Sunday, May 14, 2017

Why Guadalajara Mexico?

It Takes Two for This Tango
     When Bob proposed to his second wife, Alice, her father said, “You realize that you could end up living anywhere in the world, don’t you?” 
     His first wife, Ann, had died of cancer and a wife and mother was needed for his two boys. 
     Alice was quite beautiful and had children of her own. They became a blended family.
Bob and Alice's blended family
     Bob loved foreign languages and when I married him, he  spoke French, German, and a little Italian. He’d gone to France on a Fulbright Scholarship right after graduation from Princeton University where he had helped a professor translate a philosophy text for him. He had fallen in love with Ann, “Miss Southwestern”, and she had applied for the Fulbright scholarship and urged him to apply. She didn’t get it but he did, they married and off they went to Europe for a honeymoon, where he wrote his paper, and they traveled all over.
Bob and Ann on the Queen Mary 1952

     Bob served during the Korean War in Germany. While married to Ann, they lived in Newcastle, England while he worked for Proctor and Gamble. Bob also worked for Holiday Inns, International Division, and traveled all over the world for them. That was a little frustrating for him because, he said, “When I woke up, since all the rooms looked the same, I wasn’t sure whether I was in Germany or France or somewhere else.”

     Bob, the Princeton philosophy major, discovered he truly believed in the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and this ended his marriage to Alice who was Catholic. Not long after this our friends introduced us even though he lived in Tennessee and I lived in Southern California.
     Bob told me the story about what his second wife’s father said about ending up living anywhere in the world. Quite frankly, I told him, I’m more worried about being bored living in one place for too long.
Bob and Bev August 23, 1979

    In college, my Master’s Thesis advisor, G. Ray Kerciu, was having trouble getting a sufficient number of people signed up, for a 6 week painting and drawing course in Mexico. He said that if I got 20 people enrolled, I could go free. Sounded like a winner to me, so I did just that. The tour called for two weeks in Guadalajara, two weeks in Puebla and two weeks in Mexico City, and that’s where I was when the first steps were taken on the moon.
     After college, I became the Director for the Downey Museum of Art in Southern California. The City of Downey’s Sister City was Guadalajara, Mexico!!! So of course, I went with tours down there and set up exchange exhibitions for artists in our museum.
     After our marriage in the Washington D.C. temple we lived in Arkansas and Nashville, TN. The International bug bit again and Bob got a job as IT Director with Johnson Control World Services on the Island of Kwajalein, an Army base in the Marshall Islands. We lived there for five years or so until Johnson Controls lost the contract to Raytheon and all the top managment positions were being replaced.  At this point retirement loomed on the horizon because at 65 and the peak of his earning career, Bob could not find employment. We started talking about where we would like to spend our retirement years. Our household belongings were in storage in Nashville and our 1200lbs from Kwaj were being shipped to San Francisco to be stored until we decided where we would end up.
     We went to Southern California to stay with my mother who was not doing well living alone, and absolutely did not want to go into a Senior Citizen home. We had an eight year old daughter, who we had home schooled, but had to attend 3rd grade while in California due to education laws there. When she came home from school saying she didn’t have to read except for half an hour, that did it. Prior to this she’d spend hours reading whole series of books.
     Bob suggested we could retire in Saudi Arabia, or maybe Greece, where he could add another language to his repertoire. He’d already learned Russian, attempted Japanese, and had a little Marshallese under his belt by this time. I dug in my heels and said, “No.” to these suggestions. I said, “How about New Zealand?” He replied, “They speak English there.” What about the beautiful mountains? “I’ve seen the real Alps.” They have sheep and the Māori who are the Tangata Whenua, an indigenous people, of New Zealand, I countered. “They have British food which is horrible, because I lived there and know it well.”
     Bob said, “I want to go where they speak a foreign language, eat foreign food, the signs are in another language and the landscape is totally different from anything I’ve ever experienced.”
     “What about Mexico?” I said. After a little research at the library, he came back saying, that Mexico was probably the most foreign place you could go that was easily accessable to the U.S. Having experienced Mexico City, I told him, I’d only agree if we could live in Guadalajara. And that began the process of paperwork, visas, etc. everything in quadruplicate because there would be four of us. All of the paperwork had to be in two languages, English and Spanish. (Hey, Bob, you liking this yet?) We had to get inoculations, a bank account where we could draw out money in Mexico, a post office address that would forward mail to us down there (bills still needed to be paid) and arrange for household goods and our car to get down there too.
     I have no sympathy for illegal immigrants. Mexico had many restrictions on our Visas. We could not work there or take a job from a native person. That limited us to teaching English or practicing one of the arts, like writing, painting and drawing, music, photography, sculpture etc. We had to jump through a thousand hoops, it seemed. And we had to renew our visas every year.
     Finally we went down there on a scouting-it out trip. We stayed at the hotel I stayed in when in college.
     Bob loved it. We had a deal.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Miraculous Monday

