After three months in California James and Ellen returned to the East.
Soon after arriving in Battle Creek to attend camp meetings, James White declared his general plan for working:
We hope to be able to attend all the camp meetings the coming season with Mrs. White. We shall come to our brethren, not to do the work, but to help them do it in the name and strength of the Lord. We have neither strength nor disposition to labor as we have done. It is important to be in season. We have many suggestions to make, and we think it important at this early date to call the attention of the preachers of the several conferences to the fact that if duty calls them from important labor to the camp meeting, it calls them to labor at these meetings and not depend on those from abroad to do all the work (ibid., Apr. 8, 1875).
The Whites did not spare themselves, but put in an active season attending camp meetings in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Maine, and New York. Their participation was heavy. Often the burden of preaching was borne largely by James, Ellen, and Uriah Smith.
"To say that we are weary only faintly expresses our physical condition," remarked James on one occasion."But we are not weary of the work," he added, "and we are filled with hope, courage, and faith"