It’s been two weeks since I shared a post. I flew to Utah on May 26th, to be with my family as my father passed through the veil. I learned that death is a process like birth, and is just as painful. I thought it was difficult to see a daughter in labor, but watching my dad during his last few days was even more painful. I grateful we had Bonnie, a lifetime friend and expert hospice nurse nearby. I’ve had a prayer in my heart that Dad would live until I returned from our mission. It was not what I expected, but I felt he did just that twice. He endured until I was able to fly home, and he held on the morning he passed until I arrived from Lehi. His passing was a sacred moment that my sister and I experienced together and will never forget. I am more sure than every that there is life after death, and there is an unseen world that we can occasionally feel very near. I felt his services were the perfect tribute to a life well lived. Working with my siblings to pull things together made me even more grateful to be a part of an awesome forever family.
Our daughter in Japan didn’t make it home for Dad’s funeral, but has had the opportunity to help with the Tokyo Temple open house. Today they attended with their children. It was their blessing to be the Celestial Room with just their family. Karrie reported, “Andy and I got to be the tour guides for our family. When we got to the celestial room it was just our family. We sat down and I was thinking how great it was that we were all together and I got the strongest feeling that Grandpa Marvin was visiting the celestial room at the Tokyo temple with us!”
I’ve had similar feelings since returning to Adam-ondi-Ahman
I loved being home with family and doing a few fun things together, but there was a part of me that sensed I did not belong there. I made a couple of trips and visited a few of my favorite people in Levan. My good friend, Maggie, traveled from Cedar City to have lunch with me and I was so pleased. In spite of that, my heart kept reminding me that my place is at Adam-ondi-Ahman for now, and it felt good to be back home.
I was grateful that my great companion was willing to stay here and take care of all our commitments. Darrel hosted a breakfast and devotional on Memorial Day at our home. He even made the breakfast casserole with a bit of coaching and reports indicate the event was had powerful impact on many who attended. He also worked our shift at the Jameson Fish Fry. We had to divide to conquer, and it sounds like he did just that.
Our week here has been as wonderful as any. One day we had 13 tour buses and they just keep coming. More and more are being drawn to this sacred place and it’s especially good to see our youth coming by the hundreds! Abundant rain and hot days make it possible to see the crops grow day by day. The Grand River was at flood capacity this week, but gratefully it only peaked into the valley. Our “Grand River Beach” was submerged for a day or two.
Monday we had Jeff and Margaret Cooper here for a visit. They had their youngest son and two daughters with some grandchildren. We were able to share AOA with them and it was a thrill for us. Perhaps the children enjoyed the private fishing most, but none will forget what they felt here.
We had Kim and Carol Rindlisbacher here on Thursday and it was a treat to watch them experience AOA for the first time. (Kim is the uncle of Troy Rindlisbacher who is a member of our Stake Presidency.) We sensed immediately that they are bed-rock Christian people.
The highlight of the week was a visit from Elder and Sister Schwitzer. Elder Schwitzer’s message was one he had prayed and pondered about a lot as he prepared. He spoke of our need to be very cautious about giving offense. He referred to Proverbs 18:19. “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
Elder Schwitzer mentioned the New Testament counsel that if “thine eye offend thee” it should be plucked out and removed far from us. He explained that our eyes offend us when we look at the world and those around us from anything but an eternal perspective.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, the Bishop in Jerusalem for a time, a great healer, and martyr for the truth, offered some great counsel on the instrument most responsible for giving offense. James said, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle his whole body.” James 3:2.
Then James offers some insightful metaphors to give insight into the nature and power of the tongue. He offers the imagery of bits in a horse’s mouth, the helm of a ship, raging fire, and wild beasts. (See James 3: 3-10) We were asked to be very careful about the words we utter realizing that they are powerful for good or evil and are hard to recall once said. Words that bless and heal come from a heart that is pure and full of peace.
Elder Schwitzer offered five suggestions to help us achieve that worthy goal.
- Sow seeds of righteousness in the hearts of those you meet. Truth is the fertilizer of righteousness, and the fruit is produced by our attitudes, the way we behave, and the self-control we exhibit.
- Be gentle in our interactions. Invite questions and become easy to be entreated. We should seek to understand before we seek to be understood.
- Be full of mercy and forgiveness. The spirit of forgiveness collapses walls more than anything else. We should make it our intension to help others be a little better.
- Seek to do good. Good is not measured by a checklist, but rather the ability access and follow the Spirit. Enjoy being a Christian! Be open, kind and loving rather than exclusive in our behavior. The narrower our views, the more we will offend others.
- Strive to align our walk with our talk. Look for the good everywhere and reflect it back into the world. Hypocrisy is often the product of pre-mature judgement. Leave judgement to God.
Elder Causse’ is visiting Adam-ondi-Ahman today with sixteen other men. We are excited to learn of their visit and to hasten the preparation of this sacred land and ourselves. May we each have a week avoid of offense. That requires being careful to not give offense, and the determination to not take offense. May this glorious work never leave us behind! Our love to all! Elder and Sister Kenison