A New Year BeginsJanuary 4, 2015
The Christmas tree is down. Our Pandora channels have changed. The new year has begun. I know that all our dear ones in Show Low have enjoyed a fullblown winter. What a wonderful thing! Our Ethan turned 14 on Christmas Eve. I always think of the whole world celebrating his birth on that night. He was born on an early Sunday morning. Oh, his eyes were so alert! If he could have talked, we would have learned some really interesting things about where he just came from. What a tale of travel it would have been! This year I am a little sorry that the youth in the stake didn't get to see him at his first stake dance due to the snow on New Year's Eve.
I have gained such an appreciation for missionaries in the field this week. They don't stop. The work goes forward. The ones that have been in to the office have talked about skyping with their families. Many said it was "weird". That is because they are so engrossed in the Lord's work that they lose touch with the mundane things of the world back home. Yesterday, I got to ride again with my elder to the far reaches of the mission looking for apartments for missionaries. The air was oh, so cold and the sky was oh, so dreary all day. (Please notice below my state atlas and the blanket that our McKenzie made for us.I so love having both of them in that gray mission van.) I can't help but wonder about a new senior couple coming in from Georgia to open up a new town that has a few less active members. They're inactive partly because they all have to drive to a chapel many miles away from their homes. The mission couples who are called to be member support in struggling, way-out-of-the-way wards and branches can lead lonely lives as they beat the bushes. I so admire them.
I always look for any historical site to pull into on our travels. Seems like we are drawn to cemetaries. There are some beautiful ones in this state. We saw Jim Bridger's monument yesterday. Talk about a lonely life. He made lots of quiet trips from here to the big wide open west. I want to meet him someday. Was the beauty and majesty of this beautiful world enough to keep him plowing ahead? I want to know what makes people like that tick. I would be depressed without my elder by my side to jabber with. What makes old people pack up their house in warm, beautiful Georgia (he reported to my elder on the phone that it is warm) and come out to a lonely little town in Missouri to find and activate members? I hope we can answer that one. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all that matters in all of our travels wherever they may take us.
In less than five years, our Ethan will be traveling again to a new, lonely place to share what he knows about the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen. And they will. He will skype his family at Christmas. His mom will cry. Then, he will hang up and he will say, "that was weird," and go back to work.
Rambling Thoughts...The Missouri Independence Mission baptised approximately 485 people in the 2014 year. The goal was 500. So close and yet so far away. But the work is growing here and seems to be on the upswing. I am sure the new goal will be far larger than last year. I have heard about the creation of new wards in some of the stakes the mission covers. The odd thing about the mission right now is that the number of missionaries is shrinking. We are sending home more than we are getting in the next few transfers. We are getting more sisters than elders in the transfer this week.
Did you know that a temple has been built and is operating in Jackson County Missouri? Can you imagine that? Jackson County kicked us out 160 + years ago. They tarred and feathered us. They burned our newspaper offices and smashed our printing presses. They burned our houses to the ground. They murdered our people. They imprisoned our church leaders. But today a new Kansas City Temple is operating in Jackson County Missouri. I don't think it will be the last temple to be built in this county. When the 63 acre temple lot was dedicated at Independence, Joseph Smith's plans were to build 24 temples on the temple lot. There were going to serve as Libraries, School, Church Administrative Offices, chapels, etc. It was to be the center place of Zion. The headquarters of the Church on this continent. It has not happened yet. I walk and work on these sacred grounds everyday and wonder when it will happen. and how it will happen. Many things will have to change.
Sister Seaman mentioned that we see a lot of cemetaries. The Washinton Cemetary is a beautiful, old, big one. It is just a few blocks from here. She and I drove through it and wondered at all the old gravesites and crypts. We came across a rather large, ornate one that holds the remains of four of the Nelson family. Mr. Nelson lived in the last half of the 18th century and died in the first half of the 19th century. Mr. Nelson, his wife and daughter and her husband are interred there. He must have been very wealthy (His personal wealth was estimated to be over $ 6 million when he died in 1915.) The sign in front said he started and eventually built the Kansas City Star newpaper company. He was supposed to have had a lot to do with all the parks, streams, walkways that adorn Kansas City. They are beautiful. I can tell you that he didn't take anything with him even though his final resting place is beautiful and must have been very expensive even in 1915. He would have been far better off finding God instead. Maybe he still will. He must have loved his wife and daughter. Maybe he will love them enough to accept the gospel and have all saving ordinances done so they can be together forever and not just laying side-by-side in an old, beautiful, cold, empty crypt.
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