Spring has finally arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman! The Grand River is quite high which means we’ve had a lot of rain this past week. Even so, we’ve had some unique and memorable moments this week that have added to the beauty of the land awakening. We’ve had a chance to share this sacred place that is so dear to us, with two couples that have enriched our lives, one long term and the other since we arrived on our mission.
Last Sunday afternoon we finally got Truman and Debbie Pratt here for an “insider” tour. Truman is a direct descendant of Parley P. Pratt and a favorite nephew of Rebecca Tollefson, who is an adopted Grandmother to our children. Truman and his family live in Cameron, a city near here and we met them about a year ago. I can’t remember anyone more prepared to soak in the rich history and the Spirit that is ever present. Elder Pratt came with two pages of written questions that resulted from his study prior to coming. Our time, study and access to the Spirit allowed us to answer them all. Our time together will always be a joyful memory.
The beautification project at Tower Hill is nearing fruition. The grass is growing, and the flower beds have been assigned and are ready to plant. A few sister drove down to the Kansas City Temple on Monday to picked up some grasses to be planted here that will further tie that location to this. White Oak was harvested from AOA during the building of the Temple for use in various features there in the temple.
Darrel’s week included removal of concrete from two flowerbeds taken out recently and hauling it to the “Grand Canyon” to help with erosion controls efforts on the south side of the valley. He helped plane some lumber to replace the rotten wood on the roof of the barn being restored. He helped finish the staining of the Pavilion in preparation for three busloads of local Single Adults to use this past weekend for a conference. It was the first large group to use it and seeing them gathered made many smile. Darrel also took care of mowing the Jameson Park and started spraying a new crop of thistle growing along the pond at the Ransom House, as well as some sapling thorny locust in the pasture. Discovering the large crop needing to be sprayed, he picked up another 20 gallons from a business in Gilman City.
One Tuesday the sisters stayed after our texting shift to complete a project to make every student in the Jameson School a beautiful pillowcase. Sister Steffensen purchased the majority of the fabric at the scraps sale in the Missouri Star Quilt stores in Hamilton. She had the inspiration and vision for the project. Sister Snow had the skills and knowhow to simplify it. In all we made 70 pillows cases using the “burrito” sewing method. Representatives from the school are coming next week to pick them up. It has been a rewarding, fun project that we hope shares a bit of the love we feel for this little village and the love we know God has for all of His children.
Wednesday our friends from Levan, Andrew and Celeste Robinson arrived. Andrea is 27 and she can’t remember anyone but Andrew and his boys serving as our home teachers and then ministering brother. Celeste is my current R.S. President, so we felt loved and blessed by their visit.
Thursday Robinsons joined us for prayer meeting and then I took them on our “circuit” tour that includes Hawn’s Mill, Far West, Eminence, Three Witnesses Monument, Alexander Doniphan Memorial, and the David Whitmer grave site. Darrel didn’t go with us, but he took care of dinner by ordering a deluxe pizza from Casey’s. That evening Darrel and I were responsible for teaching scripture study that evening. One of the powerful principles in D&C 103 is the critical role a Zion people play in establishing Zion. Zion can never exist without a Zion people! I loved this quote by President Hinckley. “While the world’s standards generally may totter, we of the Church are without excuse if we drift in the same manner. We have standards—sure, tested, and effective. To the extent that we observe them, we shall go forward. To the extent that we neglect them, we shall hinder our own progress and bring embarrassment to the work of the Lord. These standards have come from Him. Some of them may appear a little out-of-date in our society, but this does not detract from their validity nor diminish the virtue of their application. The subtle reasoning of men, no matter how clever, no matter how plausible it may sound, cannot abridge the declared wisdom of God.”
Friday we were delighted to learn that Andrew and Celeste were celebrating their 34th anniversary. Although the weather wasn’t all we had hoped for, we spent the day enjoying Adam-ondi-Ahman together, with a detour to Jamesport while the weather settled some. We found the Spirit of AOA is not affected by weather. The noble ones who walked this land and sacrificed to build the foundation on which we stand never wavers. That evening we enjoyed a movie together that captures the secret of any long-term marriage. It is a Hallmark Movie entitled, “The Magic of Ordinary Days.” The message is clear that deep abiding love is more like the currents of the ocean than the waves on the shore. It comes by working together day in and day out while discovering the power of ordinary things to produce love and loyalty over time.
Yesterday we made a trip to Lamoni for visit a few of our Amish friends. Andy Gingerich was working in his shop and gave us a tour of the ingenious ways he has developed to produce beautiful woodwork without the use of electricity. We also had a tour of the Joseph Smith III mansion home, now called Liberty Hall. Learning how the history and interests of the Re-organized Church (now the Community Church of Christ) intertwine with ours is fascinating. There is no doubt Joseph’s descendance have enjoyed a portion of God’s blessings and there are good Christians among the church they established today. Steve Smith, our tour guide is one of those. In the evening, we all joined forces to burn the “suspicious” packages left by a postal worker in the work center. Knowing a bit of the evil content contained in the “The Book of Aaron” made them a distraction to me every time I was there. It was most satisfying to see all twenty reduced to ash!
Today our meetings were postponed until afternoon so Elder and Sister Walker, could join us for Fast and Testimony meeting. Because Andrew and Celeste had arranged to be in Nauvoo by late afternoon, we went to the Spring Hills ward with them this morning. It was a treat to hear so many singing, have longer to ponder during the sacrament, and hear little people’s voices throughout the services. Robinsons left shortly after noon.
As we gathered with the missionaries this afternoon for sacrament meeting, there was some excited anticipation for Walker’s arrival. Little did we know this meeting would fulfill a much longer anticipated day. It’s hard to describe our feelings as we saw Ben and Zack Cox, and JoAnn enter the building. They with Del Ray Cox, farm the majority of the land here and graze several hundred cows. From a historian’s perspective, missionaries come and go, but the Cox family remains constant. Ben, his brother Del Ray and son, Zack’s history preparing and beautifying this land is longer than any recorded, except Elder Doxey and Elder Peterson as far as I know. I believe that is significant and not an accident!
Our calendar for May is full and we plan to enjoy every visitor, every opportunity, and every day. We feel we’ve already been changed for the better, and hope that trend continues. We love you and feel your thoughts and prayers.