At first Mrs. White was overwhelmed with the idea of traveling to Europe. She was in her late 50s and considered herself old. Following the strenuous activities connected with the Battle Creek crisis and then at the numerous camp meetings in the East, she found herself depleted in strength and aware that she must take steps to recoup her physical forces.
Ellen did not relish traveling to Europe, especially in time to attend the missionary council in September 1885."To travel across the continent in the heat of summer and in my condition of health," she wrote, "seemed almost presumptuous" (RH, Sept. 15, 1885). She wished for positive guidance to know what course to follow.
As the appointed time for starting drew near, my faith was severely tested. I so much desired someone of experience upon whom I could rely for counsel and encouragement. My courage was gone, and I longed for human help, one who had a firm hold from above, and whose faith would stimulate mine (ibid.).