A Strenuous Saturday
     You sometimes wonder if God really does know your every need and then a miracle happens and you see his hand in your life. Saturday I searched for and found, then organized my photos taken between 1995 and 2001 when my family lived in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, because I said I would on my last blog post. What an overwhelming task.  No I hadn’t written dates or people’s names on the back. I’d taken them to the FamilySearch History Center where they have a world class scanner. But it took me hours just to sort them by year, mostly using the paper package they came back in after developing. Most of them at WalMart. Yes Guadalajara has a WalMart. Fortunately they wrote the date on that package. By this time I realized I could only scan a few things before my energy ran out: the cover and a page from three books, a photo of my mom and her friend and a couple pages from a booklet from the 1980 World Conference on Records held in Salt Lake City.

     Remember how in my last post I hadn’t really felt my life worthy of telling about; I’m just a plain regular person. While hunting for Mexico photos I found this booklet from the 1980 World Conference on Records by George D. Durrant entitled:

THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL AND FAMILY HISTORY by George D.Durrant: Born in Utah. Resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. Director, Genealogical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ed.D., Brigham Young University. Author, lecturer, teacher.

He says, When I was asked to talk about the importance of a personal and family history, my first thought was, "Why me?" Why not get someone whose life has been filled with excitement and accomplishment and whose family has been among the elite?”

