Hints of spring are finally peeking up through the soil here at AOA, but the weather is still vacillating between winter and spring. The frogs are singing like they were when we arrived. We fall asleep at night to the serenade of 100’s of frogs. It’s an AOA experience I will always treasure.
I started the week helping out at the 7th community center in Gallatin on Monday. I’ve spent extra time in study for my lesson this week, and in compiling a history of two of the homes here. Both were worth the time required.
Darrel’s week began by delivering a trailer load of chairs to Jameson. Then he helped pick up and chip the rest of the limbs left by the Larsons who pruned 100+ trees. Tuesday he began at the 4-plex moving furniture back into the apartments following weeks of renovations. That afternoon he helped pick up limbs in Jameson park. Thursday he went to Jamesport to an Amish farm and ranch store to pick up pipe for the project to take water to Tower Hill from the Diahman Center. He actually had a little free time on Saturday to work on some personal wood projects.
Wednesday we took a day for some wholesome recreation. Elder Christofferson said in his October 2010 address, “ “Just as honest toil gives rest its sweetness, wholesome recreation is the friend and steadying companion of work. Music, literature, art, dance, drama, athletics—all can provide entertainment to enrich one’s life and further consecrate it.”
After several weeks of a full court press schedule, six of the couples traveled to a quaint village called Arrow Rock, Missouri, to enjoy the production “Charlie’s Aunt” in their Lyceum Theater. It was a perfect spring day! Arrow Rock is near the Missouri River and the entire village is considered a National Historic Landmark. Several locations are certified sites of the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Santa Fe Trail. Although the population is less than 100, their theater, built from an 1830’s church, attracts roughly 33,000 people each year.
We stopped in Marshall for lunch along the way. The Brick BBQ was a unique experience. There we rubbed shoulders with a couple of rough construction crews as well a group touring the U.S. on motorcycles, with a few “road hogs” among them. The food was excellent and the company part of the total experience.
The Lyceum Theater was charming, and the performance would compare with a production at the Hale Theater. I think even our country guys enjoyed it.
Friday, March 18, was the anniversary of our arrival at Adam-ondi-Ahman. That year has gone by so fast! To celebrate the day, the missionary couples all went to the Kansas City Temple and enjoyed the first mask free session we’ve had for two years! It was wonderful to connect with the workers and other patrons in ways masks prohibited. That evening we went to the annual fish fry in Jamesport to support their community and fund-raising efforts.
Saturday, Darrel and I spent much of the day at the 4-plex cleaning apartment #2 following the renovations. When the dust, paint and plaster were all wiped away, we agreed it will be a lovely place for the new couples when they arrive on April 6th. We have learned a new appreciation for those who prepared for our arrival as we’ve composed our list and worked down through it. Each checkmark of completion adds to the anticipation we feel for their arrival.
I led the “Come Follow Me” lesson discussion today. I’ve loved studying the life of Joseph of Egypt more deeply. Perhaps the greatest discovery for me was the number of ways his life was like the Savior’s. The touching scene when Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, truly demonstrated the Christlike nature of his character. He forgave without bitterness, extended love when undeserved, and saw the Lord’s hand in all that happened. But his similarities to Christ go much deeper. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that all prophets are types of Christ. He said, “A prophet is one who has the testimony of Jesus, who knows by the revelations of the Holy Ghost to his soul that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In addition to this divine knowledge, many of them lived in special situations or did particular things that singled them out as types and patterns and shadows of that which was to be in the life of him who is our Lord.”
I felt the similarities were significant enough to share the compilation of three different lists shared by gospel scholars.
Tonight we had Elder Ames visit us again for a fireside. He is the area authority 70 who accompanied Elder Gong when he came. He was Elder and Sister Nielsen’s mission president when they serviced in Texas. He was Dunford’s son Morgan’s mission president as well. The Nielsens made arrangements for him to come. I had thought I would share his message this week, but I need some time to digest his message. So I will begin with that topic next week. We did have a small miracle associated with this evening. Sister Nielsen asked Sister Snow and I to sing a duet for the fireside as a special musical number. Sadly, we have no piano players in the group. We thought of two other possibilities and found them both to be dead ends. Just as we were ready to resign ourselves to the fact that we would have to sing using an I-pad, a couple came to visit our directors. We learned on Thursday that Ronda could play the piano and would be here until Monday morning. We approached her and asked if she would help us. Long story short, we had a real accompanist for our musical number tonight. Elder Ames had his parents with him. We learned that his wife was born in Finland, and they served a temple mission there. Elder Ames’ father grew up in Talmage, Utah with Darrel’s uncles and cousins. Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes the world small! May you see small miracles in your lives this week Love, Elder and Sister Kenison.