Category Archives: P-Day fun adventure


Fall is surely here…how can I tell; well let you give you a few tell tale signs.

The leaves have turned, and the colors are spectacular. Here on the farm is one of the very best displays of bright Reds, Golds, and Oranges anywhere. As you walk to the grove, you are surrounded by all of the vibrant shades that appear to glow with a radiance that is unmatched. But just to confirm we took a ride up the ski lift at Bristol Mountain ski resort to take another look. IT was fantastic, even thought we reach the summit of the mountain at just over 2800Ft (yes hundred, not thousand, like out west) But even then, it was a great excursion. We went with our mission President and his companion as well as with our good friends the Staker, who are facilities missionaries and help keep things in repair and functioning so we can function. We chose to hike on of the cross-country ski trails at the top rather than take a chance of falling down the Double Black Diamond run on the way down.

 The second thing that signals the fall here is the ending of the LSG season. Yes, with the end of October came the very last LSG (Large Scheduled Group AKA Bus Tour) But not only that, but we also said good by to our own LSG’s (Loving Sister Guides) their time was finally up at the end of October, and they now have all headed out to their full time proselyting missions. We held a celebration of sorts (more like a Last Supper) for the departing sisters. Amy, in usual Amy fashion, out did herself in making a beautiful Rice Crispy tour bus with all of the sisters as passengers. It is rather quiet here (a good/bad thing don’t you know) but mostly bad. We miss them but know and hear of the great things they are doing in their fields of labor. And we are left here to carry on. So far it has been rather busy as we try to figure out how to balance in-person tours with virtual tours with only one couple at a site.

For a Halloween treat we participated in the Palmyra Ghost Walk. It was a fun time as we trapsed through the cemetery and were entertained and taught by a dozed ghosts (AKA historic site guides) about influential people and events here in the Palmyra community. It culminated in a serving of local Apple Cider and Donuts. A great way to spend an evening our in the BRISK fresh air. As we entered the fall season It was amazing just how many pumpkin patches there are here in the area. As we drove the 35 miles to the Whitmer farm it seamed we passed a dozen pumpkin patches. And when there was not a patch, there was a roadside stand selling pumpkins and gourds. I love some of the funky designs God has placed on these pumpkins/gourds.

 This past week thing heated up here near the Grandin Publishing building, and not in a good way. As the missionaries arrived to open the site, they were soon greeted by several fire trucks. Actually, fire trucks from 5 surrounding communities to be totally accurate. The local laundromat, which is merely 150 ft from the back of the Grandin building, was a blaze. It shared a wall with one of the local Museum as well. As they fire teams tried to put out the blaze, they ran into a myriad of issues form little to now water pressure to losing control of hoses and knocking down firemen and fences. The decision was made that the Laundromat was a total loss, but they poured water on the shared wall to keep the museum from going up in flames. They were successful in keeping it contained. Oh, did I neglect to tell you the between the fire and the Grandin building are 3 apartments that our Sr Couples live in. Miraculously they were not damaged, now even any smile damage. There were 2 14-year-old boys caught who had set the fire and watched the building burn.

But let’s not end on this dismal note. We also made a trip back down to the Priesthood Restoration site to do a bit more training and got to see some of our sisters we loved and lost to the Pennsylvania site. There we were able to share a tour with departing missionaries for the Pennsylvania mission as they got to go to the site. While we were there, we took the 30-minute detour on our way back home to visit the Josiah Stowell and Joseph Knight homes just outside of Colesville. We were able to get a personal tour of both homes and learned a lot of history that added to what we have learned here while serving at these sites of the Restoration. The Josiah Stowell home is where Joseph and Emma would sometimes meet while courting, and they have the actual fireplace mantle that was brought from the courthouse where Joseph and Emma were married. The Knight home was the location of the meetings of the Colesville branch of the church who later were called to be some of the first settlers in Missouri.

Well, you are all caught up now, so we will say goodbye for now, and always remember that you are loved.

