In an unremarkable box of miscellaneous books, a book belonging to Mrs. Ellen G. White's private library was discovered at a College Place, Washington thrift store.
At SonBridge Center for Better Living, Connie was glancing through boxes of donated books. As always, she was sorting through ordinary, much-loved books when she picked up one that appeared more interesting than the rest. The book was titled Anecdotes and Illustrations of D. L. Moody. It was published in Chicago in 1877.
Connie wondered, "Was this the 'real' thing? What was the background of this book? How did it get from Ellen White’s library to SonBridge? What is the value of this book, and how do we let people know that this book is available?"
For being published 140+ years ago, the book was in great shape. The bookplate inside read, "Private Library of Mrs. E.G. White." Below, a handwritten note said, "Presented to R. W. Munson by Elder W. C. White, June 2, 1916." Connie showed the book to several other volunteers and employees at SonBridge, and it reminded Connie of the many people that E. G. White led to Christ and the impact she had on the world.
Norman Thiel, SonBridge Center for Better Living executive director, used the newly discovered book for a group worship. The group marveled at the good shape the book was in and wondered about its history. Many volunteers and staff at SonBridge have been greatly influenced by White’s writings and by her life, so everyone wanted to make sure this special book found a good home.
The next day, Vera Bohlman, SonBridge Thrift & Gift Store manager, showed the book to volunteers and employees. During this time of COVID, social distancing and not getting out much, the book really put smiles on people's faces and created an air of mystery. What would be done with the book?
The E. G. White Estate was contacted. Connie, the remarkable book finder, sent them pictures of the title page and the front page with the bookplate. The representative told Connie that the E. G. White Estate is trying to recreate White's libraries. They were very interested in it. Doing more research, Connie found that under the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University, the listing for "Ellen G. White Private and Office Library” contains all the books White had in the libraries in her house at the time of her death. This remarkable book is listed.
A decision was finally made. The remarkable book would be auctioned online to reach the broadest audience. All items donated to SonBridge are sold through the Thrift & Gift Store to provide for those in need. The money received from the book would help further the SonBridge mission and vision: To bring hope and wholeness to the Walla Walla Valley and to build a community where God’s unconditional love is expressed through resources and services to revitalize the whole person.
SonBridge volunteers and staff are passionate about helping people. In any given day, someone may walk through the front door in need of warm bedding or clean socks. Another person might need a helping hand with this month’s rent or money for gasoline, so they can get to work.
SonBridge provides opportunities for people to receive help while preserving their dignity. Each person is treated with respect, compassion and encouragement. Recently, a SonBridge employee was encouraging a person receiving services. The guest replied, “The Lord has blessed me abundantly since I got clean and sober.” This person's fulfilled needs were the result of blessings made possible by people who believe in and contribute to the SonBridge mission and vision.
The SonBridge Education Center provides a place for people to gather and share experiences, to laugh and cry together and to take steps toward recovery. Community is built through the yoga classes that bend and stretch to “muted” cowboy music. Community and Support Group meetings take place that unite people in mission and passion, all facilities being provided by caring individuals who give of their abundance or commitment to volunteer.
Volunteers find purpose and community in sorting clothes, shoes and housewares, while keeping an eye out for other “remarkable finds.” The most remarkable finds are shifted to the SonBridge online stores at eBay and Poshmark, where the hope is that “just the right person” will see the treasure. Their desire to have it will support the SonBridge mission and vision.
And what about the discovered remarkable book?
Online auction bidders were very interested in the book. In the end, a person from Silver Spring, Maryland purchased it for more than $1,000.
A good home was found. But best of all, the money received is helping to further meet the SonBridge mission and vision: To bring hope and wholeness to the Walla Walla Valley, and to build a community where God’s unconditional love is expressed through resources and services to revitalize the whole person.
No one knows what will show up at SonBridge. But we can be certain that donations are used to bring hope and wholeness. No one knows who will show up at SonBridge. But we can be very certain that volunteers and staff at SonBridge Center for Better Living will provide what is needed and make sure each person knows they are “a remarkable find.”