The Youth Department of DeBary- Orange City Church in Fla. portrayed pioneers of the past in an afternoon vesper program in remembrance of October 22, 1844. This day was a date…no, The Date, of a crucial event 177 years ago that has come to define Seventh-day Adventism as not just another church, not just another denomination, but a people specifically fulfilling prophetic destiny.
Joseph Bates, Uriah Smith, Hiram Edson, and Rachel Oakes brought history to life that impacts every single Seventh-day Adventist alive today as these pioneers shared their stories with those who had come to hear the answer to the question: How did we get here?
Tuesday, October 22, 1844, was a day filled with unparalleled anticipation for thousands of Christians fully expecting Jesus Christ’s return to earth to take them to heaven. As the dark hours slowly passed, closing in on and then passing midnight, hopes became crushed and solemn clusters of disappointed believers dispersed to their earthly homes, thoroughly defeated. Jesus had not returned. What had been a Great Expectation turned into a very Great Disappointment.
And yet, it became the foundation upon which the looked-for Lord of Heaven was able to lead a humble people to knowledge beyond their wildest dreams. Knowledge that, shared with the world, glorified Bible prophecy in the lives of a new faith that has been carried down 177 years to 2022.
An additional distinct treat for attendees was a short black-and-white turn-of-the-century film clip (provided and presented by one of Ellen White’s current living descendants) showing Willie White and other family members playing together on the grounds of White’s home in Elmshaven, Calif. It truly outshone any B&W still photos ever seen!
“Thank you for such an amazing program,” said a participant. “It helped me understand a little more about our church history, and it also helped me see the White family in a different light. What a blessing! Loved it!”
“We have nothing to fear for the future,” said Ellen G. White, “except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history.” Life Sketches, p. 196.
Florida | March 2022
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