This week has been one like no other of our mission. The work has carried on smoothly and efficiently as usual with the arrival of the 2022 missionary couples. Work to restore the old red barn near the 4-plex began and the new flower beds at Tower Hill were turned over to the sisters. New signs were placed by the state along Hwy 13 to identify Adam-ondi-Ahman for travelers and work was done to open the view at the East Entrance for the new signs coming from the Church. Darrel was involved in a lot of mowing and fertilizing.
We’ve known from day one that the Lord is aware of this place and His Spirit is ever present. We’ve had hints in the past that the adversary is also aware, but this week we found his influence is strong in the surrounding area.
On Monday, April 18th, a local mail clerk returned a number of manila envelopes addressed to people living in Texas and Florida with the AOA director’s return address. She said the collection boxes in eight communities around here had been filled with them. An approximated $3000 of postage had been attached, yet none had sufficient to send. The clerk wanted to know what the sender identified as “Korihor” wanted the postal workers to do. We expressed concern that this was anti-Christian material and assured here that no one here had sent them. We offered for all to be returned here for disposal. I was curious what the stack of 136 copied papers contained so I opened one.
They each contained the “Book of Aaron” intended be an additional sixth book to the Pentateuch or FIVE Books of Moses. It seems it was written to correct the story of the first five books of Moses now acknowledged as scripture by Christians everywhere.
It claimed this record came from ruins located in No. Syria near the border of Turkey in 2007 A.D. These ruins are the remains of a city excavated by the French long before that. It also claimed the text was taken from the Vatican Archive which houses 12 centuries of documents, including perhaps the earliest known copy of the Bible. Access to this Archive is gained only by application and it is said to be the most secure vault in the world. The copyright for the book is held by the one who translated it into English from “Koine”, (a common language of the Greeks used around the Byzantine Era-395-1453 AD), Hebrew and Aramaic. The author claimed with the articulateness of an orator that the one true god is really female, indeed it is the “Mother Earth.” It is “She” who commissioned him to share the “Book of Aaron.”
It was clear to me that this is not a record of ancient date, nor translated from an ancient language. It reads like a dark fantasy novel set in a world where a Sphinx sits as an oracle to the Pharaoh Ramses, who is a powerful sorcerer.
Anyone familiar with the Books of Moses would quickly recognize the names, events, and quotations familiar in the Bible. However, their identities are scrambled as are the time line and context. Beloved characters are assigned dark motives and evil deeds, destroying the purpose and Spirit of the Bible. It was obvious the intent of this “record” is destroy the faith of Christians and defame the Savior with slander, vile language, and pure blasphemy. We felt it a miracle that the dissemination was prevented. Currently both local law enforcement and the U.S. postal system are conducting investigations. Four large mail bins of envelopes were returned to Kansas City as “suspicious” packages.
Tuesday evening we all gathered for our first mission counsel meeting. It was a spiritual feast as we discussed where we are, where we want to be, and the course needed to arrive there. Our course included learning each other’s story and heart, focusing on our own weaknesses in an effort to deeply appreciate all we’ve be able to learn at some else’s expense (particularly the Savior), and developing a gracious attitude when other’s seem to be learning at our expense. The desire was expressed that all return home better than we arrived and that each take personal responsibility for that outcome in their own lives, as well as in the lives of those we are blessed to serve with. We used Mosiah 18: 21 as a pattern. The Lord commanded that there should be no contention one with another, but we look forward with one eye and one faith, with hearts knit together in unity and love. We identified the need for all to choose not to be offended and for all to be careful not to offend. The conclusion was that the more unified we become—the more the Spirit will provide direction and the more we will be able to accomplish as we perform in unison to “beautify, maintain and improve this land and our lives. To make both presentable to the Savior.” The principles we explored would be excellent in marriages and families as well.
Wednesday I was able to take Faun, the new sister assigned to me, to the 7th center for the first time. Meeting the wonderful people who serve there and witness the good done for those currently in need never ceases to be an inspiring, satisfying experience.
Thursday Darrel and I each worked until 11:00 and then we drover to the Kansas City Bone and Joint Clinic. The outcome was not what I have prayed for. Due to the bone-on-bone condition in my left knee, a hole has been worn in the meniscus. Because of the overall condition of the joint, surgery to repair that problem is not advisable. Although the procedure would prevent my knee from locking, it would most likely increase the pain already present. The bottom line is if I want relief and greater mobility, I will have to have a total knee replacement. I have known for some time that eventuality existed, but I did not want to have it taken care of here. Our director suggested I let Elder Schwitzer know, so I did. He called almost immediately. His call helped answer some questions and find a measure of peace. Before evening I received this text from him. “I spoke with Elder Walker, and we support your surgery and want to let you know that you are in our prayers.” I will meet with a surgeon on May 2, with greater faith and trust in my heart.
Friday the Sisters enjoyed a “parade of homes” and the best progressive hors d’oeuvres luncheon I’ve ever been a part of. We visited each sisters home with a tour available as well as a small, tasty, healthy appetizer. After visiting all 14 residences, we were stuffed.
Yesterday Darrel helped me get my flower bed at the East Entrance ready to plant flowers. All the perennials have been removed and relocated in one of the new beds at Tower Hill. My flower bed will likely be disbanded when the new signs arrive, but until then annuals will be planted to beautify that area for a summer season we expect will be very busy.
Even though we know the outcome of the war we see raging in the world, it is sometimes difficult to remember when a particular battle challenges and encircles us. There are some challenges in normal life that do not exist here, but there are many that the missionaries are not spared. We’ve concluded that everyone’s faith will be tested in full measure. The real issue is for our faith to be sufficient when weighed in Heaven’s Balance. May you sense Heaven’s blessings in your life this week! Our love, Elder and Sister Kenison