Build Your Basics with Block Scheduling

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Do you ever feel like, as soon as you really start to delve into a subject with your children, it is too often time to put it away and move onto the next class? Do you find yourself wishing for larger amounts of time to spend really studying your current topic? Does your day seem crammed full of too many fragmented classes that never really seem to be properly attended to? If your answer is “yes” to any of the above, then a solution for your home school may be to consider block scheduling.

With block scheduling, it is exactly what the name states — blocks of time in which you schedule your homeschool classes. Your first step is to choose the period of time that you want to divide your homeschool into. You can have a block of time — called a term — that might be as long as half your school year, commonly called a semester. On the other hand, you might choose a term that is as short as a couple of weeks.

With traditional scheduling, you have your list of classes you are going to teach, and you teach all the classes each week. Perhaps you are teaching both science and world history: You might teach science class two days a week, and world history two days a week. If this type of a schedule works for you, great! But if you feel your child is forgetting what they learned earlier in the week because there has been a day in between of teaching a different subject, then you might want to consider block scheduling.

For example, with the two classes already mentioned above, you might decide to teach science class for four days a week the first semester, and no world history at all; then, when second semester comes around you do the opposite, teach world history four days a week — but you have already finished your science curriculum for the year.

If you have many topics of study you want to teach, block scheduling may help. For instance, I would like to teach my daughter cooking, baking, and sewing. I could try to fit in a day of each, every single week, but I would most likely burn out with trying to keep them all going. So, these subjects are a great possibility for block scheduling.

In our home school this year, I have our school year divided into six terms of eight weeks each. During our first semester, we did term one with cooking being one of our subjects. When term two came around, we stopped specific instruction in cooking — although of course my daughter continued making foods she had learned how to make — and changed our focus to baking. With term three, our concentration changed to sewing. Our plan now for the second semester coming up is to simply repeat a term of each one of these; so, we will have eight weeks of cooking, followed by eight weeks of baking, and finally eight more weeks of sewing.

Other possibilities for block scheduling could be to spend a term on writing and another term focusing on literature, or a term of spelling and another term of grammar. Using block scheduling this way can lesson the number of subjects you are concentrating on each week, and therefore each day.

“But, what about math?” I can almost hear someone ask! Well, I’m glad you asked that question! There are definitely some subjects that really are best done on a daily basis. Reading instruction when you are teaching your child how to read is one of those subjects. So can be handwriting practice, mathematics, and foreign language study.

Now, if you have a really, really good memory, you just might remember that back at the beginning of this school year, I wrote a blog post about loop scheduling. So, if I convinced you then on the merits of loop scheduling, but now I am singing the praises of block scheduling, which one do I use? The answer to that is BOTH! As I already mentioned above, I am using block scheduling for our cooking, baking, and sewing classes. I also use block scheduling for our physics, social studies, robotics, and art. However, I find I like loop scheduling best for our Bible, since I have a variety of materials I am using in our Bible time, and I want to make sure I can get some study or reading done using all of the materials. I am also using loop scheduling for our language arts materials for the same reasons; we are doing language arts every day, but the specifics of what we are doing changes as we work our way down our loop.

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And, what about our “must do daily” types of things? For our family, that is mainly our math and our music. So, those are the two subjects that I do not put either in a loop schedule or in a block schedule. We simply do them every single day.

I hope this has helped give you some ideas of how you can use different schedules to meet the needs of your family, and help de-stress your home school daily life! Remember — your schedule is to work for YOU, not you for your schedule!

Raising Butterflies — Easy and Fun!

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Butterflies — beautiful creatures dancing on the wind! Fragile yet strong, mind-boggling in the thought of the migratory paths of some varieties. What homeschooling parent hasn’t drooled just a bit over those raising butterfly kits — wanting their child to have that “hands-on” experience, yet cringing at the high price of the kits! Or, you decide to splurge and purchase a butterfly raising kit, and once it is all finished your children want to do it again, but your budget doesn’t allow. The good news is that raising butterflies, either from a purchased kit or without, is a fun and easy home school activity to do.

Our family has enjoyed both ways of raising butterflies, starting the first time with a purchased kit, but soon realizing our desire for raising exceeded our dollars available for purchasing kits. So, in this blog post I am going to concentrate on how you can raise butterflies without purchasing a kit — but please remember that the butterfly raising kits are available and can make an awesome birthday or Christmas present!

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The first thing you need to do is educate yourself on butterfly raising. The above book is one that our family has found useful. It talks a little bit about what type of containers to use, and even shows how you can make your own container.

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There are also books that have butterfly activities in them — sort of like a unit study. We have used the above book on Monarchs, but it does not talk about raising Monarchs; it’s more of activities about Monarchs.

