Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015

This past week was again a very busy week.  Is there any other kind in life?  On Monday we went out to the Lincoln Boyhood home State Park which is only about 30 miles from where we live.  It was very interesting to read of some of the things he did there as a boy growing into a man from age 7-21.  We learned about the milk sickness which killed his mother (from cows eating a toxic snakeroot plant).  His mother is buried in the cemetery there as well as a number of others.  There is a path of twelve stones beginning at the home site and going to the cemetery which were taken from various places where Lincoln lived or worked.  They are from such places as his birthplace, his wife’s home, the White House, Gettysburg, the store he owned, the Anderson Cottage where he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and The Peterson House where he died.  It was especially interesting to learn how little formal education he had but what he learned from reading and applying himself. 
 It was a very enjoyable day in spite of the heat, humidity and the gnats.  We were certainly glad to get into the Memorial Building and look at all the displays there.  We saw the chapel in the memorial building where two sets of our friends were originally married.   I of course took lots of pictures.
The real highlight of the past couple of weeks was our mission conference with Elder and Sister Zwick.  It started even before the conference when we were able to have 3 of our favorite Elders with us.  Because of the early start time for the meeting and the travel distance some of the Elders came to Tell City to stay overnight.  It meant that we had Elders Stewart, Riphenburg and Gould with us which makes for some fun time.  I fixed dinner for the 6 Elders, our regulars George and Sydney and then later Elder Riphenburg and his companion slept on our couches.  I felt as if I had grandsons back with me.
There is no real way to tell of the spirit we felt at the conference.  Both Elder and Sister Zwick spoke with so much spirit and love.  I wrote several pages in my journal of the talks they gave and my impressions but just want to share one or two of their stories.  It makes for a long email but worth it I hope.
Sister Zwick based her talk on Alma 5:26 “If ye have experienced a change of heart…can ye feel so now?”  She told of their son Scotty (named after Elder Richard G Scott who was Elder Zwick’s mission president) who was born mentally and physically handicapped who cannot read or write but who loves people and is always happy.  When his younger brother Spencer was called to serve in the Bangkok Thailand Mission he said to Scotty that he was serving for both of them.  He would send Scotty pictures of his investigators and ask him to pray for them.  Scotty had a whole wall of pictures.  When it was nearly time for Spencer to return home from his mission, Elder & Sister Zwick had an assignment in Europe and contacted the mission president to see if it would be okay for them to pick Spencer up from his mission on their way home.  The mission President called them and said that he gave permission only if they would bring Scotty on their way to their assignment and let him be Spencer’s mission companion for the week and then pick them both up when their assignment was done.  Scotty was set apart as a missionary and they left him with his brother.  Spencer gave him a Book of Mormon and told him that they would find someone who spoke English for him to give the book to.  On the train one day Spencer heard a couple speaking English and went and talked to them.  He found they were from New York and had come back home to visit with family.  He went back and told Scotty to go and give them the Book of Mormon.  Scotty went and sat by them and said “  I can’t read but my family has read this Book to me and I know it is true and that it will change your lives if you will read and pray about it.”  They took the book and said they would read it.  Spencer and Scotty had other experiences in that week that changed many people’s lives.  Some months after they returned home they got a letter from the couple from New York telling them that they had just been baptized.  They were so touched by the spirit they felt when Scotty told them of the Book of Mormon and his testimony of it that they looked up the missionaries and were now members of the church.  In all from that week Scotty spent in Thailand five people came into the gospel.  She talked about how Scotty has always had that “change of Heart” which we should all feel and continue to work to have.
Elder Zwick told of an experience he had back in 1995.  He was on several committees working with the Utah Highway Patrol.  One of the officers had told him that he had heard that in Manti there was a group building up a militia and were going to take over the temple.  Just a short time later President Packer called him into his office and asked him what he knew about Manti and when he told him of the rumors he had heard President Packer told him that the gospel would never be overthrown by anti-literature or guns.  Nothing ever happened in Manti but it all just went away.  The Lord is in control.
He also told us that the father of the sister missionary who was killed in Atlanta Georgia in May had just gone to Georgia to baptize five people his daughter was teaching at the time of her death including a couple she had just found.  He stressed that we are not alone in this work but we have those associates “from another realm cheering us on.  The work is supernal and that is why family history and temple work are going on.  This work is not about us”.    
That part of his talk really helped me to not ever feel guilty when I am helping members of our branch do family history even though I could and sometimes do spend way too much time at it.  It was such a spiritual high.
We once again will be going to transfer meeting tomorrow.  We haven’t missed one in 18 months.  There has always been someone from our district who we could take to the meeting.  We love the spirit and enthusiasm as we see some going home and the new missionaries coming.
We love you all and encourage each of you to be good member missionaries.  Most baptisms come from member referrals so we each need to step up and do our part.
Elder and Sister Fullmer