I suspect everyone has this same reaction. Durrant has become quite famous and influenced many students at BYU over the years. He now has 37 more years of personal history and stories to tell. So I begin my personal history by blogging starting with my family's life in Mexico.     
A Sacred Sunday
     Saturday was exhausting and left me in a great deal of pain. So much so, that I wasn’t sure if I could attend all of my meetings on Sunday. I am our Ward Employment Specialist so I attend Ward Council a couple times a month at 7:15 a.m. But recently I noticed that if I am found doing the right thing, am in the right place, at the right time, I am blessed to be physically sustained to endure the day better. Usually this occurs on Sundays.
     It was fast and testimony meeting Sunday and I’d attended the council meeting, and was praying that God would help me to serve others, remain positive about my circumstances and help me on the anniversary of my husband, Bob’s, death on May 9th.
     You never know how an approaching date can affect you. Brother Platt told the story of his brother’s tragic death a year ago and how he’d never understood why people reacted to this type of anniversary, until this year. With tears, and anguish on his faith he said he kept reviewing all the events leading up to his death. It was hard. You could tell his heart was broken, even knowing the Plan of Salvation and that he was spiritually still alive, just on the other side of the veil.
     This reminds me of how Heavenly Father must have felt watching his son, Jesus the Christ, during that week leading up to his death and resurrection. How important it is for us to remember those events. They are sacred to God, and to us. We remember them every Easter.
Cast of Characters
Here is a photo of our family of five taken in Ontario, California just before we left for Mexico in 1995. It is the cast of main characters for my Mexico stories that I’ll be sharing on this blog over the next months.
Bev, Bob, Brianna, Ruthe and Harriett the cat
A Miraculous Monday
     In just one hour, my life changed and I saw God’s hand in my life! There definitely are stories that only I can tell. Here is the one that made a Miraculous Monday.
     Two months ago the Pima Council on Aging sent a representative out to my house to assess my needs. This past month my physical needs changed drastically. I can hardly walk safely and am using walkers, walls, door jambs and furniture to get around in my house, so I don’t fall. On Monday morning Gerry, their representative and my case worker ran late for her appointment with me because of the Ina Road closure at highway I 10. This construction work is disrupting traffic for the next two years. Sigh. She called at fifteen minutes after the hour saying she’d be at my house located seven miles west of I-10 in another fifteen minutes.  Why do I tell you this timing? This is where the miracle begins.
     Mandy, my ward Relief Society President called minutes after Gerry called, asking if her family could come over at 6 p.m. for Family Home Evening and give service for me ie., dusting, vacuuming, doing dishes and cleaning floors. Wow, sure I said. I’d no more hung up from her call, when my landlady, Kim, who lives next door, called and said it was a hard thing to have to say, but that I would have to move out of my house in July. Of course, my heart plunged and I asked if she could come over and meet with the PCOA lady who was just then walking up to my door, so we could all talk.
     The short of it is that Kim has a smaller house right across the street from us where her tenant’s lease will be up July 1st.  Because they need to refinance this property where we live, I need to move. They will gut this place and use it as a place of business. She said I could take anything from this place that I needed to use at the new house. This includes ramps, window air conditioners, raised toilet, etc.
     Gerry had already looked at my bathroom and said it was dangerous for me to be getting in and out of the tub to bathe. The new house has a master bedroom with a bath that has a walk in shower! Problem of safety solved. AND ALL OF THIS FOR $120 LESS A MONTH FOR RENT. NO FIRST AND LAST MONTH RENT AND NO SECURITY DEPOSIT REQUIRED EITHER. My prayers have been answered.
Further Potential Miracles May Follow
     Timing and communication are so important. Monday evening I was able to relate to the RS President what was going on so she could present the circumstances of my housing to the Ward Council. Kim has a single wide trailer at the front of my new address, and the tenant there will be leaving also. It is my hope that through my LDS network, we can find her a new renter and help them get moved in and I'll have a lovely neighbor.
     Gerry’s needs may be met because PCOA is hunting for Direct Home Care Workers who live West of the I-10 freeway. They will screen and train them. Right now, they are having trouble serving me or the people in this area because it is too far to drive and they don’t pay mileage. As Ward Employment Specialist and through the LDS Employment Center, I may facilitate connecting people with needs to those who have solutions. So Cool. Whee!!
     My daughter who is now 30 and living in another state is overjoyed because I have a deadline to get rid of some of my “stuff.” I’ll be selling and donating a lot of household items to pare down into a 2 bedroom place.
     Miracles happen, many needs are met, and many people are served because God sees the whole picture and inspires people to call and react at exactly the right moment in time. Don’t you just love it when everything comes together just like that A-team slogan?
This is an introduction to the stories of my life in Mexico interspersed with stories where I see miracles occuring in my daily life.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cinco de Mayo
Stories of an LDS family in Mexico
This day conjures up festive dancing, celebrations of joy, fireworks and my memories of Mexico. My family lived in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico from 1995 to 2001. Determined to write the stories only I can write, this month I will blog about those stories formed in Mexico.

Festive paper banners at Hacienda Sta Lucia
My blogging had stopped in June of last year. Not only had I lost the desire to write, but I could not even get signed back in when I tried last April 1st. Some Joke.
Yesterday, I saw on TV where avocados have their very own upscale restaurant called “Avocadacity.” I too have a history with these omega oil rich teardrop globes of creaminess. My sister Loni has a humongous tree in her California backyard and once in a while she’ll pack up some and send them to me. Oh my how much more glorious they are than those we find in our local store. My love of avocados, chocolate, chilies, tortillas and Mexican food led me to helping the Guadalajara American Legion Auxiliary publish a cookbook. I will share some of those recipe’s this month.
A local organic sample compared to my Sister's Avocado
Why did I start Blogging as BEEintheDesert?
For those of you just joining me or who have followed me on Twitter, I should probably tell you why I started this blog. A paragraph in my patriarchal blessing (an LDS thing; see my series of blog posts from 2011-2012) says, I’d be determined to serve the Lord…to bring to pass much righteousness upon the earth, and to be an influence for good amongst my fellow associates and friends. Good grief, I thought! Upon the Earth? How could this old lady have an influence all around the world? So I started this blog.
Everybody now has an international following whether on YouTube, a Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., or even just demonstrating holding up signs and appearing on the TV News. The whole young Millenial world is socially connected. This is the Theme of the recent film entitled “The Circle” starring Tom Hanks, and Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame. This connectivity is both good and bad. What it comes down to is a sense of personal integrity, and who we really are.
Reasons Why I Keep a Journal
1. As a memory aide
2. For my mental, emotional, and psychological life…it’s healing.
3. To record important events or insights, joyful, or sad and reasons why.
4. To recognize God’s hand in my life.
5. For an overview of life lessons learned so that one day my descendants could benefit.
6. To discover who I really am and what my purpose in life is.
33+ Journals not including childhood diaries
So you can imagine how I felt when my daughter says, “Mom, you’ve gotta get rid of some of your “stuff.” She gestures over at my notebooks in the shelves and says, “Just scan them.” Then she opens uo one at random and exclaims, “Oh!” My journals are a lot like Camp Fire Girl’s Memory Books with lots of extra memorabilia in them, as well as hand scribbled written pages.
When told about this incident, my friend Pam began bugging me to go through the journals, extracting the stories, insights, etc. and write my personal history. YIKES.
Like everyone else, I think, who’d want to read it? Mine is just a life lived, nothing very great. Pam said, not true, you’ve influenced many of your friends. Okay, Pam, now I’ll start by telling the stories about an LDS family living in Mexico to begin with during May.
A Horrible Lemon Monday
I can blog again now after a horrifying day last Monday where everything went technologically WRONG. I spent all day trying to get my printer to acknowledge my new wi fi provider. Frustrated beyond description and very angry, I turned to family history research because that always calmed me down. But HORRORS, the sources weren’t attaching properly. So I called FamilySearch for help. They said, eliminate all your cookies…from the beginning of time! I fought this, but finally gave in and did what I was told. NOW I CAN SIGN IN TO MY BLOG AGAIN!!!! The Lord works in mysterious ways. Lemonade was made out of a horrible Lemon Monday.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Three Day Assimilation Rule

