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