The Week Ends on a High.....
.....and Drops to A Low
"Anything I can do to help?". "Of course" she exclaimed. (I had taken the bait willingly and was now hooked). "I would like you to read a little story". That was fine and good until........"It's called Silent Night....it's a World War I story that Walter Cronkite narrated for one of the Tabernacle Choir Christmas Specials" I knew what it was....it had always moved me as I watched it. There was an inherent trap here.....do it well and be known as Elder Cronkite for a time or don't do it for fear of disappointing one of my favorite people. I chose the former.
As we discussed the presentation I was reminded of one of my all time favorite experiences when the youth in our ward presented a very, very, special number in a Sacrament meeting. The interlude number on the program was one of our young ladies playing I Know That My Redeemer Lives. After captivating the congregation with the first verse and starting into the second we were all stunned when a young Priest, in the rear, stood and started singing a solo, moments later a Laurel stood a distance off and joined him. They were bearing their testimonies of Christ through song. One by one the youth of our ward joined their voices in and soon they were all singing....by the fourth verse the entire congregation was added. It was so powerful. The story I was to read is a true story during the early part of World War I that has enemies facing off against each other in battle, separated by 60 yards of barbed wire and frozen corpses just days before Christmas. Their story ends with them playing, praying, and burying their dead together and on Christmas night joining a lonely voice that blossoms into a choir singing Silent Night.
There is no shortage of talented people here and so it was easy to organize in a short time with no practice (it's the Rendezvous way....will it ever die? I hope not). The stage was set with an overstuffed chair from the foyer, a table, and lamp...(needed that and my glasses to see the story).
Sister Wright played background music as I read the story. Sister Gibson and the rest of those at our table directly in front of me managed to keep the silence but could hardly contain themselves as a mouse ran back and forth in front of them... as I read. Fortunately, I didn't notice. As I reached the end of the story and allowed a pause.... the silence was broken by Elder Bramwell as he stood up and began singing Silent Night...soon followed by Elder Butt...then Elder Finlinson and others. It took a little coaxing to get the audience to stand and join singing that special carol. It had set the tone as we prepared to depart. It was a very special moment for me....and yes I am known Cronkite (for a short time, I hope).
President Hall then took the microphone, for which we all presumed was closing remarks. The pleasantries of gifts for the missionaries from the Temple missionaries and Elder Daines, Bee Boxes, he announced that Elder and Sister Pollock were on their way home. They had only been here a few weeks. Their son had died. It was a suicide. A returned missionary that was now burdened by alcoholism. I cannot even comprehend nor feel the depths they have found themselves thrust into.
I have worked with him for a short time and we are both so quiet (yes I am) and we have never delved into our families or past very much. I hope I can find some way when he returns to comfort him...or maybe we will just work along quietly as he endures the healing process.
Twas the Week Before Christmas....
....So Much was Stirring.....
...Remember the Mouse?!
That is, unless you are blessed to be able to serve outbound in the various branches of the Nauvoo Stake. While we do not have the opportunity, those in our district do. We are blessed to be called as district leaders with our FM missionaries who are called outbound. As we listen to their experiences and the way they are able to be a part of others lives we are touched and exhilarated. What seemed to them initially as a banishment to outer darkness has now turned into a beautiful Nauvoo sunrise as they influence those in their branches. Archibald's drove to Missouri last Saturday night just to share a home evening with two young girls who are living with their aging great aunts. Corder's are continually in contact with Terri, a middle aged non-member, who is away from her children, and often suffers from depression. The Schmitt's, who serve in Ft. Madison are actively involved in that branch and were supporting the branch in serving a dinner to those in need at St. Johns Evangelist Church on Wednesday. But the rest of the story:
The End of the Month Meal is a non-denominational meal that is provided on a rotating basis by the different church's in Ft. Madison. During the holidays it is held almost nightly. Along with the meal there are tables full of donated items for those who need them. We were invited by (actually told...as she rarely asks) Sister Lindeburg to help the Ft. Madison Branch with that dinner. They had volunteered to help and even though they no longer serve as outbound missionaries. Their continued support for those Ft. Madison saints is amazing. They continue to be a force to support and influence their lives. The branch provided food for what was expected to be around 70-80 guests. We took Sister Gibson's world renowned Frog Eye salad and other missionaries who were invited brought their favorites. In the end there were some ninety people in attendance. Right in the middle of it were the Lindeburgs. Their example of serving and commitment is amazing. We are blessed to call them friends.
We Learn About Nauvoo....
....from a Community of Christ Apostle
Wednesday, before the dinner in Ft. Madison, Elder and Sister Corder had made arrangements with Lach McKay, of the Community of Christ , to take us on a "special tour" of their sites. We had looked forward to it for a few weeks. Along with the Brigham Young District, our newest missionaries, the Pollocks and the Hall's2 and one of the service missionaries, Elder Kelson and his parents who were visiting here attended. So What makes this a special tour? Lach McKay is an apostle in the Community of Christ. He is also the resident historian and in charge of the sites that the Community of Christ still has. While there was nothing earth shattering revealed we did get some information that we haven't heard about the early days of the church in Nauvoo. The tour was much the same as we had experienced during our other visits but with a little more detail into the trials that Joseph Smith was subjected to while he was here.
The picture is at the gravesites of Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma Smith. In the background you can see the reconstruction of the Red Brick Store that played such a prominent role in early church history. What Apostle McKay said was interesting......what he didn't say was much more so. Never mentioned were the first vision, the Book of Mormon, restoration of the priesthood, all of the Prophet's revelations or even a personal testimony. Their seems to me to be a loss of identity. It reminds me of a tree without roots....
The Cowboy Poet from Eden...
...Ropes in the Temple Missionaries
As he explained it, he looked at his journal one day and found it quite boring. So he took to telling some of the most interesting stories in his "cowboy life" and put them into poetry that can only be told the way a humble cowboy would tell them. He said he had to omit some of the words as they were a little "indelicate" for the temple missionaries. We were all rewarded with a rare talent....that wasn't overstated!
It's Friday by Golly...
......It's Time for more Folly!!
Open House denotes open the door, say hello, smile, grab a treat at the table...and split. My bad...this was a full blown party with "guess who you are" games, dinner, a huge table of deserts, and unwrap the gift with multi-layer wrapping while wearing a Santa hat and baking mittens all the while someone is trying to stop you by trying to roll doubles. As you can see...Sister Gibson is pretty good with the mittens on (or the person ahead of her had it opened (almost) when she threw doubles and collected the bounty. Then we took M & M's and depending on what color you got to tell your favorite Christmas memory, song, gift, or whatever. That was followed by Christmas Pictionary.
Three hours later we beat a hasty exit.....Ok it was a great time and a lot of fun. But........
I have my Bah....Humbug image to protect!!
.....or the Week of Work Without Review
...or Mention that we Started SheetRock