October 2, 2021

This is another early surprise post.  My nine-patch quilt is done, and I will pick it up from the quilter this morning. We have Katie and Tyler and their family flying in this afternoon, plus it’s conference weekend!  We’ve anticipated this day for weeks.  One of the fringe benefits of serving at AOA is that any of your grandchildren of baptismal age can be baptized here.  Leia is the only one of our grandchildren in that category, so we’re super excited to have them visit us here. This purpose promises to create unique and wonderful memories attached to AOA.

For those who need an “Adam” update, he will not make it to AOA at this time. His true identity was discovered, and he was taken into custody because he had several outstanding warrants for his arrest.  We suppose he’ll be extradited if he hasn’t been already.

Last Monday, all the AOA missionaries were invited to Patriarch and Sister Bonnett’s for a yummy Mexican dinner followed by a fireside. The Bonnetts have hosted a similar gathering each year for those serving.  Sister Bonnett is a fabulous cook and Elder Bonnett is an amazing teacher.  Neither grew up active in The Church, but no one would ever guess that now. Their commitment to the Lord is visible in their home and in their presence.  Both have a deep reservoir of gospel understanding and knowledge that they share freely. They served in the St. Louis Missouri Temple Presidency for a while, and they love temples. It wasn’t surprising that Elder Bonnett’s message was about temples. He spoke of the keys of the Gospel of Abraham restored by Elias in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836.  These keys are those pertaining to celestial marriage and assure the blessing of a continuation of seeds forever.  He shared ten purposes of temples and invited us to explore each purpose through regular temple attendance.  We were fed physically and spiritually by this wonderful couple who have been such an asset and blessing to this area.

Darrel and I were grateful to have an initiatory section already scheduled for this week.  It’s been about 18 months since participating in this part of temple work. There have been a few procedural changes and I wondered if I would be able to remember what I learned as an ordinance worker.  I was grateful it came back so quickly and equally grateful that I was asked to do five names for the temple in addition to those I had family file cards for.  The antiquity of this work is part of the beauty of it.  It ties the dispensations together and speaks of a plan that is adaptable yet perfect and a God who is unchangeable.

Small miracles are a part of our experience frequently here.  One that touched my heart this week involved our wonderful neighbors, Wayne and Teresa Nielson from Huntington, Utah.  Wayne’s brother-in-law passed away early in the week, and they obtained permission to return to Utah for the funeral this weekend.  Plans were made and tickets were purchased.

In another LDS home in Kansas City this week, a young Elder finished home MTC was flying to Idaho alone to serve in Idaho until his visa becomes available.  His parents were deeply concerned about him flying alone, and he was, too.  As it happened, Wayne and Teresa were on the same flight.  They spotted that young elder immediately and took him under their wing.  They bought him food, chatted before and throughout the flight, and even stuffed a little cash in his pocket when he wasn’t looking.  When he reported this wonderful blessing to his parents, he confessed that he didn’t know their names.  All he knew is that they were missionaries serving at Adam-ondi-Ahman. 

On Thursday, Robert and Jane Dunford, another couple serving here, went to a dentist down in Kansas City. This dentist just happened to be the young elder’s bishop and father.  It didn’t take long to put two and two together.  The parents were thrilled have some way to contact Wayne and Teresa and thank them for making the flight so comfortable and memorable for their son. Dunfords were happy to be a part of this sweet story.  The young elder’s presence brought some joy and light to Nielson’s solemn trip home, so ALL were blessed.  

God is in the details of our lives.  This sweet story is representative of the tender mercies we all have when we have eyes to see.

Much of my extra time this week has been used to prepare for the Wilkin’s visit and in making headway in digitalizing the AOA records. I started volume 31 yesterday!  As I was working early in the week, the thought came to me that the history pages we create each week are already in digital form.  It seemed that scanning such pages would be a step backwards in resolution and quality.  I mentioned my thoughts to Sister Dabb, who is our history specialist. In two days, she reported that her husband had extracted the data from all 13 computers in our work room.  Not only did he find all the history pages for 2018, 2019, and 2020, but he found a motherlode of priceless information and old photos unique to this area stored on the computers. Some date back to the late 1800s. Elder Dabb organized the material into files for easier access and retrievability. I can’t wait to have a few hours exploring the treasures he uncovered and add them to the ones I have found as I have scanned the volumes of AOA history. What he found will require a 1 terabyte hard drive to hold it! Being immersed in the history of AOA has added a dimension to my time here that is hard to describe.  I am so grateful to be a part of the Lord’s work in preserving the history of this sacred place and making it more accessible for others.  Next year we’ll have a file to collect the pages as they are completed so no one will ever have to scan another page when my project is finished.

The concrete pad has been poured. The elders are making beams and trusses from lumber grown and milled here.

Darrel did some mowing on Monday.  Tuesday he was on the crew that poured the final slab at the new pavilion.  Wednesday he helped with the construction of the first trusses for the roof.  Thursday he assisted a group in painting new fence posts to make needed repairs on the five miles of fence line our guys maintain.  Friday Darrel rolled the roads Elder Bastian was grading.  Recent light rain made their project very effective. Life is busy but wonderful here.

Elder Uchtdorf visited AOA in 2008.  He was the first member of a First Presidency to preside at the sacrament meeting here in 170 years!    

Fun fact:

We will have many beautiful adventures and memories to share next weekend.  Until then, enjoy conference and rejoice in the blessing of living prophets and apostles. 

                                                      Our love— Elder and Sister Kenison

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