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We have used this Stokes guide quite a bit. A butterfly guide will help you learn what types of butterflies live in your area. This is important to learn first, as it will then help you discover what type of butterflies you can expect to find, as well as learning what foods those types of butterfly caterpillars eat.

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This little pocket size guide is perfect to take with you and your children outside. Go to wherever there are flowers planted, whether it is your own yard or a park. Sit quietly for a while, and observe what butterflies come to visit the flowers. Take pictures of them, and use your identification guide to discover the type of butterfly that you saw.

Once you have learned who lives in your area, do a little research either, in your field guides or online, to learn what that variety of butterfly caterpillar eats. Scan the list you find, and look for plants that you could easily add to your yard. You have a two-fold goal: 1) attract the adult butterfly with the variety of flowers they like to feed on, and 2) have host plants available near by. Host plants are the types of plants that your butterfly variety lays their eggs on. For example, we learned that Swallowtail butterflies are common in our area. We can attract the adult Swallowtails easily to our yard by planting flowers such as zinnias, cone flowers, etc. But, if we want to be able to raise Swallowtail caterpillars, we also need to plant something such as parsley or rue — two varieties of host plants that the Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on. Obviously, you want to make sure to not spray your host plants with any type of poison, or it could kill any caterpillars that have hatched out on that plant. Make your little garden corner attractive to butterflies. Think of it as a bed and breakfast for butterflies! Give them food, shelter, and host plants, and they will come!

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Once you have your flowers and host plants planted, start watching for butterflies around that area. You do not need a large garden to do this; a couple of potted plants will work nicely. Keep in mind, though, that the larger area of color with your nectar producing flowers, the easier the butterflies flying past will be able to see the banquet you have prepared for them! Examine your host plants frequently. Make sure you are familiar with what the different stages of the caterpillars you are looking for look like! In the above picture, this is a Swallowtail caterpillar that is almost ready to go into its chrysalis. It looks very different at this stage than it did when it was tiny. When you find caterpillars, carefully collect them and place them into your raising container. Remember to not touch the caterpillar itself, but rather gently break off the part of the plant it is eating on and place it in your container. Once you have a visitor, keeping its container clean daily is important. We simply line the bottom of the container with a piece of paper towel, and change it out daily for a clean one. It is also important to provide fresh food for your caterpillar daily. Have enough of your host plant growing in your yard that you can break off a few fresh pieces each morning to bring in to it. No need to provide water — it will gather all the water it needs from eating the fresh host plant leaves.

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Depending upon the variety of caterpillar, it will spend a couple of weeks munching and eating. At this point it will enter its chrysalis, and will no longer need to be fed. You will need some sticks inside its container for it to climb up on and hang from. Since you never really know when a caterpillar will be ready to change to its next stage, I keep sticks in my containers at all times. Even with this, they will sometimes still attach themselves to the sides or ceiling of your container and ignore your fine sticks. If this happens, do not worry about it. Just leave it alone and do not disturb it. Make sure the containers you are keeping your caterpillars in are large enough that when they hatch they will have enough room to stretch out their wings fully. If they are in a too-small container, it will damage their wings permanently.

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When your butterflies have hatched out, it is time to release them back into your garden. Gently carry your raising container outside. You can see in this photo one of our containers — a plastic terrarium that was inexpensively purchased at Walmart. It is hard to see from the angle of the photo, but this container is actually quite deep.

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Here is a second type of container that we also use. It is a net and has a spring going around the sides. When we are not using it, it folds completely flat. We purchased this from the Insect Lore company.

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With the large spring-type of containers, the butterflies often need help finding their way out of the container. You can gently place your finger in front of them and see if they will climb up on it. If they do, you can give them a ride out of the container. Never force the butterfly onto your finger, and never touch their wings — no matter how gentle you try to be, you will end up damaging their fragile bodies.

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Once you have a butterfly taking a ride on your finger, place him or her next to a flower and wait just a bit. They will happily step off of your finger and onto the flower.

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If your butterfly has just recently hatched out, they will stay on the flower for a while, sunning their wings and getting ready to fly. This gives you a great opportunity to get close up pictures that normally you would not be able to get!

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I hope you have enjoyed learning more about God’s beautiful butterflies! The fall time is a great time to begin researching and planning out your spring planting list — and don’t forget to plant something for the butterflies!

 

Save Your Sanity with Loop Scheduling

Do you find yourself frustrated because you have subjects or materials that you want to cover in your home school but they never seem to happen? Are the special hands-on activities you plan to do with your children always the things that get pushed off when the phone rings or someone gets sick or any other interruption happens to your well laid school schedule? If you find yourself stressed because subjects are being skipped or missing entirely, then you might want to consider if Loop Scheduling might be a good fit for you.

Loop Scheduling is not a way to cram more into your day — but it can be a way to not be stressed about having to skip something you really wanted to do. With Loop Scheduling, you do not find yourself “behind” in a subject. And if (when!) your school day IS interrupted, you automatically know what to do next when you get back to your school work.

