Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19, 2015

July 19, 2015
Another week has flown by.  It seems that time has sped up—can that be true?  There are as many hours in the day, but it g
oes go so quickly.  We have had a great week.  There have been so many people here in New York visiting the sites and attending the pageant.  It has been great!  The Gneitings (Gary and Prudy) from Grant arrived here to see the pageant on Thursday.  Their daughter, Erica, and her family were selected to participate in the pageant and they wanted to see them in it.  The Gneitings had driven across the country with their two 14 year old grandsons; one is Alan’s and other is Lane’s.  We decided to go over to the pageant again on Thursday night and we met them there. (it wasn't planned, but a big surprise!)  It is always so fun to see people we know.
Some of the performers
Gary Gneiting, S. Merrill, Eirca's husband, Erica, Prudy, & E. Merrill

Erica's daughter on the right
Prudy, S. Merrill, E. Merrill, and Gary Gneiting
E. Merrill with Lehi (the performer)
Lane’s son had to stay at the hotel because he was sick and throwing up.  We planned to meet up with them on Friday and show them some of the things in Mendon; but Friday evening came and they took him to the hospital in Canandaigua.  He underwent some testing and they transferred him by ambulance to Strong Memorial in Rochester because they suspected a burst appendicitis.  At Strong they determined that it was a burst appendix and they did surgery.  He was a really sick young man! 

We spent Saturday in Batavia attending the baptism for Carla Southwell.  She is such a sweet, kind woman of about early 50.  (I am guessing)  I was asked to give a talk on baptism and Elder Merrill was a witness.  She was confirmed on Sunday morning by Elder Merrill.  He gave her a really nice blessing along with the confirmation.  It has been fun to spend time with her and since we have moved from Batavia we haven’t been able to go to the lessons with the Elders, but we have kept in contact with her.  We talked after the baptism about how when she heard the lessons she said it all made perfect sense to her.  She felt that she already knew what was being taught.  I have heard several people say this same thing.  They felt that they already knew it—it was something they had heard before. 
Sister Merrill, Christian, Carla, Elder Boatman, Elder Detlor
The Gneitings were able to stay with us on Saturday night and we enjoyed visiting with them and showing them a few things.  Lane’s wife flew in from Arizona and we picked her up at 10:45 and took her to see her sick son in the hospital.  Wow, mothers sure do love their children—it was a tender scene!  (and I have seen the same tender, loving care by many other mothers—in fact, just recently by my own mother for her son, Brent.)
I have gotten older---(well, the alternative isn’t that appealing at this point).  It was a nice day.  We had a nice meal out after the baptism and I received many birthday wishes.  I can’t believe how fun Facebook is—so many great people sent birthday wishes through Facebook.  We do live in a marvelous time. Also thanks to those who sent cards, etc.  
Back to the pageant—there are many miracles that happen during the time that the performers are in New York.  They keep them busy most of the time.  They practice, have devotionals, work on their costumes and learn how to teach the gospel.  There are so many of the performers that are young children or teen agers.  Prudy said that it has been an expensive thing for Erica and her husband to come with 4 children for 3 weeks.  BUT—she said that all 4 of the kids are begging to come again.  They said that they would earn their own money for it or anything they needed to do to come back and participate another year.  That says something for the experience they have had here.  We were at lunch with another couple one day this week and the husband got talking to the owner of the place and he said that his father lives near Palmyra and that there was a group of performers that went to his home and trimmed all of his bushes and hedges and hauled everything away and didn’t ask for anything in return.  He is a non-member and loved having them there.  He says that they were wonderful kids and leaders.  He had paid over $1,000 for the same work the year before.  The man telling the story was pretty impressed and isn’t a member either. 
Erica told of one of the young men that bore his testimony during one of their meetings.  He didn't really want to perform in the pageant and had come reluctantly.  When they made casting assignments he was given the part of Alma and he told them that he wasn't worthy to take the part and didn't really want to.  The director told him that Alma had been given a change of heart (in the Book of Mormon) and that he should try to do the part.  At the end of the pageant he told everyone that he had also had that change of heart and that he was going to go home and get his papers started for a mission.  Miracles happen on a daily basis here!
There were hecklers in attendance on Thursday evening.  They were set up on the road and around the perimeter of the grounds.  They were hollering out things with their bull horns.  I listened to some of the things they said and here are a few of the things they said:
·        Jesus is the Messiah
·        Jesus is the Savior of the World
·        Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world
I had to say to myself—'we believe that also—so what is the problem?'  They had other points of doctrine that they didn’t bring up—only to those that stopped to hear them and then they tried to get them to say things that weren’t true and trip them up.  (I heard from someone that had tried to have a conversation with one of them and said the man was really cracked!)  The entire pageant is about Christ—I can’t figure out how they don’t think we believe in Christ.  Anyway, those were the things that they said,  but the way that they said those things was anything but loving or reverent.  It made me sad!

So, my testimony is that the truth has been restored, Christ lives and loves each one of us and that Heavenly Father wants us to return to Him because we love Him and He loves us!  He wants us to love Him enough to be obedient to His commandments and serve Him.  I am so grateful for the many blessings and tender mercies that I have received in my life.  I can never begin to repay Him—but I want to continue trying!
Birthdays this week were Brad Merrill, Sheldon Hart, Rhonda Merrill, & Victor Mueller—and happy anniversary to Jill & Ryan!

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