June 6, 2021
Memorial Day began with a breakfast under the five-bay carport at the 4-plex because it was raining. We also raised a flag and offered our allegiance. Several had visitors, but like the loaves and fishes, there was enough and to spare. Elder Bonnet followed breakfast with a message about why so many have been willing to defend freedom and their country. Of course, the bottom line is that America is a land of destiny as the defender of freedom in the world. We do that as we live righteously and uphold our Divinely inspired Constitution. He summarized President Oak’s singular conference address given in the April 2021 GC regarding the principles of the Constitution. Patriarch Bonnet gave a powerful message. There was one portion that gave me hope.
He said that the scriptures make it clear that when the voice of the people choose that which is wrong, or when the wicked rule, the people suffer, and difficult times lie ahead. (D&C 98:9, Mos. 29: 27, Al. 10:19) Yet even in this situation, all is not lost. Remember Abraham’s bargaining with the Lord over the Land of Sodom and Gomorrah. Near the end, the Lord said He would spare the city if there could be found 10 righteous among them. Sadly, in that case, there were not even ten! (Gen 18: 23-33) The point is that ten would have been an extremely small percentage of the population, yet the Lord was willing to intervene for the sake of that miniscule minority. The membership of The Church is less than .2 of 1% of the world’s population. Yet if each one of us, joined by the millions of other good Christians stand for honor, integrity, liberty and decency, God will intervene for the righteous sake even if they are a minority. President Russell M. Nelson said, “During these perilous times of which the Apostle Paul prophesied, Satan is no longer even trying to hide his attacks on God’s plan. Emboldened evil abounds. Therefore, the only way to survive spiritually is to be determined to let God prevail in our lives, to learn to hear His voice, and to use our energy to help gather Israel.” God’s promise to the righteous is that if that we build our foundation on Jesus Christ, we cannot fall. (Hel. 5:12) There is no qualifier that suggests this is only true if we are a majority.
We stayed pretty close to home this week due to our need to study. It was our opportunity to lead the group’s scripture study on Tuesday and Thursday evening. Our topic was section 42, or “The Law of the Church.” With the caliber of missionaries serving here, we felt significant need to dig deep and be well prepared. In addition, I had the assignment to teach the Sunday School lesson on Sunday. But don’t worry, we had some beautiful moments right here at home. One night after scripture study we had a visitor give us a pan drum concert that was so fun.
Darrel spent two days hauling gravel to upgrade and repair the road system at AOA. Of course, he helped mow one day and then on Friday, he slipped over to Jameson Town Park to mow and help them get ready for their Annual Fund Raiser Fish Fry that was yesterday. (Saturday, June 5) One evening he took the Kreston and Carol Ann Snow’s little grandson fishing. No doubt he and Porter both loved that.
The missionaries were significantly involved in Jameson fish fry. The sisters made all the pies and desserts. We divided into two groups that helped set up, serve, and/or clean up. We enjoyed mingling with the local people and felt the evening was a success.
Darrel and I enjoyed a magical evening sitting in the back of his pickup in our lawn chairs, on the valley road south of our apartment. It was a gorgeous, clear night with no moon or clouds. The magic began when the hills and valley began to dance with tiny flickers of light. The fireflies have arrived! I’ve never seen anything like it. I felt like I was witnessing a fairy wedding reception of some kind because it was so captivation and mesmerizing. Of course, this splendid scene was serenaded by a chorus of crickets and frogs. It was a moment of light I hope never to forget. I truly felt joy in the beauty of creation. It gladdened my heart and lifted my soul on a day I needed it. Five of our girls had gathered at Payson Temple to be a part of our grandson, Andrew’s endowment earlier. My heart spent a lot of time in Payson Temple that day and it was hard to be so far away. Our experience felt like a glorious tender mercy.
We also attended a purple martin celebration in Jamesport this week. A gentle Amish man, Ivan James Miller, and his family hosted it to share their love, knowledge and experience of this unique bird who is a member of the swallow family. The Miller have 178 “apartments” filled with purple martin couples raising their young. Currently they have 102 active nests with 494 eggs and 90 young that have already hatched.
He described the males arriving first, beginning in early March. They stake a spot and then stand sentinel and sing a lovely song to invite the arriving females to check it out. If she responds and finds it acceptable the couple move in and begin building their nest. These amazing little birds are returning from a 10,000-mile round trip to Brazil to spend the winter. They repeat the trip on an average of 4-6 times during their life span, although one verified martin had survived the journey for 13 years.
Interestingly, few of the young hatched at this farm return, although many of the parent generation from the year before do. It seems that it is nature’s way of managing inter-breeding. This man bands the birds born each year and has been able to track some through the 20 years he has pursued this hobby. He has watched 7600 young leave his manicured farm and banded over 4800. Most reported are within a 30-mile radius, but one was found over 300 miles away.
Each fall the apartments are cleaned and stored until the next spring. Mr. Miller lines each with a power to protect the returning birds from mites. Each pole has a predator guard to keep them safe from black snakes that climb the poles and find Purple Martin eggs and hatchlings a delicacy. The guard protects them from racoons and skunks as well. It was a delight morning.
Interesting facts from our morning devotional on Memorial Day:
- 57,000,000 have taken the Oath of Enlistment as they joined the Armed Forces of the U.S. “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic so help me God.”
- 14,000,000 have been wounded in battle while serving in a U.S. military branch.
- 1,250,000 have paid the ultimate price for Freedom by giving their lives in the defense of Freedom.
- The daytime flag flown at Fort McKinley measures 32 ft X 40 Ft. It is taken day each day and replaced with an 8 ft X 10 ft. “battle flag” during the night. This fort is where the Star-Spangled Banner was penned.
We have an appointment to return to the temple this week. We’ve had ancestor names in our temple bags for over a year. I’m guessing they are as excited as us that we will be there twice in June. Prayers of faith and fasting joined many in Utah for needed rainfall. We feel deeply that how we observe the Sabbath will affect the outcome of this petition. We pledge to do all we can from here and invite all to join us!
Our Love: Elder and Sister Kenison