The Three Day Assimilation Rule
 I wrote this post originally in 2013 and am updating it in 2017
  I leaned while homeschooling my daughter that it took about 3 days for some new concept or topic or principle to "sink in." This was a very important discovery. That a teacher could try to cram more about a certain concept, topic or principle into non-hearing ears and an uncomprehending mind the next day. But no learning would happen. This would cause complete frustration with herself, thinking what a terrible teacher she was, because the student simply didn't "get it."
     However, after three days, the student herself would begin to talk about that new concept or topic or principle!!! With understanding. It wasn't because the teacher had given the lesson over and over again (like I'd once thought was the case) but it just needed time to germinate quietly in the dark recesses of her mind.
     This past month has been such a period for me.
     RootsTech 2013 completely blew my mind. It turned my thinking upside down... and I needed time to assimilate what I learned. This is the reason that I have not posted here recently. I had gone up to the event with very specific goals and each day drove my scooter around and talked with the most amazing, inspiring people. I collected stories of how God's hand was seen in their lives as they did their "genealogical thing." I also attended fabulous Keynote speakers, along with presenters who were at the top in their fields within the genealogical community. Many of these were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They seemed to shine among their peers. They were looked up to and respected for being innovators. They had fabulous stories to tell and told them well.

Stories were the Theme of RootsTech 2013
     My goal of collecting stories was right in line with the overall theme of RootsTech. I had even had cards printed to pass out to people, encouraging them to contact me with their stories. On this card it said, Beverly E. Field, author of Elijah's Warriors. Of course I told people, there would be no book until I had collected the stories. The stories are coming, however, now I know there will be no book.

What!!!! NO BOOK?
     Yep, no book. My target audience was to be young teens. I wanted to show them how God's plan was unfolding and that they were His young warriors using the genealogical technology needed to move His work forward, They would be responsible for  finding records, indexing those record collections, identifying specific individuals and then providing the necessary ordinances for all of those who have ever lived anywhere upon the earth. This means ALL who ever lived in China, Russia, Australia… everywhere. That means the youth of those countries will be Elijah’s Warriors. The young native speakers of every language will have to learn how to read OLD manuscript writing in ancient mandarin, historic Spanish, and so on. They’ll have heavenly help, of this I can share my testimony about.     
They watch 5 minute fast paced YouTube visual stories. Maybe…just maybe  they might read an E-book on their Kindle, woops the young don’t DO Kindle’s do they? In reality they want short quick burst of infusion before they go on to their next task; they want TWEETS, they want a continuing FB conversation one sentence at a time. NO BOOK.
Mini RootsTech Conferences All Over the World
     RootsTech FamilySearch speakers told of how there are to be Regional RootsTech Events in several countries this year. Then maybe 60 such RootsTech Conferences in 2014. If the youth in American don’t respond to this call the youth of the world, will. The cultures of China have left the burden of their family stories on only one or two children because of bans on large families.
    I've lived through several of these Regional RootsTech Events in my own town and the organizers, just didn't get the difference between a regular Family History Conference and a RootsTech one. They'd invited local experts instead of using the pre-recorded 1 hour sessions by world renowned experts presented at RootsTech. This past February, our stake even scheduled "their" Discovery Day on the same day as RootsTech's Discovery Day in Salt Lake. What did I choose to watch at home on my computer? Salt Lake's experts of course. I must say here, though, that everyone who attended the local event absolutely loved it and learned a lot. But it was not a RootsTech Family Discovery Day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