Sister and Elder Isom

Spring has Sprung…..

Fall is in the air and that mean Winter is just around the corner. Let me explain Winter to you from our POV. We just had 14 sisters leave us this week to head to their full-time proselyting missions, and they took a bit of sunshine out of our lives. Come the 1st of November the remaining 12 will leave, and when they do, it will officially be Winter in our hearts. Before the left, a number of them were involved in a Filming project in and around each of the sites here in NY and PA. These will be made available shortly for on-demand viewing by the Church Historic department. I did get the autographs of the sisters just in case they become famous… Never know just how I will finance my retirement in my old age.

I want to wish all of you a happy “Moroni Day” as we have come to call it here. It was on the 22nd of September 1823, when the young Joseph Smith Jr. followed the invitation of his father in response to the visitation of the Angel Moroni and climbed the Hill Cumorah, and their find the ancient record of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which would later become the Book of Mormon. Last time I shared with you the changes being made to the Hill, but this time I will share a video we made just before the construction began that we share with guests not able to climb the hill. We were fortunate to also have been working at the Hill Cumorah Visitor Center on this great day.

We had some of our children come out to spend a bit of time with us. Jared, Jenna, and the little ones spent the better part of a week with us. We got to go to all of the church sites in NY and hade great experiences. We also went down to Watkins Glen to take the Gorge hike. It was great. And being down that far we had to do a quick drive by of Watkins Glen race way for our NASCAR Fans (Jared and the Girls). He would not even get out of the car to take a picture; we barely got him to roll down the window to take the photo. But I guess that he can now check that off his bucket list.

And speaking of Bucket list adventures, Amy FINALLY got to go to Niagara Falls. (It has only taken 9 months and a visit by her kids to make this happen) I will confess it was GREAT. It is hard to imagine just how powerful water can be until you are standing at he base of the falls, and have it crash (even just a little bit) against your back and think you have just been hit by a truck. We did the Maid of the Mist, and it was great …but the Cave of the Wind was a VERY up close and personal experience with the falls. I will include a short video on our web page. (Since it might be too large to attach to the letter)

We also had a chance while they were here to take a ride down the Erie canal and travel through a couple of locks. Our son had several cruses canceled on him throughout the Covid days, so for him he tried to make this a substitute for the cruse. Not sure it worked when we refused to go get and serve him a virgin Pina Colada. But none the less it was a great time on a very slow boat through a bit of American history.

It rains a fair amount here in Western New York in the fall months, and September had been no exception. But that has given me time to reflect on just how important the rain is here at the Grove. Talking with Bob, the Forester and caretaker of the Grove early on, we commented on how important the snow is in preparing it for the spring and summer. His response was interesting as he said that the snow was great to moisten the soil, but it was not until the rains came that the Grove would awaken. As I have watched the Grove, over this Spring and Summer, I have notice that when the Rain comes it cleans the air as well as the leaves and trees. But it also sinks into the ground and supplies the life sustaining fluid that allows the trees to grow and reach their potential.

As I considered this, it feels to me much like the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Atonement, like the rain, cleans us from the dirt and stains of sin and error. But as important as the cleansing power of the Atonement is, we cannot forget that each day, that same Atonement, like the rain, provides the LIVING water we all need to allow us to reach our full potential. It is this day-to-day nourishment that I have come to feel that sustains me through the winds and storms of life just like the stalwart trees here in the Sacred Grove.

So, until next time Know you are Loved

Sister and Elder Isom

Those things which shall come hearafter….

One of my favorite scriptures comes from the Doctrine and Covenants Section 58: 3-4

“Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings…”

While this speaks of our enduring to the end, it has also come to mind as we have served here at the Hill Cumorah. Right now, there is a large amount of heavy construction going on as they remove the old pageant structures, in order to return the Hill to a more natural state. We are told that when it is finished it should have a feel and experience similar to what you have in the Sacred Grove. What a blessing it will be, but for now it is hard to see. We have had a lot of folks come in and express their sadness at the ending of the pageant and have shared tremendous stories and spiritual experiences they have felt. What a blessing for us to be able to hear of these enriching experiences.

