At the appropriate time, when White called for their word, the two brethren replied, "California, or nothing." White then called for $1,000 to buy a tent and start the mission. At this time the rails extended only to the Rocky Mountains; the journey had to be made by ship to the Isthmus of Panama and then by another ship to San Francisco. For the next year and beyond, readers of the Review were thrilled by reports from the missionaries, first on the trip itself, and then on the tent meetings and the organization of churches in the valleys north of San Francisco.
They began their work in Petaluma, and from there worked northward. Soon they had established churches in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Bloomfield, and other places.
Shortly after our arrival in California we received a letter from Mrs. White, in which she related a vision given her in Battle Creek on Friday evening of June 12óa day that we had spent in Lancaster, New York, before starting for California. She had never been in California, and had no personal knowledge of the habits of the people. In fact, at that time she had never been west of the Missouri River. Any knowledge she possessed concerning things there was derived from what the Lord was pleased to reveal to her.
In the instruction in her letter, she delineated the liberal ways of the people of California, and what would be the effect of labor among them on a close, "pennywise" plan. In preaching to the people in California, they must be approached in something of the liberal spirit in which they work, and yet not in a spendthrift manner (GSAM, p. 385).
Looking back years later, Loughborough testified:
As I witness the results of following the instruction given, I can say that our cause advanced more in three months than it would have done in one year had we not been helped "in the work of the ministry" by the instruction received through the gift of prophecy. Up to the spring of 1871, as the result of the efforts in Sonoma County, five churches of Sabbathkeepers had been raised up (ibid., p. 386).