James R. Nix, director of the Ellen G. White Estate at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was the first presenter after the devotional. He took the audience back to a series of events that happened in 1899 and that were almost unknown for several decades.*
On February 15, 1899, the 33rd General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists opened in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. According to a letter of M. C. Wilcox to Ellen White nothing important happened during the first two weeks, but this should change soon with the arrival of Elder Frank H. Westphal and his accompanying guest, Captain Henry Norman. Westphal, a 41-year old missionary to Argentina and official delegate from South America, had met Captain Norman on a ship going from Southampton, England to New York City.
Immediately after their arrival, Captain Norman recognized Mrs. S. M. I. Henry who was sitting on the side of the GC Session platform. Conversing with each other he told her that he had seen her several years earlier at a series of her lectures for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in Washington, D.C.; she had been the national evangelist for the WCTU. After learning that she had been a Methodist before becoming an Adventist, Norman said that he had a Methodist background too, but was discontent already for years with his denomination. Mrs. Henry handed him a pamphlet of hers, "How the Sabbath Came to Me," and got to know from him that he considered the way of meeting Elder Westphal and coming to the GC Session as providential, because he felt like being in the presence of the people of God.