The past several days have seen a lot of activity here. We had a visit from Elder Neal L Anderson of the 12 Apostles. He and his wife graciously shared a great devotional with us as they were touring all of the historical sites which are now part of his new assignment in the Quorum of the Twelve. He challenged all of us to “get it DEEP into your heart that Jesus is the Christ”. He said that opposition will come, but it can be one of our greatest learning experiences. Because of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ, our failures do not define us, but they should help refine us. We also had Gary Boatright, who is the operations director for the Church Historical Sites. The sisters got a chance to ask a number of questions about giving tours and assisting guests to have he most enjoyable experience. We also have started into our 2nd half season bus tours which is greatly welcomed, since the foot traffic here at the sites has slowed dramatically.

Yesterday, on our P-day, we got the chance to travel to Sodus NY to visit some folks in our ward here, that we had gotten acquainted with. It doesn’t hurt that she owns a QUILT shop, or at least that is what Amy says. It was a great relaxing drive, and on the way up we noticed a sign for the Apple Shed. Well, not wanting to let an opportunity pass, and being curious, we took a small detour, and glad we did. We found a great store that has everything apples and peaches. In addition, they make a very good sandwich. But the best thing is their Apple Cider Slushes (bet you did not know that was a thing). And … Wait for it…. They have baby Goats in their petting zoo. The people there were fantastic, they made us feel like family, not shoppers. WE WILL be back. We took our sandwiches up to the beach at Sodus point and there we had our lunch. Listing to the waves crashing on the shore, feeling the wind, and just enjoying the great day.

 I hesitate to say this, since Amy is still waiting for Summer to get here, but I think we are turning the corner into the fall season. We are already seeing some early change in leaf color on a few of the maple trees, and others are starting to have a number of their leaves drop. The trails in the Grove are starting to collect a few dead leaves and the undergrowth is starting to turn a bit browner. The mushrooms are continuing to appear, but that will be for a short season. It is amazing to me just how quickly thing change out here in New York. But soon we will be looking back to the time it was green and longing for it again. So best wishes to all wherever you are. And remember that you are Loved.

Sister and Elder Isom

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, we got a chance to celebrate Amy’s Birthday Week with a small get together of all our missionaries, and served a Café Rio style taco bar, featuring traditional tortillas from Food City market in AZ. Thank you Teena for sending these, they were the hit of the evening

The BIG Ditch….

I told you last post that we would talk a little bit about the Erie canal. While we have been here, we have learned a lot about just how many miracles took place as the restoration of the gospel rolled out between 1820 and 1830. One of the significant events to take place was the building of the Erie canal which ran just north of the main street in Palmyra. This canal ran only about 600ft behind the newly completed Thayer and Grandin row of buildings which housed the Grandin Print Shop. This made it possible for Mr. E B Granding to purchase and have the latest printing press delivered. This press weighed over 1600lb and would have been nearly impossible to move it the over 225 miles from New York City to the western frontier in Palmyra.

The Erie Canal (sometimes referred to as “Clintons Ditch” after the then Governor of NY) was built to create a navigable water route from New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, originally stretching for 363 miles from the Hudson River in Albany to Lake Erie in Buffalo. The canal was first proposed in the 1780s, but construction began in 1817, and it opened on October 26, 1825. It was the second-longest canal in the world (after the Grand Canal in China)

Like many government projects it ran into challenges right from the get-go. Almost immediately on the completion of the canal it was determined that it was too small. A revision began and, it was enlarged between 1834 and 1862. This could have been because no one originally working on the canal had a strong background in engineering. Think of the first canal as OJT (On the Job Training). Even the canal that was completed in 1862 was eventually revised to take advantage of deeper waterways and new lock technology to allow larger boats and heavier freight. It is said the before the canal it cost nearly $100 to ship a ton of lumber to New York City, and after it only cost $5. A tremendous savings and boon to the westward migration of people and materials. For more details you can visit

Not far from us here at the Grandin building is a great place where we can see all “3” of the canal routs. We have an old crossover bridge where they traded sides for the mules to pull the boats, and Aqueduct that spanned the 2nd canal and it also acted as a crossover bridge, and the NEW canal with a modern lock. While the first canal path is dry, and you can see just how large it was, the other 2 still have water in them.

