Heman Gurney, Ellen Harmon, and A Sailboat

The sea heaved violently around the little boat. The three passengers inside the battered vessel hung on for dear life. Ellen Harmon and her sister Sarah were trying to bail out the water that was pouring over the sides, threatening to sink them. Their friend Heman Gurney was frantically working the sails in an attempt to gain control of the boat.

None of their efforts were paying off.

Earlier that day Heman had suggested that the girls go for a boat trip with him across Buzzards Bay and over to West Island. Ellen and Sarah were visiting friends in Fairhaven and Gurney lived in New Bedford.

The girls were eager to go but Ellen had taken ill just before their scheduled time of departure. When Heman called to get them Sarah informed him that they couldn’t go because her sister wasn’t feeling well. Heman had promised to call back later in the afternoon to see if Ellen’s health had improved. When he did he found that Ellen was still under the weather.

“Is there anything else preventing you from going boating this afternoon?” he asked Sarah

“No…nothing else. We’d love to go out it’s just that Ellen really doesn’t feel well at all” Sarah responded with a fretful glance at her sister.

“Well, then why don’t we pray?” Heman suggested “I’m sure the Lord is both able and willing to heal Sister Ellen”

Sarah agreed and they kneeled around Ellen’s bed and prayed earnestly for her recovery. The Lord answered their prayer and Ellen was immediately healed.

They soon found themselves comfortably situated in Heman’s little sailboat, lazily sailing across the ocean. After a quiet spell of smooth sailing, Heman glanced up at the sky apprehensively.

“I don’t like the look of that sky” he murmured “Looks to me like a squall could break out any minute”

Ellen and Sarah glanced up at the gathering clouds. The sky was fast becoming a broody grey, thick with ripe thunderclouds.

Peace Amidst The Storm

In a moment a terrible storm broke out over them. Lightning forked across the sky and the thunder clapped loudly overhead. The wind whipped the waves into frothy peaks that heaved and crashed against the sides of their flimsy vessel.

All their efforts to try and weather the storm was beginning to fail. Ellen dropped to her knees and began to pray, pleading with God to save them.

 At that moment, in the midst of the raging storm, she was taken off into vision. She was shown that God would empty every single drop of water from the ocean before he allowed anything to happen to them. Ellen Harmon had only just begun her service for God.

 They would survive the storm.

Soon the sea began to calm down and the little boat drifted towards land, washing them close to West Island in the dead of night. Heman managed to successfully anchor the boat but they were not close enough to land to be able to wade ashore.

They called out for help and soon one of the residents on the island came down to help them ashore. He had been fast asleep he told them but his young daughter had woken up and heard their cries.

 None of them forgot that eventful boating trip. It was a constant reminder of how God held them in the palm of his hand.

Further Reading and Citations

  • Collins N.J. (2005) – Heartwarming Stories of Adventist Pioneers (Book 1)