Many missionaries say that the last half of their mission goes faster than the first. We would not have believed it until we look back and realize how quickly January has come and gone. That realization makes each day more of a treasure than before. Perhaps it’s because we are coming to understand the grandeur of this place, the blessing of being here, and our growing concern about how we will fit into in the world when it’s time to leave this Zion home.
Darrel spent two days this week finishing up a multitude of things getting ready for carpet installation at the 4-plex. Two days he spent in the wood shop rebuilding and improving the dust collector system. Friday he helped put the track back on the skid-steer and then cut up some trees recently removed to open up a better view to the valley.
This week we didn’t go far from AOA, but we don’t have to. Let me share a few things that enriched our lives this week. Monday evening we gathered for FHE. Elder and Sister Bonnet were our speakers, with Sister Bonnett taking the lead for a change.
She shared their story and their journey to Missouri. Both were born in California and attended Glendale High School. They met in a meaningful way as seniors in “senior problems” class. Because they were seated in alphabetical order, Austin Bonnet and Darleen Brown became good friends. Both were from good Christian families, but neither was a member. Austin joined the Navy Reserve and after bootcamp, they had their first temple experience when they attended the LA temple open house. They were soon married in a Lutheran Church. A few deployments to the north and south poles on the ice breaker ship separated them for months during their early years. Given a choice to attend church on Sunday or stand watch, he decided to attend a Methodist Church with his buddies. Immediately a voice whispered, “You are not Methodist, you are a Mormon.”
Austin concluded that he would attend the “Mormon” services and began actively investigating the Church. He invited Darleen to do the same back at home. Long story short, they were married on April 7th and were baptized on December 9. Their journey of steady discipleship has never faltered, nor has their love for each other and for temples. Austin’s employment eventually took them to the St. Louis area. While reading D&C 63:39, Titus Billings’ revelation became theirs during that time. As they read “dispose of the land,…be prepared in the coming spring to take (your) journey up unto the land of Zion.” The spirit confirmed that they needed to sell and move. Without hesitation their hearts turned to this area, and they bought a farm near Jameson, Missouri. Their influence in this area can’t be calculated. As patriarch and sealer, their home is often open to families, friends and AOA missionaries. Neither misses a chance to teach a principle of the gospel and express love. Elder Bonnett is the only one officially authorized to conduct tours of Adam-ondi-Ahman. The Bonnetts are loved by many!
Wednesday I met with an orthopedic PA in Lee Summit. Prior to that day, I thought I had a good knee and a bad one. According to the x-rays neither is much to brag about it. Both are full of fluid and running bone on bone on the inside of the joint, as well as between the kneecap and joint itself. My hope was to reduce pain and buy time, so I got a cortisone shot in both knees. I am hopeful that things will be looking up soon.
I randomly found this article in a special edition of the April 1994 Era while looking for something else. I hadn’t thought of it for weeks, but truly delighted in remembering.
We must be in the migratory path of the geese, because flocks flying over is very audible every day. Often they stop at one of the ponds for a short stay. In light of Moses 6:63, the possible lessons learned from these stately birds were considered during sacrament meeting this week.
Fact #1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying together in one “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% more momentum than if each bird flew alone. Perhaps that’s why the Lord prizes unity so highly. We must be one to be His. Enoch seems to have discovered the power of a group of people seeking oneness in their effort to build Zion.
Fact #2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone, and quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. The lesson here rests in the principle of repentance. If we sense we have off the covenant path and have the good sense of a goose, we too will return quickly to the safety of the Good Ship Zion and the buoyant power of being with others who share our spiritual goals.
Fact #3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies into the leadership point position. This illustrates the wisdom of lay members serving where called. Each benefits from the skill and unique talents of others, while occasionally providing some time and space for needed rest and renewal.
Fact #4: Geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. I’m not certain who interviewed the geese to learn this, but sincere praise is a powerful form of encouragement and leads to confidently reach higher and do better.
Fact #5: When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to support, assist and protect. They stay until the goose dies or can fly again. Then, they launch a new formation or catch up with the flock. Standing by each other in tough times is what ministering is all about. Knowing that others care deeply and are there to help carry your burden is a road that best runs both directions.
It has been our assignment to teach scripture study this week. We have been covering D&C 88:70-141. The Prophet referred to the revelation as an “‘olive leaf’ … plucked from the Tree of Paradise,” with the potential to mend the harsh feelings some Saints in Missouri were having toward Church leaders in Kirtland, Ohio. For the first time I have pondered how these mind-boggling truths might help decrease mortal pride and contention.
Covered in this section are topics that include the Holy Spirit of Promise, the Light of Christ, the majesty and immensity of God’s creations, kingdoms of glory, resurrection, sanctification of the earth, the 2nd coming, signs of the times, great signs in the heavens, solemn assemblies, school of prophets, temple work, the washing of feet, angels and sounding trumps, the millennium, and the final battle between Michael and Satan.
Our directors taught the first part of section 88. We asked them to share their thoughts on what any of this has to do with mortals squabbling among themselves. They brought a single grain of pepper and a large rock. This object lesson helped me immensely. The grain of pepper represents life’s irritations and the conflicts common in a telestial or fallen world. The Rock represents the Savior and God’s great plan for His children. Compared to the immense grandeur of God’s Plan of Salvation, nothing in mortality is worth losing site of—or access to—the power and potential offered through the Atonement. A grain of pepper in your eye is irritating, as are some of our associations with others. Remembering that God has a plan not only for the earth’s celestial glory, but each of His children’s as well is empowering. Truly believing this makes all the difference in how we respond to such relative short-term irritations. From the perspective of becoming joint heirs with Christ and receiving all the Father has in exchange for allowing contention to block the Spirit which seals us His, the price is unbearably high.
Our love and best wishes! Darrel and Karen Kenison