Down the road just a couple of miles we can find old lock 60. A great example of a double lock that would allow ships to pass in both directions. These old locks had wood gates that were in need of constant repair and were later changed to Iron gates in the modern locks today.

But since a picture is worth 1000 words, I will leave you with a few pictures of this amazing modern-day marvel. Unfortunately, it became less cost effective to ship down the Erie canal, and so now a days it is only open for pleasure boats that sail from the Atlantic to the great lakes and back again. 

Remember you are Loved

SIster and Elder Isom

Oh and by the way…Happy Birthday to my love Amy Isom on this day

End of an era…..

Things have been very busy around here with the tremendous influx of visitor who planned their travels in hopes of seeing the Hill Cumorah Pageant in its last year. Earlier this year the Church announced that they would not be having the Pageant this year, and that made 2019 the official last year. But so many had already booked their vacations around the dates. But the church is going to broadcast it on July 9th…or at least the last official years presentation. If you have not seen it before, I would invite you to make a date to watch it.

Things have finally changed here in New Your around Covid restrictions. We FINALLY have been able to sing again in church as last week. We have also begun shaking hands and sitting normally (each bench without having to separate by one) in the chapel. It feels good to have some normal associating time again with friends. The guests coming to the site are much happier as it is now in the 90’s with VERY HIGH humidity. The heat index is well over 100 each day. Breathing through the masks is something that just does not happen well in the humidity. In fact, it states on the box of masks we have for guests that they should not be used, or are not effective, in greater than 70% humidity. 😉

This past week Marshall Leeper and his family came by and what a treat to get to share some of the insights with them. We were able to share some things we dont share on a regular tour due to lack of time, as well as got to take them to a couple of special sites. This is an open invitation to all to come and we will do the same for you. Would love to see you some time in the next 12 months.

I thought for this episode I would share some additional pictures of the spectacular landscapes and places here in the western New York area that have not made the letter due to space. Enjoy.

Remember you are loved

Sister and Elder Isom

A small season of rejoicing…

Well in the last episode I said that I would try to be a little bit better of getting these out on a weekly basis, but as you can see, I failed miserably. I don’t want to make a lot of excuses but on May 28th we opened up to live in person tours, which has been absolutely phenomenal. But at the same time, it has required a lot of work and long days. So here I am a few weeks later trying to update you on all of the things that have happened. So maybe we will start at the very beginning.

On the 28th of May we were able to open back up to live guests coming in to visit us here, and I must confess it was kind of challenging, and it did not help that that weekend just so happened to be the Memorial Day weekend.  We had thousands scheduled to visit the sites with appointments. We had done our best to organize as we needed to have scheduled anointments because we are limited to only 10 persons per tour per site. But we had an additional 30% of unscheduled people just show up hoping to be able to get a tour and see the homes etc. We worked tirelessly to be able to make this happen for all and giving them a wonderful experience. And it appears that this will carry for forward all the way through Labor Day. So I am not going to make any kind of promises to be here on a more frequently with updates.

