In a little cottage on Fort Hill near the town of Gorham, Maine in America a little girl named Ellen was born. Ellen had a twin sister named Elizabeth and six other brothers and sisters. There was Caroline, Harriet, John, Mary, Sarah, Robert and lastly Ellen and Elizabeth.
The Harmon family were a close and loving family. Ellen and Elizabeth loved to play with their older brothers and sisters in the fields and meadows near their home. One of their favorite spots was the old Indian Fort. The fort had been built many years before by early settlers and wasn’t used anymore. The Harmon children loved to play Indians in the fort.
Ellen’s papa worked on the farm during the warm months of the year and when it got cold he sold hats. Each of the children had special chores they did at home and on the farm. Ellen’s special task on the farm was taking care of Bossy. Bossy was their old milk cow and she was more of a pet than a farm animal.
Ellen’s job was to take Bossy down to the pasture every morning. Bossy would spend the day in the meadow eating grass and sitting in the shade. Every evening before sunset Ellen would walk back to the pasture to find bossy and fetch her back to the barn. Bossy and Ellen became good friends during their daily walks together.
One day when Ellen came down to the field to take Bossy home she found that Bossy was missing. She walked through the field and down to the little stream calling Bossy’s name. In the distance, she heard a soft “Moooo”. Ellen walked towards the sound until she found bossy. But to her dismay, Bossy was firmly stuck in the mud in the middle of the stream.
“Oh dear,” Ellen said to herself “How am I going to get Bossy out?”. Looking around her she saw some grass and had an idea. Picking up a handful of grass she held it out to bossy. Poor Bossy was probably hungry and she ate up the grass quite greedily. The next time Ellen held the grass just a little bit away from Bossy. Bossy reached forward to try and grab the tasty treat and that’s when Ellen started to pull on her horn. “Come on girl!” she cried, still holding the grass out of Bossy’s reach and pulling on her horn, “Come on”. Bossy leaned forward after the grass and Ellen pulled with all her might. With a loud SLURRRP Bossy’s feet came unstuck and Ellen fell back giggling. A little while later Ellen and Bossy happily made their way back home to the barn.
Throughout 1843 criticism from their opponents forced Adventist leaders to revise their chronology. As a result, Himes, Litch, Apollos Hale, Sylvester Bliss and others became more convinced of the necessity to really figure out when the year 1843 would come to an end according to the strictest reckoning of the Jewish calendar. As they dug into the matter they came to the conclusion that the Jewish year extended from April 1843 to April 1844 and specifically to sundown on the 18th of April 1844. But when April 1844 came and went and the year 1843 had expired, Jesus had still not come. Many were disillusioned and decided that Miller had understood the prophecies entirely wrong. The majority, however, though discouraged and disappointed still clung to their beliefs and focused on combing through the prophecies once more to try to figure out what had happened.
For his part, Miller manfully admitted that there had been an error in his calculations but encouraged believers by pointing to Habakkuk 2:3 which promised that though the vision would tarry it would surely come to pass. Some Millerite papers then began to make reference to the tarrying time spoken of in the parable of the ten virgins.
By the early summer of 1844, the kerfuffle had been smoothed over and the Millerite movement was back on its feet with all guns blazing. It was during this time that Millerite preachers realised that there was no zero year in the transition between B.C. and A.D. and came to the conclusion that the 2300 day prophecy would end on an unknown day during the year 1844.
Another day Ellen and Elizabeth were out in the woods gathering hickory nuts. Often they would find a stash of nuts hidden away by squirrels in the hollow of a tree. Ellen would feel very sorry for taking away the squirrels food so she would bring a little bag of corn with her. When she would find a stash of nuts, she would replace the nuts with the corn. “I hope they aren’t too disappointed,” she told Elizabeth after she had finished emptying her bag.