108 degrees or 114 degrees

Social Media is Motivating and 
Thought Provoking
     Here is what my friend posted on my time line by a friend from Illinois: “I have been watching the weather and it seems your area is very HOT! I sure hope you are staying "inside" with the A/C on full blast. We have been hot too and I stay in my lower level of our raised ranch house where it is cool because I don't have air!”
     My response: ”Yes, I'm staying inside. My "A/C" is window air conditioners... so I stay in my bedroom, mostly, keeping the other rooms warm but not 114 like Sunday, or 112 yesterday. It's supposed to be only 108 today! Won't go below 105/6 the rest of the week. When I was mobile, I'd go from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned store, etc. So it never bothered me much. Now it takes too much time getting from house to car into a store and I melt. Getting old ain't for sissies!"
My Illinois friend said: “ I hope you are alright! We have had 90's with no A/C and I think my dogs suffer more than me. I have a pool exercise class 3 times a week and that is very refreshing. My house is surrounded with big oak trees so always a breeze outside. Having a fence installed across part of the front to keep Jethro from getting on the road, about 230 feet, with a nice gate. Then "we" can all be outside when I want to do gardening.....Molly loves to lay in the green grass. Think of you often my friend!"

What to Do When it’s Deadly Hot

     It doesn’t matter whether it is 108 or 114 degrees temperature where I live or not. These six degrees are still deadly hot. I am not going outside. Keeping my house cool is very difficult. So what do I do when my internet connection, doesn’t function well? I watch Netflix…. Nope, can’t even do that without a wi-fi connection. Shoot. After a week of this imprisonment, I’ve decided that there IS one thing I can do. 
     Go through all my paper files and documents and start checking to see if they are online in Family Tree. If I find original stories or documents, not there, I am scanning them and will put them into the system. My own memory is getting worse, so reviewing notes that I took while interviewing people back in 1969 when I first began researching, is revealing more accurate versions of memories than I had misremembered. Guess I’d better get busy. 

 Picking a Surname
     Where to begin? I’ve always assumed that my children and grandchildren would absolutely love to have what I’ve accumulated over the years. WRONG! My daughter, who is adopted, simply can’t understand why people save objects that have only sentimental value. Her husband does, however and so does her son who is 9 years old and starting to make his own memories in Scouting. His mother does recognize that others have this need to keep “things” and agrees to ask permission to throw away stuff, before taking action. At age 29 she can’t imagine going through all of my “stuff” when I die.  So to make things easier on her I am taking action
My First Choice in Surnames Goes Awry
     I’d gone to my father’s Surname, Eckles, first and posted on Father’s Day, in Face Book, that I was going through all my years of research notes, etc. in order to pass the torch or baton, so to speak, to a younger generation. And the response that I got was startling. I’d already give the tapes of my interviews with my dad (taped in the early 1980s) to my half-sister, C. She didn’t want to transcribe them, but did, and they sit languishing in her closet while she travels the world. Her younger brother J, a financial type guy, responded to my post:
     “hi Bev!  Hope you are well.  Please don't add my name to anything to do with pictures of our Dad.  I have very, very, bad memories of him- he was an abusive, bigoted, alcoholic.  I spent years "unlearning" the garbage he taught me, so I would rather not see pictures of him nor have my name anywhere close to his.  Thanks, J“
     My response: “Oh, my, so sorry. That was kind of my impression of him, too, but no personal knowledge. I promise to not add you name again. I truly understand. He damaged C, too. I always blamed my poor self-image on him, but over the years have realized my memories were a bit off. So am on the forgiveness path; but I'm 72 so it's taken me a looooong time. Love that you're my "brother" even though your mom kept emphasizing that I was no relation. I've always admired you, so I guess you're doing something right. Keep up the good work.”
     His response: “Thnx. I get the forgiveness thing as well.  But the fact remains some people have no business being around children, he was one of them.  He is not someone I am proud to call my father, thus, the preference to avoid the association.”
     My final post: “I was lucky that I got him early before he let alcohol take over. He was starting to do that dinner-table-drinking thing when I lived with them in 1961 for six months my first year at Junior College. So okay he's no longer a topic... now... Let's think positive thoughts. Have a wonderful Father's Day.”
This is a Classic Genealogical Conundrum 
     Negative things want to be forgotten by people. When there’s a lot of that family drama, no one wants anything to do with it. Stories are buried and no one learns from the mistakes of their elders, and then seem to repeat or make the same type of mistakes over and over again. Call it cellular memory or cussed orneriness. Somehow, I missed that gene. I don’t care about all of that. I love the stories, love the research and putting together the pieces of my family puzzle. 