I believe that we mentioned earlier in another post that we had made our way down to Watkins Glen to see the falls and the Gorge. At that time, the Gorge was closed but it has since reopened and so this last Wednesday we made our way down in an attempt to walk it. And it was worth every bit of the effort to get down there. The actual walk is just over a mile, and it winds on the side of the river and up along the edge where the river has cut through the rocks and created beautiful waterfalls. A couple of them we were able to walk behind and were able to reach out and feel cold fresh in water. There were steps and bridges along the way that gave scenic views that were spectacular. The most interesting thing to me was that that at the very top where the water was starting down the gorge it looked still and calm. You would never know that that was the same water that was rushing so hard and cuttings rocks to form the beautiful Falls. We made our way back to the end of the Gorge and there we found that the water was calm and peaceful as well. Interesting how sometimes in our lives the water is rushing, and we sometimes feel it carving our personal Gorges, but know that it is peaceful and still once it finds it way to the end.

Look closely at the small yellow lights. Hard to photograph a firefly….

The other night we went out for a walk just at sunset and we found that the fireflies had come out. This is the second time that we’ve had an opportunity to witness fireflies, as the first time we saw them was in Nauvoo. What a fun experience to watch these small lights dancing across the fields and at the edges of the Grove. We brought the sisters out, and they were so excited to witness this for the very first time. What a wonderful creation this world and its life are that our Father in Heaven has given us with so many interesting things to inspire and delight.

Early this week we were able to get up and take a for us early morning tour, for them a late night tour to a group of missionaries and ward members in Thailand. We had one elder who did the translation for the tour and did a wonderful job. We have learned that at the beginning of these translation tours it’s best to give the missionaries, or whoever is translating, the scriptures that we would like to have them read as we are in the Grove. We asked if he would read Joseph Smith History verses 15 through 17 when we asked him to. Just to give you some idea, as we go into the Grove, we have the opportunity of sharing the first vision with our guests who are on the virtual tour and it is powerful and moving experience. Well when we got to this point and invited him to share the testimony of Joseph Smith, we noticed that he would have a very difficult way through. We scan through the other members that were there we almost there be moved his spirit estimate of Jeff. Then realized that he wasn’t in the Grove at the parent sharing things that Joseph shared with the world brands college admission. What a blessing for us to be part of this on a daily basis as we get an opportunity to serve.

When you come on a mission you fully expect your time will be spent in serving others, but from time to time it is you that will be served by others, and one of those types was last night. We had a bus full of young people show up which we were able to accommodate on the tour of the sacred Grove. At the conclusion they asked our Mission President if it would be possible that they may be able to share a concert with us that night. And all what a concert it was. We were able to set with this group of young performers in gathering area near the Grove as they bore their testimony through song of the wonderful events that transpired there. I’m not sure I could have had a better payback for a long day of Labor than that blessed moment of time last evening. And what made it even better is that we found one of the young performing missionaries we get to know during our time in Nauvoo was part of the group. And even better she had found and married her sweetheart.

That will wrap it up for this post. Know that you are loved and that we wish you all health and happiness.

Let the lower light be burning…

As you all are aware we were called to the New York and Pennsylvania historic sites mission. Though when we put in our papers, we had several locations both in and out of the United States that we thought would be great opportunities for us to serve. When we got our call, we were not sure exactly what all we would be in store for, but we did know that we would be interpreting the historic sites for visitors. Well, it has turned out slightly different than we originally anticipated, but even with that, it has been a great experience so far. And what has been exciting to see is how the Lord has blessed us to be able to share this historic location with others throughout the world. So even though we did not make it to Croatia, which was one of our sites that we had considered, today we are doing a tour with a group from Croatia. We have also been able to share with groups from virtually every major continent in the world. (except for Antarctica) What a blessing this has been to be able to reach out, across time and spaces, to the hearts of our Father in Heaven’s children that he is prepared to hear the message of the restoration. And how fortunate are we to be able to be instruments in his hands in this great and mighty work.

This past week we also had a visit from Amy’s brother and sister-in-law Bruce and Allison Cornwell. They had served in the Nauvoo historic sites as missionaries a few years back, and it was great to be able to share with them our experiences here in our mission. They enjoyed their time walking through the Grove, feeling the peaceful spirit, and had an opportunity to see the homes and the places here in the area. We also took an opportunity to go out and visit a couple of sites around nearby.

