Sizzling summer came too fast for us this week. We had multiple days of 90 plus weather and the kind of humidity that snatches your breath. In spite of that— we had a wonderful week! We are more in awe of the saints who were Missouri for the summer of 1838 without AC or dehumidifiers.
We had our joint FHE on Monday at the home of Paul and Christie Allen, wonderful members who live near AOA. They bought their current home in December of 2020 after raising the majority of their family in Utah. They have been drawn to this area for years as they have documented the growth of their eight children along with a tree they sought out at each visit. Christie has become a familiar face to us as she often walks AOA listening to her headset while learning the alto part of music the Tabernacle Choir plans to perform next. Before moving here, she had made her way through the arduous process of becoming a member of that choir and had made a commitment to serve in that capacity for five years. One of the requirements is living within a specified distance of Temple Square. Thus, they sold and got premium dollar for their home in Utah and bought this home and property here within walking distance of Adam-ondi-Ahman. They also rented a small apartment in Utah and left Christie’s membership records there until her commitment is fulfilled. Currently she flies to Utah every Thursday morning to practice and perform with the choir, and then flies home on Sunday evening. That is dedication to a calling and a commitment!
Paul and Christie’s youngest daughter, Sabrina, is a concert pianist. Christie and her daughter entertained us with several songs that included a couple of piano solos. Then Christie told us everything we ever thought we might want to know about being in the choir, including introducing us to the network of underground rooms and tunnels under the tabernacle and temple square. The price to sing in the choir is high on many levels for hundreds of people, but the spiritual rewards and unique opportunities far outweigh them. Her enthusiasm, energy, and testimony assured us that it true.
Tuesday I ended up seeing an ER doctor for symptoms I have dealt with for a long time. I think the heat and humidity forced that decision which led to a diagnosis of pulmonary congestion. I wasn’t happy to see that doctor, but certainly grateful for how much better I’ve felt the past few days after the right kind of medication. I still have a ways to go to get to the cause of the problem. I’ve often complained about the merits of merely treating symptoms, but this week I was happy to be the beneficiary of common practice.
Wednesday evening we had the sweetest surprise. Mark and Willetta Hogan came to AOA as part of their personal Church History tour. Mark grew up in our neighborhood and is still good friends with my brother, Kieth. We invited the Hogans to dinner and had a wonderful visit reminiscing life in Payson, Utah in the 1960’s. Mark’s dad was my childhood doctor and delivered our first three children. It is such a blessing to visit with those who’ve made their pilgrimage here for the chance to connect with both ancient past and glorious future in hopes that their faith, hope, resolve and testimony will be validated and strengthened. That is especially true when they are people we love and know.
Thursday morning all the 2021 and 2022 couples met in the Kansas City Temple for a singular opportunity. Elder Bonnet made arrangements for us to all be in a large sealing room together to perform ordinances for our family members. The Spirit in the room was tangible and all felt the presence of loved-ones unseen. Elder Bonnett made that comment that he felt like he was in the Celestial Kingdom. I guess that’s because we were among some of the finest people we’ve ever known. They are of one heart and one mind, and there are no poor among us temporally, emotionally, or spiritually. It’s a group with the common goal of loving and serving God with heart, might, mind and strength and of serving one another at the same level. What a blessing to be in that sacred place with this group of Zion people.
That evening we were blessed to meet a few local Elders at Tower Hill prior to three of them headed to foreign assignments, soon. One of headed to So. Africa, one to Jamaica and one to Ireland. Elder Green is one of the AP’s that brought them here. Amazingly, yet not surprisingly, his father is business partners with our nephew Austin Kenison and grew up across the street from our nephew Glen Marvin for a time. Our having that last minute assignment was not a coincidence. We felt the strength of the rising generation through them and know the future is in good hands in the Church.
Friday we had a big tour bus with a flat tire at Tower Hill. Our mechanics had that under control in record time. The sisters involved helped make it a time all involved with remember with fondness and gratitude.
Speaking of flat tires, Elder Lynn Peterson, who helped our grandkids and I with our flat tire at Far West, came to AOA with his sweet wife, Pam yesterday. They arrived in time for breakfast with no time constraints and a desire to learn all we’ve learned in a year—in one day! It was so rewarding to feel like I was able to repay his kindness, especially in a way that is so enjoyable to us. They arrived strangers and left at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon as dear friends. Elder and Sister Peterson are FM missionaries for the historical sites in Missouri. They take care of the grounds at Far West, at Hawn’s Mill, in Richmond, and in Independence. Elder Peterson mentioned he had been recently been at Governor Bogg’s home in Independence mowing lawns. I couldn’t imagine why any member of the Church of Jesus Christ would be willing to do that for free. Governor Boggs signed the extermination order! Then he shared a sweet story. He said the Church now owns that property. It was deeded to the Church by a descendant of Governor Boggs who is likewise a member, in hopes of making some restitution for all the saints suffered because of one man’s actions.
Our meetings today were exceptionally wonderful. Our new missionaries have brought so much strength with them. We learned from one the difficult path of children whose parents choose to leave the church and have their records removed from the records. Gratefully, working with a sister and with the blessings of heaven, some made their way back to the restored gospel. Their journey was long and painful. They were able to petition the First Presidency to have their parent’s decision reversed for their father and have him sealed to his parents. Family History has the power to change hearts on both sides of the veil. I know that it true from my own experience.
Eldred G. Smith spoke in the Oct. 1974 General Conference. He said something that brings joy to us as we serve in the temple, in indexing, and in preparing this sacred place for prophesied events.
“The story is told that Satan called a council of his agents and asked how they would combat the forces of righteousness. One said, “I’ll go and tell them it isn’t true.” Satan said, “No, that wouldn’t do.” The second said, “I’ll tell them it’s only half true.” “No,” Satan said, “that’s not enough.” The third said, “I’ll go and tell them it’s all true, but there is no need to hurry.” “Go,” Satan said. “That will get them every time.” Lucifer cannot win. We must do the Lord’s work for our ancestors, or the earth would be “wasted at his coming.” (JS—H 1:39.) It seems that the destiny of this earth depends on whether or not we get this temple work done. The gospel has been restored in these the last days never to be taken from the earth again, to bring the blessings of salvation and exaltation to all God’s children who prove their worthiness through their faithfulness. The purpose of this earth and our life here is to give each and every one of Adam’s posterity the opportunity to end this life as a family unit for all eternity.”
How grateful we feel to be apart the work of gathering Israel on both sides of the veil. We definitely feel an urgency that is ever-present. We also feel an increased joy as we watch in awe as the Lord hastens His work. We learned that with each new temple dedicated, they total number of ordinances done daily increases by 3000! President Nelson has announced over 100! We know that God’s His work and glory is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)We also know from D&C 11:20 what our work is. “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength”
We are so blessed to be here working at a level never before available to accomplish “our work,” and to assist the Lord in His. This unique time as allowed us to feel closer to the Savior than ever before, to feel of His love more deeply each day, to see His power moving throughout the earth, and to develop greater faith and hope in His promised return.
This week while studying the struggles of the Children and Israel as recorded in Numbers, we could see anew that although these people were ALL called, very few were chosen and allowed to enter the promised land. The difference was determined by how each used their God-given agency. May we each feel the urgency to choose THIS DAY whom we will serve and then make it a daily priority. That’s our goal! May it be yours, too!
We love you! Elder and Sister Kenison