Seeing the Whole Picture from an Eternal Perspective
     Christian’s believe that through Christ’s atonement all who accept Him as their Savior will be forgiven. Golly, we all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger boo boos than others. Mormon’s believe that everyone who has ever been born on this earth will have the opportunity to accept or reject Christ. Of course, millions have died without ever even hearing His name, much less His Good News!  That is why we research our own families and perform vicariously for them the ordinances, including baptism, for those who have died. We are responsible for our own family, no one else’s. God knows where to send us and into what family he wants us born. He knew us before and knew which one of us would actually do this vicarious work, if we had a choice. Guess He knew me. I don’t judge my ancestors, and when they are particularly naughty, I envision them as a seven year old child, without the stains of sin. Hope Heavenly Father will look at me the same way when I see Him again.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Speaking with the Tongue of Angels

The Spirit of Elijah Like a Fire is Burning Within My Heart

A letter I wrote to the Missionaries serving from my Ward
March 13 2016
     As missionaries you often speak with the “tongue of angels” when testifying of Christ and His church. Yesterday it was my privilege participate in this glorious, joyous, and sacred gift of the Holy Ghost while working at the FamilySearch History Center.
     I’d prayed several times in days previous that I might be helpful to the patrons who were going to come. Then I began to pray for people to be prompted to come that “needed” to be there. Finally, I prayed for a specific member who had called me saying, “You are the only one who has ever gotten me the least bit interested in doing my own family history,” so can we get together again? I met Rafael in my water aerobics class three years ago and invited him to begin working on his family history at the center; he came once. This time, I gave him homework (get a three ring binder, notepaper, pen to bring) and any documents he might have, and come to the center at 9 am, Saturday. His reply was, “He didn’t have any documents, and that we’d put everything he knew into FamilySearch already.”
     He came and miracles happened. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and never knew his father, who left his mom when he was about three. His dad was born in Puerto Rico. Rafael was there promptly at 9:00 a.m. when we opened. We always have a prayer with the volunteer workers before we begin. I was just sitting down with him at a computer, when in walks a non-member patron, Juanita, who had a microfilm she had been viewing for the past few weeks. Juanita is an expert in Puerto Rican genealogy. She helped found a Puerto Rican Genealogy group in New York City when she lived there!
     I introduced the two, left them together as she began teaching him the importance of documenting sources, recording and organizing his research, finding census, death and marriage records, birth records and even translating them in full for him for the next four hours. Just before closing, she rushes in to me saying, “This really is God’s work, I just found Rafael’s second great grandmother and she was born on March 12, 1890…. March 12th…. March 12th … Oh, my gosh!” “126 years ago exactly!”
     At this point I testified that this was true and that our ancestor angels attended us as we worked on finding them in the records they left on earth. Both Rafael and Juanita found joy in their discoveries. She never got to read her microfilm, but she didn’t care.
Now, this was not the only sacred event that happened at the center. Another woman, Darlene, a non-member that I’d also met at water aerobics and helped her to get started on family history several months ago at the center, came in to look for immigration records for her Swedish line. She’d told me how she’d just gotten hooked on this new hobby and couldn’t stop doing it! She’d say to her husband, “Just a minute, just one more thing, and an hour later….” I know the feeling. “It’s addictive, she said.” Yes, I know, and had previously told her about the Spirit of Elijah, and how that was the Holy Ghost testifying of the divinity of the family. She is planning a trip to Sweden in August with her son to go see their ancestor’s church and homeland!
     I sat her at a computer, next to another non-member patron, John, who never puts anything into FamilySearch but is an engineer who methodically has documented his family including sending away for naturalization records…via snail mail and ordering microfilms. I asked John if he would help Darlene find some immigration records. Four hours later, they were both so excited at having found what she was looking for and more. I apologized to John that he didn’t get to do much of his own work and he said, “Actually at the last minute I found a record that I’d spent years searching for. It was just right there!!!!” I testified to him that this was a reward for the generous help he gave Darlene, and that God was indeed helping them both! Both were uplifted and edified.
     I shared both these stories with the other volunteer workers testifying of the power of prayer in this work. And I “speak with the tongue of angels,” again to you, that I know if we pray diligently for patrons to come into the center, they WILL come. God prompts them to come, then prompts others who can help them to come. We are a Center for feeling the Holy Ghost as powerful as when missionaries testify in the homes of members and investigators.
     So missionaries, bring your investigators to the local FamilySearch Center. Arrange for special hours to visit with the Center director, if regular hours aren’t convenient. Listen to the promptings and include members who can help, youth who can help, to come at the same time. God will work miracles for you, too. It is all part of the Plan of Salvation and angels will assist.
With all my love,
Bev Field

