Ellen White couldn’t sleep. She shivered as she looked out the window. The raindrops slid down the pane, and she sighed with disappointment. What Mrs. White wanted was not there. She went back to bed praying for snow. It must snow if she was to obey God.
James and Ellen White were in Illinois preaching to people about the Advent message. While there, Ellen had a vision. She saw friends she used to work with in New England. Her friends had moved to Iowa and they had grown discouraged with their work. They were tired and wanted to make more money. They had forgotten about working for God. Two were especially important. Both were ministers, but they thought God would understand if they did other work instead. John Nevins Andrews worked as a clerk in a general store. John Loughborough was a carpenter. But God needed them. He asked Mrs. White to go give them the message.
The Whites and two friends decided to go, but there was one problem. It was December and they would need to travel by sleigh. A sleigh needs snow. But it was raining and only a miracle would allow them to follow God’s instructions to go to Waukon, Iowa.
Then just as the morning came the snow began to fall. By evening enough had fallen to hitch up the sleigh and head for Iowa.
To cross into Iowa would mean crossing the Mississippi River. Since there was no bridge, the weather would need to stay cold to keep the ice hard enough to hold up the horse and sleigh. It had been very cold, but early that morning it began to rain. The rain falling on the ice would make it soft and weak. As they got closer they asked others about the safety of the ice.
“It’s too dangerous!” said one man. “One sleigh already broke through the ice. A man was nearly drowned!” “I wouldn’t try it for all the money in the world,” said another.
When they reached the riverbank, the ice was covered by 12 inches of water and melting snow. Their friend asked, “Is it on to Iowa, or back to Illinois? We have come to the Red Sea. Shall we cross?”
Mrs. White didn’t hesitate in her answer. “Go forward, trusting in Israel’s God!”
Cautiously they drove onto the ice. Everyone was praying. And the ice held!
As they reached the bank, a cheer went up from the crowd watching on the shore. They spent a few moments praising God and giving thanks to Him for keeping them safe.
They arrived in Waukon on Christmas Eve. Their friends were not happy to see them. They didn’t want to hear God’s message. The Whites had meetings that night and on Christmas Day. Each day the people remembered more and more why they loved sharing His message—especially the two ministers. Both decided to go back to preaching.
Loughborough became an honored preacher and evangelist, teaching and baptizing many people. Andrews later became the Adventist Church’s first missionary and wrote many pamphlets and books. James White wrote after their trip to Waukon: “These meetings were the most powerful we had witnessed in years, and in many respects the most wonderful we ever witnessed.
. . . We were . . . many times paid for facing the prairie winds and storms on our long and tedious journey to northern Iowa.”
To learn more about Adventist Heritage, visit www.whiteestate.org/VEZ