May 22, 2022
We’ve had so many extra special experiences here that we wonder how that pattern can continue week after week, but it does! The Lord’s awareness of us and the desires of our hearts is evident on a frequent basis. This week was an excellent example.
Monday the sisters traveled to Liberty Hall in Lamoni with our new 2022 sisters. That facility is not open on Monday unless you make arrangements. I thought I had made arrangements, but somehow the details on the other end weren’t communicated well. The reality is they did not know we were coming that day. Yet, they had conveniently scheduled a leadership meeting in that building during the time we planned to arrive. Although mortal arrangements had been frustrated, Heaven smiled on us, and it worked out just fine. We were graciously received, and more history was shared on this day than any of my previous visits. I had been unable to see the 2nd floor on my two previous visits because of the long, steep stairs and my knees, but I was enough improved to enjoy it on this visit. We also stopped by Ada’s little shop. I’ve wished for a quilt done in the colors of our bedroom at home and watched quite carefully for one. On this visit, Ada showed us a quilt top she recently finished. It was exactly what I’ve been looking for. I asked if I could buy it before it was finished. She was surprised by the request, by agreed. It must have been a righteous desire of my heart because I felt Heaven was a part of it happening.
Each year the missionaries donate items to the Jameson annual picnic and auction. Last year there was more to auction than there was time, interest, or resources and many items were essentially given away. In our desire to be a productive part, we realized that quilts brought the most revenue. So we decided to each make a quilt together this year. Each was assigned to make two “Hunter’s Arrow” squares. I finished up my squares this week as did most of the rest. It appears that it will be lovely when finished and we’re excited to completed.
I was able to get my big flower bed at the East Entrance weeded and planted for the coming season. Most of my perennial plants had been removed and taken to the new beds at Tower Hill. Darrel and I had previously raked, leveled and hand tilled the ground, and several annual plants had been planted the day flowers arrived from the greenhouses in Nauvoo. But today was my first big session to get it in shape in the way I feel good about. It will be very different than last year, but I think it will be acceptable. At least it will not detract from the beauty and spirit we want for all our guests to experience when they come.
Darrel got the batwing serviced and ready for the season and spent a couple of days mowing and then “bat winging” the dikes and roadways in the valley. Everything is so green and beautiful now.
Thursday was the 184th anniversary of the revelation identifying this land as Adam-ondi-Ahman, or the place where Adam and Eve came after leaving the Garden of Eden. I had been in Jamesport doing some shopping and decided to swing through AOA and check on my flowerbed. In doing so I met Elder Wilcox who was asked to speak at a fireside in Gallatin in commemoration of this important anniversary. I recognized him immediately, although he didn’t know me. In visiting I invited him and his wife to join us for dinner prior to the fireside. I felt there was divine orchestration in our meeting and in that opportunity.
Speaking of anniversaries, Darrel and I celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary on Friday, May 20th. A cool spell had replaced the searing heat a week ago. The missionary couples traveled to Kansas City Temple to participate in an endowment session together. It was a powerful session for me because of my study of “Come Follow Me’ this week. Jasmin G. Rappleye identified the elements of the PATTERN used anciently to bind Israel to God through sacred covenants. This pattern forged a covenant path, established, renewed, and memorialized their relationship with God. There are six elements easily discovered in Deuteronomy.
Pre-Amble: The introduction which identifies the individuals and parties entering the agreement. It may include who, when and where.
Historical Prologue: This is a summary of the historical background between the parties; a reminder of the sacred history between them and God.
The Stipulations: These are the terms and conditions of the covenant or the formal requirements.
Formal Witness: This included the oath swearing or agreement of the terms between the parties as well as witnesses of the covenant made.
Blessings and Cursings: This is a formal declaration of fortune, or consequences based on obedience or disobedience. It is designed to impress upon the parties the serious nature of the choices they made.
Deposition: This outlines how the covenant will be remembered, memorialized and/or renewed. Examples may include monuments, festivals, or recitations.
I attended the temple that day specifically looking for these ancient elements and I found them! They were repeated again and again. Clearly God’s desire is to bring all His children back to Him to enjoy exaltation in His presence. The perfect pattern was established with Israel in the form of commandments and covenant. That pattern continues today as we strive to live His higher law. The commandments lead us to behaviors that assure personal growth and worthiness so we can enjoy the blessings associated with the covenants we make. The commandments and covenants together forge the “covenant path” that leads us individually back to the presence of God.
Friday evening we had Elder and Sister Wilcox and Elder and Sister Cole, (now serving in Nauvoo) over for dinner. These couples had previously served as missionaries together at AOA. We felt blessed to help facilitate that reunion. We attended the fireside together that evening. What a treat to feel Elder Wilcox’s passion for the history of the saints who established a settlement here. He shared details of the lives of a few who came. Clearly they were each born and prepared for the time they lived and those he mentioned remained true in every trial and condition. One I found fascinating was Benjamin Franklin Johnson.
Benjamin was a young single 20-year-old man when the saints settled here. The plot he received as his “inheritance” was very rocky and he never built a cabin, although a site was selected. His ground included a portion of Tower Hill and the prophet Joseph told him that it was there Adam and Even first built an altar. Benjamin went on the serve as Joseph’s secretary in Nauvoo. He and his bride, Melissa, were the first couple sealed in this dispensation. They were sealed, May 16, 1843. Benjamin later served in the Utah Territorial Legislature for 12 years before being sent to help colonize the Mesa, Arizona area. He is buried in the Mesa Cemetery.
Saturday, Darrel and I enjoyed a 46th anniversary adventure as we visited Marceline, Missouri. Walt Disney lived there for five years as a child when their family moved from Chicago to run a 45-acre farm. Their old farmhouse has been remodeled into a beautiful home today. We visited the ground where the family worked and stood near where Walt’s “Dreaming Tree” stood. Their old barn has rebuilt. This barn was the inspiration for the one depicted in “So Dear To My Heart,” and a similar one was built in his backyard in Holmby Hills, California. That barn was used as his personal workshop and is regarded as the birthplace of Disney Imagineering. Many of Walt’s films had remnants of his time in Marceline. It was a beautiful time in his life.
That same day we visited the birthplace of John Joseph Pershing, a great general in U.S. military history. As we learned more about him, I was embarrassed that his name meant nothing to me when we arrived. Since it’s nearly Memorial Day, a time for remembering those who served our country in the past, I am including a link that outlines the amazing life and accomplishments of this man. It will be 30 minutes well spent.
One more quick miracle this week involved our speaker for Memorial Day. Darrel and I are in charge of organizing that event. We felt led to a man who could give a keynote address following our breakfast. We learned he is recovering from heart surgery and had developed a coughing condition that was complicated when speaking. He wanted to accept the invitation and asked that we give him a day or two to answer since he was going to the doctor’s the following day. I assured him we would ask the missionaries to pray for him. I mentioned President Nelson’s counsel to pray for and expect miracles and offered to join or faith and prayers for a miracle of healing in his life. I was not surprised, but most grateful to hear from him the next day. He reported that he was certain he would be able to join us, and we both understood why. God is Good! Life is Wonderful! The Gospel is true!
Our Love, Elder and Sister K