When the camp meeting season opened, James gave out word through the Review (May 24, 1881) that "Mrs. White is not in a condition of health to go the rounds of camp meetings as in years past."
But in spite of her physical weakness and injured ankle she attempted to attend the Michigan camp meeting, which began June 1 at Spring Arbor. Arriving on the grounds she felt pressed for breath and too ill to go on, so stopped with an Adventist family near the campgound. Early Sabbath morning James went to the grounds alone. Of her experience that day she wrote Willie and Mary in Oakland:
I knelt with Brother Weed's family and felt that God indited prayer. I importuned the Lord for help, for light, for strength to bear my testimony to the people of God. Light came. I went upon the ground and spoke to a large congregation with great power and clearness. I endured the effort. Sunday I spoke in the afternoon upon temperance and was so much encouraged that I left appointment for evening and spoke in the evening (letter 5a, 1881).
James reported that at that evening meeting his wife addressed the people, "with clearness, point, and power, probably equal to any effort of her life" (RH, June 7, 1881).