It seems Monday posts are the pattern for November. That will likely be true next week as well. Moving from the 4-plex to the Bohannan House has required more than we had anticipated. Sadly, we can’t accomplish as much in a day as we were once able. But we now have a much bigger home with room to have family and friends stay with us when they visit.
The Sisters branched out a bit this week. On Monday we indexed for a couple of hours and then went to Tower Hill to get the seven flower beds ready for winter. Tuesday everyone brought what they had for the Jameson School Christmas store to assess where we are and what we still need to accomplish. The store hours are on Dec. 2-3, so there’s not much time. Gratefully, a few sisters have been planning and buying for months. We felt excited about all we have gathered to make the children’s Christmas season brighter. For the rest of the morning, we painted 152 fence posts that the Elder recently replaced at the East Entrance. The weather was wonderful, and all projects were rewarding and fun.
Wednesday, I went to Lamoni to pick up the projects we had commissioned from Andy Gingerich, a fine Amish craftsman with a family of seven. We were pleased! The items had the excellence we expected and in visiting with Andy, I was able to have a very natural gospel discussion with him. He said I was always welcome in their home, and I assure him he was always welcome at AOA whether we were there or not. I said I had observed that he was a good Christian man and asked if he believed the Savior would come again. His immediate response was, “Yes!” I then share what we believe in regard to AOA’s past and future as well as our purpose there at the present. Our conversation turned to his beautiful family. He reported that they had a new baby boy in September, so they have seven children! Then he confided that they had lost a baby girl four years ago. He expressed the heartache of that loss and his belief that she is “God’s child” now. I simply said, “That’s why we build temples. We believe that families can be sealed together forever inside the temple.” The seeds were planted! I was surprised how easy it was to share the gospel with a friend. We bid a sincere farewell and I suspect that the Spirit will work on this sincere, humble man. If it weren’t for the Amish shunning, I believe Andy and his family would be easy converts. They already live consecrated lives, and they would qualify for temple blessings very quickly. I expect to meet Andy in the future, be it here or here-after. I felt a connection to his family from our first meeting. That was the basis of our commissioning Christmas gifts from him.
Thursday I began typing up the first monthly work and AOA history report associated with my new assignment. It was intimidating, but I learned a lot and enjoyed it all.
Friday we had our first temple session without the 2020 couples. It was beautiful none the less.
Saturday we a BIG day at home getting ready for our upcoming company. We are so excited! Jon and Kaye Mitchell, from our home ward, have been at the MTC preparing for their mission to Lansing, Michigan. They had originally planned to spend last weekend with us, but a family death postponed their mission report date. Their mission President suggested they just come after Thanksgiving. Rather than return home and say good-bye to everyone all over again, and celebrate Thanksgiving alone, they decided to head our way. Their children were all gathering with in-laws because Jon and Kaye were not planning to be home. That means they will enjoy Thanksgiving at AOA this year and spend 4 days in this sacred place with us. We decided to do some deep cleaning, some painting and cosmetic fixups to make their time here more pleasant. That evening we went to the Gallatin Theater to see the musical, “Clue.” Their theater reminded me so much of the one in Nephi. They have few resources, but they an amazing amount of creativity and talent for a small town. We found the production clever, “punny” and fun.
Darrel spoke in Sacrament meeting. With just seven couples, we now only have one speaker per week to spread out our opportunities. It makes sacrament meeting short and sweet, but leaves more time for our “Come Follow Me” lesson time. We sing with recorded music. We haven’t been blessed with a lot of solo voices, but the Spirit is as generous and sweet as ever. We had our first block party with our closest neighbors, Kreston and Carol Ann Snow. They live about two miles down the road. We had Sunday dinner and a delightful visit. Our directors came in the evening and visited for a couple of hours. They wanted to get to know us better and share perspectives of what we’ve learned and observed so far, as well as where our group needs to go from here to accomplish all we were sent to do. It feels so good to have great friends! That is certainly one of our treasured blessings so far.
I’ll close with a poem Darrel shared in his talk and wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! It’s very familiar but I never tire of its message.
I AM THANKFUL FOR: by Nancie J. Carmody
I am thankful for the mess to clean up after a party… Because it means I have been surrounded by friends
I am thankful for the taxes I pay… Because it means that I am employed!
I am thankful for clothes that fit a little too snug… Because it means that I have enough to eat!
I am thankful for the shadow that watches me work… Because it means that I am out in the sunshine!
I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing… Because it means that I have a home!
I am thankful for the spot I find at the end of the parking lot… Because it means that I am capable of walking!
I am thankful for all the complaining I hear about the government… Because it means that I have freedom of speech!
I am thankful for the lady behind me in church who sings off key… Because it means that I can hear!
I am thankful for my huge heating bill… Because it means that I am warm!
I am thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning… Because it means that I am alive!
I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing…Because it means that my loved ones are near!
I am thankful for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day…Because it means that I have been productive!