OCTOBER 16, 2022

It’s beginning to feel like there is more than one Sunday each week. The days go by so quickly that it’s a bit scary.  Yet, even after 18 months, each day bring new opportunities and blessings.  We had a few 2020 missionaries visit last  weekend.  Our mentors,  Tim and Doris Bastian, stayed on until Monday.  After our prayer meeting, Sister Bastian said she’d like to for me to go to Tower Hill with her for a few minutes. That’s a place I don’t need much encouragement to revisit. As we walked down the path in the solitude and crisp autumn air, we met a man we soon learned was Elder Schwitzer’s son, Paul.  We visited for a few minutes which opened an opportunity to share some feelings and insights that would not have happened without the “chance” meeting.  I’ve made the walk into Tower Hill dozens of times, but this visit will forever stand out in my mind.

Tuesday we had our interview with Elder and Sister Schwitzer.  We were saddened to learn that Elder Walker had been released just two days before because of health concerns. However, that means the Schwitzers will be back in November and that thought brought a measure of joy. We’ve come to love both Elder and Sister Schwitzer.  This visit they brought two daughters and a son.  In no time at all they felt like family as well. That evening we had our GA dinner and fireside. Jeff and Jenny Ellsworth were sustained as the 2022-2023 new directors.  They will replace Bob and Jane Dunford when we head west. They have our full confidence!

We heard from all the Schwitzer’s that evening.  I’ll share one “take-away” from them.

Paul said he learned as a child that if you stand close to a pool for too long, you will end up wet whether you wanted to or not.  He suggested that the same is true with the philosophies, attitudes, and practices of the world. If we wish to remain unspotted for the world, it is best we not spend too much time associating with them.

Sarah suggested we learn what our gifts are and share them.  The Lord can use them all to build His Kingdom.  We can simply “Do well what we do” and trust that it is enough.

Kathy taught us to watch for the WOW’s in our life.  WOW is an acronym for “Words of Wisdom.”   Two WOWs in her life came from family members.  One was, “Birds always peck at the best seeds.”  The second, “Be aware of what truly makes you happy. It will lead you to the covenant path.”

Elder Schwitzer spoke of preparing our families for the Second Coming.  Our focus should be to do all we can to promote righteousness rather than all we can to expose wickedness. God will take care of wickedness when there are enough Zion people prepared to join Him and do His work during the millennium.  He mentioned that the events prophesied prior to the Second Coming are cataclysmic in nature.  He pointed out that at other eras of cataclysmic proportion, God has provided an “ark.”  For Noah it was a physical ark that was the source of saving his family.  For the Children of Israel it was the “ark” of the covenant, their covenant relationship with God that offered the needed protection.  Moses parting the Red Sea is an example of the power God has to protect and lead those willing to follow His prophet.  It is also an example of His power to destroy those who opposed His purposes.

So what is our Ark today?  It is our family! The proclamation gives instruction on how to construct families that will serve as an “ark” against the world we live in.  The direction toward a family centered, church supported Church helped us step up a notch on the gospel learning and teaching in our homes.  Elder Cook said this was the greatest revelation received in the last 100 years!  In addition the Church has moved away from hard, fast checklists and moved toward learning correct principles and inviting the Spirit to  help us govern ourselves.  The want the ark of our family to be inviting and safe for all.  It is one that the door is always open and beckoning.  Elder Schwitzer suggested FIVE principles that must be included to accomplish this. 

1. We must make certain that all in our family truly understand and believe that God is our Father.  He is the most powerful being in the Universe and is overall. 

2. We must assume the responsibility to teach the gospel in a way that points the light we offer towards the Savior, first and foremost.

3. We must emphasize the divine roles of mothers and fathers, being certain our example is worthy of emulation.

4. We must believe and teach that relationships are sacred and worth what they take to build and maintain them.  In doing this we create a safety net for each other in time of need.

5. We must listen intently to current prophets and identify with the help of the Spirit what is in them for you and your current situation.  We can hear the Lord’s Voice to us easily when that is the intent and desire of our hearts.

Wednesday I helped at the 7th Center in Gallatin for the last time.  This is a place where Christians of several faiths join forces to bless and lift the lives of those in the community.  It is a pattern that is critical today.  It doesn’t matter who takes the lead in such endeavors.  Serving there has been one of the great blessings of my mission. 

Thursday we picked all the apples on the trees at AOA. We got over 70 gallons of fresh pressed juice!

Scott and Kris Cunningham

Friday we somehow ended up with a temple missionary couple from Nauvoo needing a tour of AOA.   It should not have been our opportunity, but it turned out to be a great blessing to us.  Scott and Kris Cunningham are amazing people.  Scott had a massive stroke years ago and should not be walking or talking, but he is.  In fact, he and Kris have served more than one mission.  As soon as the Nauvoo Temple re-opens after cleaning, they will return and work seven hours a day there.  The resilience, meekness, strength and pure goodness we felt in them was inspiring!  Their visit here was extra special because they were so prepared to feel and enjoy the Spirit.  We felt it was a blessing to have a chance to be a part of that.  They ended up spending Friday night in our home. Once again, we had guests come as strangers and leave as dear friends.

This store is in the original location. One interior wall is from Sidney Gilbert’s store.
Saturday Darrel and I went on a walking tour in Independence Missouri to visit some historical sites there.  We stood were Bishop Partridge lived, where Sidney Gilbert’s store stood, where WW Phelps had a printing press that was destroyed,  and the place where Governor Boggs home stood when someone tried to assassinate him.  We chuckled to remember that Porter Rockwell was blamed for that attempt. His response was, “If he’s still alive, it wasn’t me.”  
We were on the corner where Sydney Rigdon preached and in the street where Bishop Partridge was tarred and feathered. Our time here has connected us with the sacrifice, resilience, and valor of the early saints.  The Spirit honors those places of sacrifice with an extra portion of its presence. I will truly miss standing where the early saints lived.  I will miss living where Adam and Eve lived.  But I hope a part of our time here has penetrated so deep in our hearts that it has become a part of who we are. 
Check out the roaster stick!
We had a “beach” party on the Grand River that evening with a big group of missionaries.   We roasted hotdogs and laughed around the campfire.   It’s really just a large sand bar, but it’s as close to a beach as we have here. 😊 Our memories there are treasures to us. 
Janna and her two youngest boys will arrive this evening.  We are also hosting an open house this evening for Sister Judy Smith to bid farewell to our missionary group.  She was one of the 2020 missionaries and has since lost her husband.  Elder and Sister Dabb were scheduled to be here, too.  But Sister Dabb had a scare with her heart recently and didn’t feel it was safe to travel so far.  We’re grateful for the technology that will allow them to join us anyway.

I’m planning on this next week being one of the best so far.  I hope you’ll do the same!

One thought on “OCTOBER 16, 2022

  1. Sounds like another fabulous week at AOA. I’m sure the experiences you have had there will always be a part of you forever. On Mom and Nadine’s birthday Camille and Kelly came down to celebrate with Sarah and I. We had lunch together at one of our favorite reunion spots at the campground just passed Black Hawk. It was so good to have a chance to just sit in the sun and recall good times together and hear about their family. Then for supper we moved down to the Payson Canyon Park(Beer Can Flats) and the kids and grandkids joined us for another October 10th birthday celebration (Mom has three grand and great-grandchildren born on her birthday also). Keep making those wonderful memories and blessing lives.

    Love ya, Wendy

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