Review: Stories from Sunnyside

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Stories from Sunnyside
Marian de Berg

Having never been to Sunnyside Historic House, I was most excited to be able to go on a guided tour of Ellen White’s Australian home just a few weeks ago. As our large group was ushered into the various rooms, I was excited to not only see the room where she wrote a large proportion of her writings, including The Desire of Ages, but also other items that she had used in the everyday running of her household. Our guide managed to intersperse historical facts with interesting snippets and captivating stories of everyday life.

It was not until the end of the tour that I realised my guide had been Marian de Berg, author of Stories From Sunnyside. I could not wait to get my hands on a copy to immerse myself in more of the great stories that Marian had shared with us throughout the tour.

At an age at which many people would be planning retirement, Ellen White came to Australia to continue the missionary work that had begun only six years earlier. She “saw no light in going to the South Pacific” but “knew that if God did not want her to go, He would close the door”. The struggles of establishing an Adventist community in such a distant part of the world during an economic downturn proved her a true missionary, managing to settle her family and establish an Adventist college, health retreat, printing press and health food factory.

Stories from Sunnyside draws the reader into the human aspect of Ellen White through stories of her everyday life and extended family. Her dealing with the poor and needy shows a depth of understanding of what it means to live a “Christ-like life” and is one that we should all emulate. She opened her home to everyone and many times sacrificed her own comfort to help those who were struggling, resulting in many lives brought to know the Lord. Many of us have read her writings but this book helped me to know the person who was Ellen White, especially from an Australian perspective.

Stories from Sunnyside is available now from Adventist Book Centres in Australia and New Zealand. A book launch at “Sunnyside” Historic Home will be held in Cooranbong (NSW) at 10am on Sunday, October 1.

Sonia Knight is Resources Manager for Adventist Media.

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