At long last they were turning a corner, with the promise of better days ahead. But the battle was not fully won. It took some persuasion on her part to get James to prepare reports for the Review. But this was a significant step in his recovery.
Wright was off the beaten path; ministers seldom visited the church. Ellen wrote:
We found this church in a very low condition. With a large portion of its members the seeds of disunion and dissatisfaction with one another were taking deep root, and a worldly spirit was taking possession of them. And notwithstanding their low state they had enjoyed the labors of our preachers so seldom that they were hungry for spiritual food (ibid., pp. 570, 571).
The situation was just the challenge James White needed to draw him into active spiritual labor. They conducted a series of meetings, lasting several weeks. Visions were given to Ellen presenting lines of instruction, counsel, and reproof for a number of the members of that church.
It was a critical time for a number in the church. They hardly knew how to relate to personal testimonies. It is not easy to receive and accept reproof. In the service Sabbath morning, January 12, James White saw an opportunity to help the church in a special way. He spoke on the testimony to the Laodiceans, drawing parallels and giving counsel. He pointed to the Saviour standing at the door, knocking, waiting, entreating. He reminded the audience:
It is those He loves that He rebukes and chastens, whether by the cutting testimony of the Word of God or by a corresponding testimony, pointing out their errors and spiritual blindness. Let those, then, thus reproved, rejoice, instead of being discouraged. It is the best of evidence that their salvation is possible (RH, Jan. 29, 1867).
This was a landmark experience in the history of the Wright church, bringing strength and stability. It also was a milestone in James White's finding his way back to active service. Ellen White was jubilant. During the six weeks that they were at Wright, she spoke 25 times, and James 12. Since James was recovering from a long illness, she carried the heavy part of the burden, but she was careful to see that her husband led out.
Ultimately nine baptisms resulted from this evangelistic thrust, and the church was spiritually revived. The Roots, who so graciously took the Whites into their home, cared for them as tenderly "as Christian parents can care for invalid children" (1T, p. 570). As a result, the Roots were blessed with health and temporal prosperity. Root reported that his wheat fields had produced 27 bushels [108 pecks] to the acre [.41 hectare] and some 40 [160 pecks], while the average yield of his neighbors' fields had been only seven bushels [28 pecks] to the acre [.41 hectare] (ibid., pp. 574, 575).