We were up on Lake Ontario and made our way to a beautiful set of lighthouses out on the point. The setting, as well as the water, was so peaceful and calm at that it almost made you forget about the importance of those light houses, and why they were placed there in the 1st place. These houses were designed to warn and guide weary Mariners as they made their way through treacherous Shoals. While we were there, I continued to think about the hymn “brightly beams our father’s mercy”, and how the opportunity to serve here has allowed us to be those lights along the shore as He guides individuals to a greater understanding of His love. As you can see in this beautiful photo the Flowers were in bloom and it was a wonderful day.

Earlier that week we got a chance to go to Genesee Country Village and Museum historic village where they have a series of homes that they have re stored and allows you to get a feel for life in the 1800s and early 1900s. We met some interesting individuals and got to see some wonderful things there. We got to visit the George Eastman family home, the founder of Eastman Kodak, and learn a lot about what he had done outside of the technology of photography industry. He was a great supporter of the abolitionist movement and was part of not only the Underground Railroad, bringing slaves from the South, but also in providing education and schooling for underprivileged individuals in the South as well. We visited some beautiful Victorian homes, and there we found a new friend who introduced us to the Victorian Glass Harp. Many of you may think that this is merely crystal glass is filled with water, but there really glasses that were formed and shaped specifically to produce an individual note. She played us some beautiful songs while we were there and what a peaceful feeling it brought.

I think one of the most interesting things that we saw while we were there was a couple who were working with oxen to plow a field. Well one of the oxen named Buddy was more interested in eating the grass than plowing the field, and so it made for an exceedingly difficult work that they were doing. They plowed only about 20 yards, but it took them nearly 15 minutes to get things organized the team hooked up as well as to plow that little spot. At the end I think they had decided that they had plowed enough and took the oxen back home.

This caused me think about the challenges that were probably faced by the early pioneers as they made their trek westward. Many of them were unfamiliar with oxen and how challenging they can be. But nonetheless they made their way and were able to successfully enter into the Valley. These majestic animals are beautiful and strong; powerful but not very graceful; but they served a great purpose in fulfilling the work that they were called to do. I think about myself and sometimes I’m not majestic, I’m not beautiful, I am not graceful, but I have still been called to do a work, and I’ve been strengthened to be able to accomplish it.

Well, I think that will wrap it up for this post. Things are beautiful here. Summer has come, the temperatures are up as well as the humidity. The mosquitoes have come out in force, but even with all of that, it is still a beautiful place to be and a wonderful spirit we feel here. So, we will say goodbye for now remind you that you are loved and hope you have a blessed day.

Sister and Elder Isom


Well it’s been a long time coming, but we finally committed to ourselves that we would not let anything stand in our way of taking a full P day and do something a little different than we have in the past. It seems like so many of our P days for the last two months have been occupied with either mission service projects or meetings that were necessary to take as part of our missionary effort. But this past Tuesday we were able to make our way down to the bottom of Seneca Lake to a small town called Watkins Glen. Some of you may know this place if you watch automobile racing as there is a world-famous track there. But that’s not what we went to see, we went there to take a look at the Gorge at Watkins Glen.

Unfortunately, the river level walk was not available as they were still working to prepare the grounds from the winter season. They need to remove the slick scales that build up on the rocks as well as trim bushes and remove trees that have fallen because of the winds and the weather. But we did get a chance to walk along the upper rim trail and look down into the Gorge, and what we saw was absolutely spectacular. We look forward to going back again and taking the journey down in the Gorge to see the falls and the River much more closely. As we left Watkins Glen and made our way home along the eastern side of the Lake on our way home, we almost sped past the beautiful Hector falls that was running right on the side of the road. Which made me think how many times do we go looking for something so diligently, like these falls at Watkins Glen, and are so focused that we miss the one that is as spectacular and right along our path. I think some time our Father in Heaven is trying to tell us to slow down a bit, so we can see all his majestic creations and opportunities He has for us along our journey home.  