For example, for a long time I wanted to include a study on hymns in our home school. On paper, I put this down as one of our Bible activities. In reality, the Bible reading and illustration we were also doing during school time always expanded to take up ALL of the available time we had for Bible things, and we were rarely if ever getting to our hymn study. As our daughter is growing and changing into a young woman, I also wanted to be spending time with her talking about her emotional changes as well as physical changes. Yet, even when we started school “on time” and worked as fast as we could — you guessed it — time for one-on-one talking about the changes she is going through just never happened … never, that is, until I learned about Loop Scheduling!

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The above picture shows all the things I would currently like to include in our Bible time of our home school. We have our Bible reading, a book on character, our hymn study book, a book on emotional changes girls go through, and, finally, a book on physical changes for girls — yes, way too many things to get to on a daily basis. So, I decided I would like to test out Loop Scheduling with this pile of books. To keep things simple, for this first loop schedule I decided to just rotate through all of them. I asked my husband to make me up a simple form on the computer I could use for planning.

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I went down the form and filled in assignments for each one of the books. Then when school began, during Bible time I started down the list. Perhaps in Bible time the first day we got through the first two items on my Loop Scheduling list. I would highlight that item so I knew we had done it, and when our Bible time had run out we simply moved on to our next subject. The next day I picked up with whatever item is next on my list. Maybe I would make it through five things in a day, or maybe we would only do one. Whatever it was, I highlighted what we did. If on the third day my daughter woke up sick, perhaps we didn’t do school at all that day. But, when day four rolled around I could tell at a glance what was the next thing for us to do.

There are days we do many items, and days we do just a few, but I always know we are making progress on ALL the things that I want to include in our school for that subject area. And if — as you can see in the above picture — you see on your list that you are starting to skip the same thing, you can do a quick assessment and ask yourself WHY is it getting skipped. Did you run out of a journal you were using and need to get to the store to purchase a new one? Then put it on your shopping list!  Do you need to print out a form off the internet? Or is this an item that perhaps needs to be reevaluated as to it being included in your home school? Keeping a master Loop Schedule can give you a good bird’s eye view of how that subject is progressing.

Sometimes you may want to Loop Schedule something and give a higher priority to some materials over others.  With Loop Scheduling, you can do this easily!

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The above picture shows what we are using this school year for our language arts.  Our main materials are the Institute for Excellence Writing program, which is using the four books from Holling C. Holling. Yet, I also want to include some oral reading (we are using the Peace Above the Storm book for this) and some handwriting. I also have a computer typing program I bought for this school year.

So, again I asked my husband to make me a form for Loop Scheduling my language arts materials. Since I wanted to be doing the IEW assigments more frequently than the other items, I decided to have them listed on the Loop much more often than the other materials.

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As you can see from the above form, almost every day we are doing the next lesson from IEW.  Some days, we do an IEW lesson, then typing; then, if we still have more language arts time left, we will do a second IEW lesson. Other days, what we are doing in IEW takes quite a bit more time, so one IEW lesson may be all that gets done that day. Days like that are just fine, because I know that by following my Loop we will not be forgetting to get to oral reading, typing, or handwriting. And, if we are gone for a few days, I know right where to pick up when we get back, and what subject should get our attention next.

I hope learning about Loop Scheduling has been helpful for you! Are there subjects that do not work well for Loop Scheduling? Yes! Anything that you absolutely want done every day should NOT be put on a Loop Schedule! For us, we have two other times during the day when we are doing Bible Study together, so it is okay with me if our home school Bible things are looped, and we are some days not getting to the Bible reading and illustrating. If we didn’t have these other two times, then I wouldn’t loop Bible. Math is something I want done daily, so I do not loop math.

Think about your day and ask yourself if a Loop Schedule can help simplify your home school like it has mine!

Virtual Field Trip — Elmshaven, St. Helena, California

Hi Boys and Girls!

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!

~Mrs. Menzmer

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!!

Elmshaven

Elmshaven

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

Organ / Living Room

Fireplace / 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!

Dining room

Dining room

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

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.

Wow!!

Ellen White's room

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

The White family plot

Ellen on the left, James on the right

Ellen on the left, James on the right

The nearby historical marker

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!!

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Goodbye! Have a great summer! See you next school year!

~Austin

Me and my sister Alison, at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana. Coming soon to a YouTube channel near you! ;)

Me and my sister Alison, at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana. Coming soon to a YouTube channel near you! 😉

Virtual Field Trip — John Loughborough’s Grave

 

St. Helena, California

St. Helena, California

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 Loughborough

John Loughborough

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!!

John Andrews

John Andrews

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

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!

D.T. Bourdeau

D.T. Bourdeau

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

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.