Every day in the Harmon home papa would lead the family in worship. He would read from the big family Bible and then say a prayer. Ellen learned about God and the Bible from a very young age. Her parents taught her to love Him and obey Him no matter what. Ellen was also taught to obey her mama and papa. “Ellen” her mama would often tell her “each one of us has a special job to do in this family. Mama and Papa’s job is to take good care of your children and to teach you what is right. Your job is to help Mama and Papa by being obedient.” Ellen never forgot Mama’s wise words. She always tried hard to do her part in her home and family.
One day papa told his family that they would be moving to the city of Portland not far from where they lived. Portland was a big city and when Ellen moved there it was a busy seaport. There were sailors and traders from all over the world in the city. Ellen’s papa decided that he would spend all his time making hats while they were in Portland.
Every member of the family had a special job to do to help papa make his hats. When all the hats had been made they were carefully packed away. Then papa boarded a stagecoach to Georgia to sell his hats there.
Ellen and Elizabeth started school in 1833 at the Brackett Street school. Here they learned to read and write with many other boys and girls. Ellen loved going to school and she wanted to get a good education. She worked hard and was soon reading the lessons aloud in class for the other children.
One day, soon after Papa had left to sell his hats, something terrible happened. Ellen and Elizabeth were hurrying home after school with a friend. Suddenly they heard a loud voice behind them. It was the voice of one of their friends from school. She was angry and was hurrying towards the three girls. Ellen and Elizabeth had been taught to not get into fights, so they began to run towards home.
The girl followed them and Ellen quickly glanced behind her to see where she was when she felt a terrible pain in her nose. The girl had been carrying a stone and had thrown it at Ellen just as she turned her head.
Ellen fainted and Elizabeth and their friend carried her to a nearby shop. Ellen’s nose was bleeding terribly. When Ellen woke up the shopkeeper offered to take her home in his buggy. “Oh no sir,” Ellen said weakly “I don’t want to get blood all over your nice buggy”. She then managed to stand and wobbled home with the help of the other two girls.
Ellen was very sick for many weeks. The doctors were afraid that she would die, but Mama nursed her night and day. Finally, she began to feel better. One day a neighbor who was visiting asked Mama about Ellen’s face. “It’s a terrible shame,” the neighbor said “I couldn’t even recognize her”
“Mama,” Ellen said after the neighbor had left “What did she mean when she talked about my face” “Oh no dear, it’s nothing at all” Mama said hurriedly. “No Mama, please, I want to see my face” Ellen insisted “Please mama, fetch me a mirror”. When Ellen saw herself in the mirror she burst into tears. “Oh Mama” she cried “what had happened to me?”
Ellen’s nose had been broken and her whole face looked different. She was very sad and upset at how different she looked. A few weeks later when papa came home from his trip he couldn’t recognize her either. After hugging all of her brothers and sisters Papa turned to her and smiled, “and what is your name little girl?” he asked “Oh papa!” she cried in despair “it’s me Ellen” “What?” Papa said in shock “Eunice” he said turning to Mama “Eunice who is this little girl?” “Robert,” Mama said quietly “that is our little Ellen” “But how can it be?” Papa cried “this child doesn’t look like my little Ellen at all” Ellen’s little heart was so sad that her own Papa couldn’t recognize her.
When she went out to play with her friends they laughed at her and teased her because of how different she looked. The accident made Ellen very weak and sick all the time. She wanted so much to go back to school and study. When she finally felt strong enough to go back to school, it was very hard for her to do her school work. Finally, she had to stop going to school altogether because it was making her feel too sick.
It was a very hard time for Ellen. But during this sad time, Jesus became her friend. She asked Him to help her and comfort her. He was always there to answer her prayers.
Ellen didn’t know it then but Jesus had a very special plan for her life. The accident had made life hard for her. Her friends teased her, she was weak and sick and she couldn’t go to school anymore. But when Jesus looked at Ellen He didn’t see any of those things. He saw a little girl who could do great things for him. Jesus loved Ellen and He was going to make her his special messenger.