Just when you thought the winter weather was over, the weatherman informs you that there are going to be 2 to 4 inches of snow towards the end of April. This morning we woke up to just a skiff of snow on the ground and we had a tour that we were going to host at 7:00 AM this morning. As we made our way through the tour, the snow began to fall a little bit heavier, but it was amazing how peaceful and beautiful all of the surroundings that we find herself in were. It was a little hard to tell the snowflakes from the blossoms in the Apple Orchard here on the farm, but nonetheless it is always a great opportunity to be back again in this peaceful place. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sister Isom loves the snow now, and so today was a special blessing and a gift from her Heavenly Father just to her the chosen daughter, or as she says a “spoiled daughter of God”.

This past Sunday Elder Pace of the 70 spoke at our Ward in Lyons, and after his talk I am not sure that I will ever look at snow the same way again. He talked about one of those nights in Western New York when the wind was calm, and the snow was falling, and how beautifully it covered the ground. He talked about the peacefulness and the whiteness of it all. But he made a very important observation in that there are many plants here in this area that can only survive and grow when they are covered by snow and freeze. It made me think about how sometimes the challenges and opportunities that come in our lives just like that snow, may be sent to do nothing more than to awaken something special, something sacred, something important inside each of us that will allow us to become the best version of ourselves that we can be.

It’s Sugaring time

Well, it’s sugaring time here in the northeast, the sap is flowing! The other day we got a chance to take a small tour of a Maple processing farm here near the Palmyra area. If you’d like a little more detail you can watch Sister Isom’s Facebook live broadcast on her link. The interesting thing about the sugaring season is it is very short but very labor intensive, and it takes very specific conditions for it to be successful. You have to have a night that is below freezing and then a day that runs up near 40 degrees in order for the sap to begin to lift out and up inside of the tree. As we have walked in the Grove we’ve noticed a lot of small twigs with buds on him falling to the ground near the Maple trees. Come to find out the squirrels are chewing off the tender shoots up in the top of the trees to find out if the sap has made it up to the top so that they can have a drink of this very sweet life sustaining fluid.

I think it’s kind of interesting as we have been able to find more out about this process that it comes very close to what the Savior said in the Bible. He told us that he is the living trunk and that we must be grafted in or tide into the living trunk to be able to receive the fullness of everlasting life. How similar it is for these small tender buds as they strive to get that life sustaining fluid from the base of the tree through the trunk that they may flourish and grow.

As we were concluding a tour the other day we ran into Bob who is the caretaker of the Grove and he pointed out that he had done a small pruning on a tree near the log home. That tree happened to be a Maple tree and as we got there we found a single icicle, or what we thought was an icicle, hanging from the branch that he had pruned. Turns out that that it was sap that had begun to seep out of the branch and freeze and had created a very sweet “sap sickle”, if that’s even a word. It was amazing to see how much had come out and how large that sap sickle had become in such a very short period of time.

Love Elder and Sister Isom

she loves the snow

Well another great week here in the New York area. I never thought I would say this, or I never thought I’d even hear this, but the other day Sister Isom told me that she loves the snow! Now this is coming from the woman who gets cold when it falls below 80 degrees, but what she loves is when the large snowflakes fall, and she sees the beauty they create around her. This week she got her wish. We had a couple of very strong snowstorms come through the area laying down a good amount of snow, and this snow was good enough to be able to build a snowman with, but she hasn’t checked that off of her bucket list yet.

Speaking of snowstorms, we had an interesting set of tours the other day. As we start our tours, we begin in the welcome center which is a beautiful enclosed warm comfortable area. Then we make our way just a short distance down the road to the Smith log home, which is also nice and warm. Then we go about the length of a football field, down to the frame home, again warm and comfortable. Then we make our way up into the Sacred Grove which is about 1 ½ times that distance, and it is a little bit uphill, and there is no shelter from the wind or the snow at that point. But the payoff at the end of that road is being able to go into the Grove, which is absolutely beautiful, and even when the snow was falling the canopy of the trees without leaves still protects you quite a bit.