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5, 2015

One of the fun things I did last week was go see the performance the city put on of Mary Poppins.  Evan didn’t want to go so took the Elders on splits and I went with a couple of sisters from the branch.  It was so much fun and the scenery was just as good as any professional production.  This community has done some kind of play nearly every year since 1989 as part of their annual Schweitzer Fest which is a big celebration of the settling of their city.  I also met some very fun people.  Everyone here is so open and friendly.
We had talked to Tim and Cheryl Wilson about going back to Mammoth Caves and taking one of the better tours.  They agreed it was a good time so they picked us up about 7:30 Monday morning.  We also took Kaden their 6 year old grandson with us.  We got there thinking they were on Eastern Time and we would make the 11:30 tour but it was sold out so we were trying for the 12 one but it sold out before we got to the front of the line but we heard a person ask about the 10:30 tour and there were still spots.  We learned they were Central time and we had just enough time to get to the tour.  We were glad because we didn’t want to wait clear until 1:15 for the next tour.
The tour was amazing.  We were more than 300 feet underground and went up and down 440 stepsand had to go through Fat Man’s Misery which was very narrow and low.  We actually had to duck down to get through some of the places and even turn around at one point to get down the stairs.  I was really glad we went down first because my knees hurt more going down than coming up stairs.  At the end we climbed up 155 stairs in a square tower of steps.  The guide was very good in explaining what had gone on in the caves in the past 200 years with the mining of the saltpeter for gun powder during the war of 1812, the tuberculosis buildings and some of the finding of new caves. We learned that many mummified bodies had been found in the caves in the past and Cheryl can remember as a little girl that one of them was on display.  It wasn’t until 1979 that this was discontinued.  We learned about the eyeless fish and the myriad creatures that live in the caves.  In one room it was very warm after the 55 degrees we had been in.  It was due to the high water level of the river which runs through part of the cave.  There have actually been times when some parts of the cave have been flooded because of the rain.  When the guide turned out all the lights we truly saw what total darkness is.  You couldn’t see your hand even right in front of your face. It really brought to life the story in the Book of Mormon when the Savior is crucified and the blackness covers the land.  I can’t imagine what the tours used to be like when only a kerosene lamp was used.  It was a wonderful tour but we came out pretty worn out.  Two hours of climbing put some strain on our old out of shape bodies.  The tour was only 2 miles of the over 400 miles of caves that have been found and opened.  I wish we had the time and money to take every tour but there is no time.
We stopped in Cave City for some lunch and then went to Mike’s Rock shop so Tim could find his directions.  I took Kaden and we went into the rock shop to look around and found some cute rock animals and I bought him a little wolf.  He is such a sweet little boy.  He kept taking Evan’s iPad and he played games for a little while but mostly loved playing the primary songs.  He comes from a very less active family and only comes to church when his grandparents can get permission to bring him. 
Our time for sightseeing is all too quickly coming to an end as we have only about 10 more Mondays so we plan on trying to go somewhere every Monday which bums the Elders because it means they have to do their own laundry and fix their own breakfast on Monday.  I think we have spoiled them a little bit.  We plan on going to visit the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln next week which won’t be nearly as long or hard as it is only about an hour from us. 
We have continued to search for lost members of the branch.  It seems as though the time just seems right when we find a new family we have been searching for.  It is hard to think we are just finding some as the time is growing shorter but we will do all we can to help them come back while we are here.  We just found another couple on Sunday who was so welcoming.  There are two brothers who live next door to each other with their families.  They live about 30 miles out which makes it harder to get to them regularly.  Their parents are active in one of the wards but they both married Catholic girls and have had nothing to do with the church for a number of years.  We will just continue to try and fellowship them so they have a positive feeling towards the members here.
We are both so grateful for the time we have had to get to know these people.  This branch is so amazing.  We only had 27 people to church on Sunday but testimony meeting still didn't have any pauses.  The people here really know how to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel and the Savior.  We have been here for 17 Fast Sundays and it never ceases to amaze me.  We have been so blessed to be a part of this branch.
We love you all and hope you are taking every opportunity to share the gospel.
Elder & Sister Fullmer
Below are a picture of the temple trip I took with the Sisters,  The cave pictures are Us on the stairs coming out of the cave, Fat mans misery where you have to turn to get, through and Evan goofing off and little Kaden at the rock shop with crazy windows. The last two of us on the steps of the Indianapolis Temple and just a picture of the temple.