When we first heard that the Lord was hastening His work, I did not realize how personal that would feel at Adam-ondi-Ahman. The days pass so quickly and making blog posts seems closer together than once a week!
This week was mostly business as usual. For Darrel that meant preparing for and pouring 23 yards of concrete at the work center. The final pour on the project will be on Monday. (Oct. 18)
Let me share the kind of fun and blessings and small miracles are a part of just a regular week at AOA.
Monday we had FHE. Each couple built and decorated a haunted gingerbread house. Ours was made of pop tarts, which I would recommend. It was fun to see the creative genius in each couple and we truly enjoyed that time together. We will gather again on Oct. 30th to participate in part B of that family home evening. I don’t wish to spoil that event at this point, so I’ll report later.
Wednesday, Sister Snow showed us how to crochet a basket from T-shirts. We gathered at one of the homes and enjoyed learning and visiting. Later, I had a few minutes and decided to do some scanning. As I walked in the shop, a group of Elders were talking to a man who had stopped by on his way home from a Lineman’s Conference. I heard the man mention in passing that he had grown-up in Payson, Utah. I stopped and turned around. I mentioned that I was from Payson and Elder Hobley introduced me as Sister Kenison. The man asked, “David Kenison?”
I explained that David was my husband’s first cousin and that I was Karen Marvin. He broke into a smile and said, “I’m Jeff Lindley!”
We went to High School together. The spontaneous embrace surprised us both upon reflection. It felt like an echo of Alma meeting the Sons of Helaman after many years and rejoicing that they were still brethren in the Lord. (Alma 17: 2.) Clearly the timing of our chance meeting here was a tender mercy.
Thursday most of the apartments and homes got a furniture upgrade. It was like Christmas as the Elder’s delivered new items that day.
I had the opportunity to help get the Doxey Trailer ready for a visit from Elder and Sister Schwitzer this week. We love the spirit they bring and their counsel. It was an honor to serve them in a personal way, and look forward to seeing them this next week.
Yesterday, (Saturday, Oct. 16) we knew Trenton, a nearby city, was having a big three-day celebration, but decided to stick around home last minute. While working on a project at our apartment, I got a phone call from Joyce Hill Maher, who lives in this area. She was at AOA meeting a friend traveling with a Church History Tour Group. The group was enjoying Preacher’s Rock when a gentleman fell and was momentarily knocked unconscious. Joyce was looking for help and I was one of two contacts she has here. There are many places where our phone reception is poor, so it felt providential that I was at our apartment. I was able to get them almost immediate help. I contacted Elder Hobley, our director, and was grateful that he was around, too. He drove over and helped give the man a blessing and then transported him back up to the Tower Hill parking lot where he was taken by the Maher’s to Liberty for medical evaluation. This morning we received word that he is stiff and sore, but is expected to have no long-term complications.
The story didn’t end there. Within minutes I got another call from Joyce saying that the tour bus was ready to leave, but a couple was lost somewhere on an access road. She asked me to drive along that road and see if I could locate them and get them back to the bus. I drove all the way to Tower Hill and saw no one. At Tower Hill I saw a family group down in the Pecan Grove, but drove on in search of the couple. I hadn’t gone far when I felt the distinct impression that the couple had found their way back to the bus, and I needed to turn around. (I later learned that Elder Dabb had come across them and given them a much-needed ride.)
As I approached Preacher Rock, the family was standing there with a look of concern. I stopped to see if I could help. A sweet lady gestured to an elderly woman (85 plus I guessed.) and said they were all worried that she could not make it back up the hill to the parking lot. I quickly volunteered to give her a lift. We had a delightful visit. She saw parts of AOA that few get to see, and we arrived at their SUV just when the rest arrived. I quickly understand that I wasn’t there to find the couple, but to help this good family have a more pleasant experience here. The Lord’s hand ever humbles and delights us in this sacred place.
But the story has an addendum. In touching base with Joyce later on, I learned that the family of the gentleman were Pages from the Payson area. Their Uncle was Reed Page, and my friend Joan Page was a first cousin. The world is extra small at AOA.
Darrel and I have been studying the Book of Mormon in our companion study. We recently read the account of Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life, so I’ve been pondering its application. Today the speaker in Sacrament meeting, Elder Jeff Clayton, spoke of The Book of First Nephi as a primer for developing faith and as the Book of Mormon being written especially for us by prophets who saw our day.
One point he made resonated with similar observations I have pondered over and not found words to express. I felt he included that portion of his talk just for me. In Lehi’s Dream he saw multitudes FEELING their way towards the great and spacious building only to find themselves wandering in strange roads and becoming lost. (1N 8: 31-32)
Elder Clayton made a correlation to our day in two ways.
- We live in a world where sensuality is the norm, where gratification of appetites and FEELINGS are celebrated and sometimes worn as a badge.
- But even more subtle, we live in a society where in the name of FEELINGS, we sense an obligation to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy regardless of effort. Everyone gets a ribbon! We are hesitant to say anything that might hurt someone’s FEELINGS, even if it’s pure truth. Tolerance is heralded as the supreme virtue. FEELINGS are allowed to trump reason! FEELINGS are more important to some than God’s Laws. As a result, we see a few we know and love FEELING their way towards the Large and Spacious Building as they wander on strange roads and become lost from our view.
That was so profound to me and so descriptive of what I observe in current trends with a sense of alarm. My convictions suggest God has always been much more concerned about growth and progress than FEELINGS. (D&C 177:11 is a prime example) Now I can see the infinite wisdom in His dealings with mankind and our folly as we fail to follow that divine pattern.
We anticipate a wonderful GA visit this next week. A new director will be appointed, and the wheels of change will be in full motion as our mentors prepare to depart. May this week bring an eye to see the Lord’s hand in your life every day.
Elder and Sister Kenison (AKA-Darrel and Karen)
- My cousins, Dennis and Kara Allan, served here in 2009-2010. Dennis helped pour and place the old concrete benches at the East Overlook and Tower Hill. Darrel helped form, pour, and place some new ones this year!
- Beverly Cleary, author of the Ramona series, Run Away Ralph, and many other children’s books, is a direct line descendent of Jacob Hawn, owner of Hawn’s Mill. Beverly died in March 2021 at the age of 104! Jacob Hawn was never a member of the Church. He was simply owned a mill in Caldwell County when the saints arrived. Following the massacre, he and his family migrated to Oregon where he died and is buried.