October 23, 2022

Judy Smith and I

It was a blessing to have Janna and her boys with us most of this week.  They missed the open house we hosted for Judy Smith last Sunday evening, but they came before bedtime. The open house was a great success.  We were thrilled at how many couples came and to witness how touched Judy was.  Elder and Sister Dabb, 2020 missionaries, had planned to join us, but were unable last minute due to some medical concerns.  Gratefully they were able to participate via FaceTime. That is a modern miracle I never ceases to amaze me.

Ammon and Janna

We had several garage bags full of vegetation after winterizing my garden spot.

Monday we stayed pretty close to home since Janna and her boys had traveled so far the previous two days. It was a chilly, but we met Darrel at my flowerbed and prepared it for winter.  It has been so gorgeous this summer, but with frost predicted for two nights, we felt it best to remove the flowers before they were limp and slimy. We took a lunch, but ended up having our picnic at Tower Hill in the car.  That evening we met with the other missionaries for FHE.  We’ve tried to maintain a few traditions from missionary couples while serving.   Elder and Sister Snow’s family makes gingerbread houses at Christmas time and then they blow them up on New Year’s Eve. 😊  We gathered on Monday evening to make Halloween houses instead.  Each had three M-100’s inside to dispose of them once we’d enjoyed them for a few days.  There were some amazing, haunted houses! Janna and I made ours using pop tarts.

The quilt behind us was inducted into the Museum the day we visited.

Shelley Estes is one of the local people we have all come to love.  She owns a fabric shop in Jamesport.  She left her shop with Rob that day so she could take us to the Quilt Museum in Hamilton. Her donation to the museum allowed us to all visit free.  We couldn’t believe we’d never been since it’s so close.  A new “Missouri” quilt was being inducted into the museum that day, and the Governor was expected to be there later.  Quilting is a beautiful art form, and without question each contains a story.  Even Janna’s boys found some exhibits that amazed them.  The other missionaries went to lunch with Shelley, but we went on to Far West to the little store there.  We ended up coming home by way of Cameron so we could find some yarn for Janna to finish up the projects she was making as gifts for our Amish Friends.

Wednesday I took Janna and her boys to the Seventh Center in Gallatin.  I wanted them to meet the sweet Christian people who work there and do some treasure hunting in the store.  It is a one-of-a-kind experience.  We drove to Lamoni just before noon so we could say good-bye to our Amish friends there and take a few gifts.  Andy Gingerich made each of our children a lazy-Susan last year for Christmas. I asked him to make one for me, too, and he did.  He and his wife, Lovina, have six beautiful children ranging for one to twelve years.  Janna had made a had made gift for each of the children and one for Lovina.  I left a Book of Mormon for Andy with my testimony in it along with a few treats and surprises for the kids.  Andy is ingenious, ambitious, and steady of heart.  He is a deep thinker and a seeker of truth, so there was no gift I felt would be of greater value, especially in light of recent council to find ways to share the Book of Mormon with others.  I also picked up my quilt from Ada Schwartzentruber. There is nobility in her presence and having a quilt made by her is something I really wanted as a souvenir of our time here.  It will be perfect on our bed at home.  We were lucky to be in Lamoni during recess at the little Amish School, so I got to say good-bye to Malinda, Rebecca, Jacob and Moses.  The three oldest children had made gifts for me that I’ll treasure forever. Janna was also able to meet Steve Smith and enjoy a tour of Liberty Hall, the mansion home of Joseph Smith III.  It tugged at my heart to know I may never see these wonderful people in Lamoni, Iowa—again in this life.  We stopped on the way home so Janna, Ammon and Sam could experience eating at “Toot-Toots” in Bethany, Missouri.

Thursday was our Tower Hill, Jamesport, and Chillicothe day. Our visit to Tower Hill was unique because the Sisters were clearing the flowerbeds and Darrel was working there on the new restroom.  We came just after the cement truck and the boys thought that was fun to watch them fill the cinder blocks full of concrete.  We all found some bargains at Sherwood Landing and Beechie’s Bargains.  Both are Amish discount stores.  No visit here is complete without experiencing some treasure hunting in those stores! We had a picnic at the park in Chillicothe, the town with gorgeous murals on the walls of the buildings.  I picked up Darrel’s boots.  They were new when we arrived, and he had completely worn out the soles.  We felt fortunate to find someone who still does that!

These are each a descendant of Robert Taylor and Sarah Anna Garr Burton.

Friday was a home day.  Janna learned to mow using the zero-turn mowers used here and mowed a good share of our lawn.  Darrel took the boys fishing and frog hunting while Janna packed and rested for the long journey home.  The boy’s shoes were unrecognizable after chasing the little frogs, but it was something they’ll never forget.  That evening we had a Beach Party potluck dinner followed by an activity that was a blast.  Most of the missionaries blew up their haunted houses so the boys could be a part of that.  I doubt they’ll forget that evening!.  Darrel’s cousin, Nelson Burton, and his wife Nancy arrived just in time for the Beach Party.

Janna and the boys headed west just before 5:30 a.m.  She took several totes home for us since we’ll be headed home soon as well. We took Nelson and Nancy to Liberty Hall in Lamoni in the morning and then took a tour of Adam-ondi-Ahman in the evening.  It was warm enough to use the Rangers which enhances that experience in my mind. 

Having visitors with us at Church helps us remember what a rare and wonderful opportunity we have to be in this sacred place. Our guests remind us how uncommon the Spirit is during our meetings and what a privilege it is to partake of the sacrament here and recall not only our covenants, but a future sacrament meeting here with the faithful of all dispensations.  This land acts as a welding link between the past, present and future.  Those serving here feel that unique combination every day and love to share it with others.  Darrel took Nelson and Nancy to Hawn’s Mill and Far West this afternoon so I could take care of some business here.  My brother, Kent is helping me put the 2022 Mission Video together.  He’s been amazing and we needed to do some final tweaking so it will be ready in time.  It’s been an emotional project because of the beautiful memories and the reminder that our time here is rapidly coming to an end.  I can’t wait to share it!

This evening we will have the Swaseys and Prettymans (Both are missionaries currently serving.) here for dinner, along with Nelson and Nancy Burton.   Nelson is here visiting his first cousin, Darrel, and also his first cousin, Merrill Swasey.   Darrel’s uncle married Merrill’s aunt and making that connection was sweet!  Nelson’s wife, Nancy, is related to the Prettyman’s and her sister served with them in Nauvoo.  This will be a true cousin reunion dinner.

Here’s some food for thought: “The cost of true discipleship is high, because the companionship of the Spirit is priceless!”    Have a great week!

2 thoughts on “October 23, 2022

  1. Sounds like a wonderful week ❣️ That’s so good that Janna and the boys got to experience AOA with you and Darrel as their guides. Love ya, Wendy Sent from my iPhone

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