May 9, 2021
Our time here rushes by each week. It’s hard to believe we arrived nearly two months ago. May we say, “Happy Mother’s Day” to each of you wonderful woman we call friends or family. Elder Holland taught, “What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work. May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent! You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you… Like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth! Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ…I can pay no higher tribute to anyone!”
Darrel’s days were filled this week with mowing, helping plant dozens of flowering pear trees, and putting roofing on the new Duplex. He also spent significant time helping me work on my flower bed. We hauled in a lot of sand and compost with the loader to round the spot out so I could plant dozens of perennials. Sister Clayton, the director of the flower beds, suggested we add another chunk the bed, which will be gorgeous once complete. Darrel is sure the water system could be more efficient, and I’ve lived with him long enough to trust that soon it will be.
My assigned history project encountered a major bump in the road this week. Our presence in a small office was very distracting to the secretary, who carries more responsibility that any other sister. It was decided that I can only work on the project on Friday or on my own time. Interestingly, our reimbursement for travel to our mission was delayed until this last week. Somehow ours was missed when none of the others were. After seeking some Divine guidance, we realized we would soon have more than enough to order the exact scanner for use at home. It will arrive soon, and in the end, I am sure this will be the most efficient, easiest situation for completing this sacred work for all involved.
Some of the Sisters made a trip over to Hamilton on Wednesday, after working in our flower beds. It is the quilting capitol of the U.S., in addition to being the home of J.C. Penney. We met Jenny Doan, who is the owner of all the fabric/quilting shops there, and her mascot– a duck. That name didn’t mean much to me, but our avid quilters were like kids one Christmas morning. I was pleased to learn that Jenny is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
All the missionaries took Friday off for a Mother’s Day outing to Pello, Iowa for the 86th annual Tulip Festival. The weather was a perfect and it was completely delightful day. It was settled by Dutch Christian immigrants and their influence is still ever-present. We were able to tour the old city square representing trades of those early settlers along with a tour through their completely functional Windmill. It was built in Holland, disassembled, packaged, and shipped to Pella where it was reassembled in 2002. They mill enough grain to sell in the small gift shop.
I was completely charmed by Pella’s one-of-a-kind pipe organ named Goliath. It was built in Belgium in the late 1800’s, and then made its way to Pella in the 1960’s. It plays by using a pin box to “read” a songbook filled with slots, each of which sends specific instructions to send air flow to one the 900 different pipes to make a sound. One inch thickness of the songbook, specifically designed for this organ, equals one minute of play time. I could not get enough of that incredible instrument!
A BIT OF PELLA, IOWA, HISTORY:
Pella takes pride in the fact that it was the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp. The Earp family lived Pella two different times. Although Wyatt was born in Illinois, his family moved to a 160-acre farm in Iowa when he was only a year old and farmed until he was eight. They returned again and lived in Pella when Wyatt was 11-16 years of age. Then the family joined a wagon train headed for California. Wyatt is best remembered for being a law man in Dodge City, Kansas, and for his involvement in the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. He was the only member of his family not wounded in that event. During his life, Wyatt was a farmer, buffalo hunter, miner, stagecoach driver, teamster, boxing referee, saloon and gambling house owner, and fearless sheriff. At times it was difficult to tell which side of the law he was on because of his austere manner and harsh judgements.
- Thomas and Nancy Tuttle were the first to live on land that is now the city of Pella. They arrived in 1843. Their cabin still stands in one of the city parks. In 1847, a group of five Dutchman arrived at their cabin and offered to purchase their farm. In less than a week this group purchased farms and land totaling nearly 30 square miles from a number of settlers. The Leader of that group was Dominie Henry Scholte, who soon led a community of 800-900 emigrants from the Netherlands. They came due to religious and economic conflicts in their homeland and were looking for a new place to start anew. They settled much of Marion, County, and the Tuttle Farm became the central square of their new Dutch city.
- Pella, Iowa replaces over 100,000 bulbs, (at a cost of $25,000) consisting of 70 varieties each fall. Central Park has over 45,000 alone. Annuals are planted after they are removed. One bed of 6,000 tulips is planted in five different colors to resemble repeating quilt blocks.
No matter where we go, we feel a change as we enter the gate of AOA. It is a feeling of home, of peace, of quiet, of beauty, of anxious anticipation and deep gratitude. It is that residual Spirit that we wish we could share with each of you and with the world. This is perhaps the only place on earth that not really affected by the pandemic conditions. May you share our conviction that our Savior is at the helm, His work is moving forth regardless of the growing evil and corruption in high places, and we feel privileged to be here maintaining and beautifying a place for Him to return and meet with the faithful of all ages.
Our Love, Elder and Sister Kenison