Greetings from the Grove NY and PA Historical Sites

Well spring keeps trying to tease us just a little tiny bit. This week we had weather that was up into the high 40s and the snow starts melting, but just as quickly as it melded, the evenings got cold and windy, and it froze so that we had some very slippery conditions on some of our tours. But in spite of these small weather challenges it has been great.

We had one tour this week that we had two wards from the United Kingdom, one of them was from the York area. At the conclusion of the tour one of the young men, well not so young now, wrote in the chat “do you know Jared Isom who served his mission in Leeds in 2003 to 2005”. Well of course we did, that’s our son. When we told him that it was our son, he shared with us that he was his MTC mission companion in Preston, and that he had a great time being together and respect for him. Later that day when we got a chance to talk to our son about it, sure enough he remembered him as well. It just goes to show what a small world this can be when you are connected through the gospel.

We finally got a chance this week to spend quite a bit of time down at the Peter Whitmer farm. It is out in the middle of nowhere and this site has a tremendous connection to a lot of the history of the early church. Not only is this where the last part of the Book of Mormon was translated, but it was also where the three witnesses were able to see the gold plates, and the church was officially organized. It served as the headquarters of the church for about a year and a half before the saints headed to “the Ohio”. As we were doing one of our tours that day, Sister Isom shared her testimony, as she does in all of our tours, but this one became very special. Sometimes you really don’t think much about what it is that you have said, but you do think about how the spirit has touched your heart and you hope that it is touched someone else’s heart.

There was one young woman on this tour who had actually lived in this area and had recently moved away. When we talked to her at the beginning of the tour she had said that she had come on so that she could remember the place, but didn’t speak much more of it than that. Later we got an email message back from her, after Sister Isom had shared some photos of our tour with her, and she mentioned how she needed the words that were shared in her testimony. That it brought her to understand that even though she was away from family and friends and circumstances that were familiar for her, that the Lord knew her. That she, like the early Saints, would have an opportunity to spread the word in a new and different area to new and different friends. I think she was a little bit homesick, but at the end of this I think that she felt much better about the decision that she had to make to change locations.

As I mentioned we got to spend quite a bit of time down to the Whitmer farm and it is way out in the boonies.  It is far away from anything else and we must rely on Internet connection through Wi-Fi out there to do our tours. Unfortunately, it can be a little bit sporadic depending on how many cows are drinking out of the ditch, or how many squirrels are out looking for nuts rather than spinning the wheels. This past Sunday happened to be one of those days. We got down there, and we had an opportunity to assist the couple that was there as they prepared to do an Instagram and Facebook live tour for Al Carraway. When it came time, her phones would not connect well enough to the main Internet connection and kept being dropped from the network. Fortunately, we were able to utilize a phone hotspot connection that was strong enough to allow her to complete the tour that she had organized for her followers. Technology, you gotta love it! (or not)

Well, that was the bright spot as the next tour we had was an Instagram live that the Institute program has in place. These had ben done so far at the Grandin building and the Sacred Grove without any issues. Unfortunately, we were not as blessed. As we went through the process of delivering the tour, about halfway through the connections failed completely and the live broadcast was ended. We are in the process of working with the folks at the Institute to arrange a little bit different process or program to be able to allow them to have the privilege of seeing the Whitmer farm at some future date.

As I have been thinking about some of those early members of the church, and how great of a desire or “will” they had to be able to do or be part of the early restoration of the church. I’ve come to understand that for some of them, when they moved from the will to the “will you” in acting on the invitation of the Lord, began to lose some of that desire and some of that spark and were no longer able to carry on being aligned with the restored gospel. I think this has helped me to better understand that when these challenges come, of weather or technology, that try to move me away from the spirit of this place, if I will maintain the “will you” attitude, and do all the things that I can do, that is when I see the tremendous miracles that the Lord provides, in touching the hearts of those that need to be touched, as well as ensuring that the message is received the way that He would have it received. This has been such a great blessing and a testimony builder for both of us as we now begin our 7th week here in Palmyra.

In closing, we got a picture from our daughter this week of our grandsons who were playing in the pool, as we were out here trudging in the snow and 28 degrees. There really is something not quite exactly right with that picture 🙂 So we will close for this week and wish you the blessings of heaven and hope that your week goes well.

Love Elder and Sister Isom

P.S The first set of Young Sister Missionaries arrived this past week and are finishing their quarantine. Hope to have them up and going by end of next week. How exciting for them as well as us.

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