the grave of John Loughborough. St. Helena is actually the area where I grew up as a boy, so this article holds a special place in my heart – because I lived here!! I love the tunnel of trees (see picture) in this town. John Loughborough was the first Seventh-Day Adventist preacher to work in California. But Loughborough had many an adventure before he died, so let me give you a bit of background before I share my experience of visiting his grave!
John Norton Loughborough was born in 1832 in the far eastern United States, in the State of New York. That is where William Miller also lived! He started preaching when he was just 16 years old. As he related years later, his biggest fear was when knocking on the door of that first family they would ask, “How long has you been a preacher?” Thankfully, that question wasn’t asked, and the family warmly received Loughborough – even though he did look a bit odd wearing some clothes that didn’t all exactly match!!
God richly blessed John Loughborough and this young man’s faith in Him. John hadn’t heard of the Sabbath and the Seventh-day Adventists; he was a First-day, or Sunday keeping Adventist. One day in 1852, a Seventh-day Adventist preacher came to town to hold meetings. John Loughborough decided to attend these meetings in order to convince this Seventh-day Adventist preacher that he was wrong on which day to worship God! Loughborough prepared a list of “proof texts” that he supposed with which he could prove that Sabbath was the wrong day to worship on. But just like God often likes to do, John Andrews preached on that very topic that night Loughborough was there…Andrews used the very same texts that Loughborough had come up with, and even in the same order!! John Loughborough was impressed with all that John Andrews had said. Convicted by God, John accepted the seventh-day Sabbath and immediately began preaching for his new church!!
God blessed Loughborough with much success, and many people were brought to Jesus. He married, and started a family. But back then, the idea of tithing (giving 10% of your money to the church so the preachers can preach, rather than work at another job to sustain their families) did not exist. The preachers and their families lived day to day on the donations of kind church members…but often times, these donations did not come in. How are you going to live on no money?? It doesn’t happen. And so in 1856, John and Mary Loughborough decided to stop preaching and instead move out to Waukon, Iowa, where John could pick up some carpentry work. John Andrews and his family, plus another Adventist pioneer family, had also moved out there. But Ellen White received a vision from God that Loughborough, Andrews, and the others should really be preaching – God would provide for their needs.
James and Ellen White
Problem was, it was in the middle of winter. There were no interstates, airplanes, or heated cars back then!! James and Ellen White were currently in Round Grove, Illinois – 300 miles and a mammoth Mississippi River away from Iowa!! But, through lots of prayer and preparation the Whites and others got ready to go. They piled the blankets on in the sleigh, and wrapped layers upon layers on each other. It was the coldest any of them had ever experienced – but they kept on. The big problem was when they came to the Mississippi River. It was cold enough to freeze over and create ice on the river, but totally not cold enough to freeze hard enough for the sleigh to cross over on.
But Ellen White knew that God wanted them to warn their erring church members in Waukon. She told them to press on. Many people gathered on either side to watch the attempt…and marvelously, God helped the ice to hold up! It was a miracle, one bystander remarked that many drivers and teams of horses had tried crossing in similar weather, and barely escaped with their lives! God was surely watching over our Adventist pioneers.
Ellen and James reached Waukon, and through the workings of God’s Holy Spirit the Adventist preacher families there were very receptive. They realized that they were hiding from God and what He wanted them to do, and were encouraged when they learned of the new developments along the lines of tithing which helped to sustain the families of preachers while they spread God’s word. John Loughborough decided to continue spreading the gospel, and in 1868 along with D. T. Bourdeau became the first Seventh-Day Adventist pastor to work in California!
God worked in mighty ways in California, encouraging the people there to be receptive to the ministers’ message. And when some people would become nasty and chase Loughborough and Bourdeau out of one town, there would always be other people who were thrilled for the ministers to come to their town!! Through the efforts of these two men many souls were brought to God. The first Seventh-day Adventist missionaries to China and South Africa were some of the California converts. Bourdeau left after just one year, but Loughborough stayed on for ten years! It was an incredible experience to see God work in such powerful ways – even perform some miraculous healings to help encourage people to put their faith in God!!
In 1878 John Loughborough left California to instead work for God in England. Five years later he returned to America, finally dying in Northern California in 1924 – living longer than any of the other Adventist pioneers!! During his life God had used him in some incredible ways, been president of many conferences, and became the unofficial church historian, writing a history book of the SDA church in 1905.
John Loughborough’s grave (front left grave)
St. Helena is a quaint little Northern California town, and after a little hunting my family and I found his grave. It was cool to see his grave in real life – but even cooler to be inspired and reflect on the real life that this man lived. As I’ve told you before, God leads you on the most I-could-have-never-dreamed-up-this type of adventures when you give your life and follow him!! And John Loughborough was simply working for God where God called him to work. Loughborough was willing to be used by God.
And I think that’s really the key – giving our lives to God, and doing what He wants us to do. We may not think that where God has called us to serve – our families, friends, communities – are that exciting, but only God knows the results! Only God knows the impact of your influence on those around you, and because of your Godly influence on them what they will do for God.
So take heart from the story of John Loughborough…’cause God wants to do awesome things through you!
Note: There were so many exciting stories of God’s leading in California that because of space issues I had to sadly leave out!! They are very very exciting and I’m sure you would enjoy them. Fortunately, these stories have been recorded in a book called Pioneering the Message in the Golden West by Harold McCumber, and it is available for free online! Check it out at the link here: http://temcat.com/L-1-adv-pioneer-lib/Stories/Pioneer-in-West.pdf
I already think that stories centering on the likes of the Pony Express, adventure, and gold are exciting, but I think it is ever more exciting reading about stories in this setting that are about collecting true gold – people – into God’s kingdom! And that’s what Pioneering the Message in the Golden West is all about!! 🙂
Historical photographs (except for the one of Bourdeau, which is in the public domain) are used courtesy of the Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.