Well the tour started out in what I would say were almost Blizzard conditions, so we did quite a bit inside of the welcome center. We then made our way through the heavy snow into the log home where we completed our dialogue, then down the road to the frame home. Halfway down the road we stop to take a view of the Palmyra temple on the hillside, it is lovely, and on this day the snow began to let up just enough so that you could get a view of the temple. Then we preceded down to the frame home in what then was a normal snow, if you can envision what a normal snow would be like. After we finished our conversations in the frame home, we began to make our way towards the Grove, and the snow had stopped. When we got into the Sacred Grove we were blessed with a clearing Sky and a view of the beautiful sun as it made its way through the canopy of the trees.

Now this would have been a blessing in and of itself if this had happened just one time, but the same thing happened on all three tours that we did that day. I say on all three tours, but what I should have said is the 1st two were that way. The third tour started out in beautiful clear sunny weather and we had a wonderful experience in the Grove. Once we completed our time in the Grove we started back and guess what, you got it, the snow started to fall again and by the time we made it back to the welcome center we were again in Blizzard conditions. We see and talk about every day how the hand of the Lord was in all of the details to bring forth the restoration of the gospel, but what we also see is how the hand of the Lord is in the details of allowing us to be able to share the message of the restoration throughout the world. That neither weather nor technology challenges are going to stop his work from rolling forth.

And Speaking of technology issues, we had the opportunity of doing our first series of tours down at the Peter Whitmer farm this week. This is a beautiful experience as the farmer setting out virtually in the middle of nowhere and so peaceful and calm and has such a special spirit about it. A think about how much of the restoration really did take place there. This is the place where the plates were shown to the three witnesses, where the last third of the Book of Mormon was completed, where 19 revelations of the doctrine covenants were received, the church was organized, and the first three conferences of the church were held here on the Whitmer farm. But as I said we struggled a little bit with technology as the phone signals are very weak out there, and when we try to use the Wi-Fi that doesn’t quite reach all the way into the log home. On top of that at the end of the tour we stream a video which does take up a lot of bandwidth.

Well on our first tour we had our meeting drop two time, we lost sound a couple of times, the video stream froze for a while, and we felt so sorry for those who had joined us. At the end of this session we were devastated and were left wondering if there was any way we were going to be able to complete these tours for the remaining 5 groups and have them in enjoy and feel the spirit of the place. Well after a prayer to our Father in Heaven the next 5 tours went off without any technological issues. Again, still wondering if we had done all that we could, we received what I would say is a manifestation or an answer to our prayers from our Father in Heaven. It had been overcast and light snow all day long, but at the conclusion of our last tour we turned around, the clouds parted for just a moment, and the sun came gleaming through onto the Whitmer farmhouse. It was as if the Lord was saying “it’s my work you’ve done your best, I will do the rest”. And as quickly as the sun came out, the clouds gathered and obscured it again.

It has been a tremendous blessing to be able to watch the work as it moves forward and to be able to speak to people all around the world and to have these wonderful blessing. But one of the things that is always so special are the questions that we receive at the end of the tours. Many times, these questions are from adults wanting to know about aspects of the gospel or parts of the story that we’ve shared with them. But the most tender questions come from the children. The other day we had a young girl maybe six years old and her question was “why were people so mean to Joseph?” What a profound question for all of us to ask in our own lives. Are we mean to those that we don’t understand, or that are slightly different than us, or that maybe believe something just a bit different than we do? Is there an opportunity that we can, as this young girl suggests, be a little bit kinder to those around us? Maybe that’s where we’ll leave off so we all can ponder upon this question in our own lives this week.

Well, I’ve attached a few pictures because they say a picture speaks A 1000 words, although I think I’ve already put 1000 words into this. We will talk to you next week and wish you the blessings of the Lord as you go about your activities this week.

Love Sister and Elder Isom