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stories That Only I Can Tell

The Stories Only I can Tell
     Some stories are about personal struggles, some are about family and some are about friends, but our stories are exactly that OUR stories. I've always loved the idea of HISSTORY (no that's not a misspelled word) this phrase or spelling came to me when researching my Hicks family. One of my relatives called his writings, Hickstory. So when I began to write about my husband, now deceased, I used the term HisStory. But it could easily be UrStory, Bevstory, Herstory, Theirstory, etc.The idea is that we've been asked to write them, tell them and share them.
     Cheryl A. Esplin, the 2nd Counselor in the General Primary Organization of the LDS Church recently told the women of our church to seek light to help us become what He wants us to be. She shared a story of her great grandfather's sister, Elizabeth Staheli Walker and a dream she had.

     Many years after having this dream and several months before she died at nearly age 88, Elizabeth received a powerful impression. She said, 
“The thought came to me as plain … as if someone had said to me, … ‘Do not bury your testimony in the ground.’”5 
 Sister Esplin challenged us to "Live it! Share It! Defend It!

Again I Begin to Blog Anew
     Watch what God can do and acknowledge it in your life...share it with others. It doesn't have to be a formal testimony. It can be just a simple truth learned or a tender mercy you've been blessed with, or seeing God's hand in your life. It is not always the big things that touch another's heart, but the little tender things that they've wondered about or experienced. We each come to our own stories by way of living our lives in the midst of others. This morning I reread my journal for 2015. The first quarter has passed into history... MyHistory. I've learned many things in this rereading. And there's one that I'll share here.
A Recent Healing
     I had become very aware that a certain percentage of people that I knew or had met, didn't like me. You've probably had that experience in life. I recently read a book, "Shakespeare Saved My Life" by Laura Bates. It was surprisingly engaging. Surprising because it is about men in prison and teaching them Shakespeare. This quote really touched me to the core because of what I had experienced when people didn't like me. 
     "A prison inmate who had not talked in more than two years said, "I think I had just developed so much hatred for everything and everybody that it just bled out to those around me too. Some of them guys I could look back now and see he was a good dude. He coulda been talking positive things, but I would hate him. 'aw that dude's so fake, man!' I' d have these conversations with myself: 'that dude's a phony!' So I wouldn't talk..."

     Years ago when I asked a couple friends why they didn't like me at first. One said they thought I was a fake or phony person. Another said, because you are fat and I don't like fat people. Now I could see that peoples reactions to me came from their own prejudices and hatreds.  The best insightful quote from Laura Bates' book comes from an enlightened prisoner.
     "It is not our conscience that torments us over our image; that is our ego tormenting us. Our conscience torments us when we behave in ways that are contrary to our values. When you look in the mirror and cringe as a result of your shame, it is conscience. When you look in the mirror and cringe as a result of how people think of you, it is ego. Which of the two is more prevalent in your life?"
Are not we all prisoners? See Isaiah 61:1
A Dedicated Home Teacher
     I had been feeling that my home teacher who has visited monthly for over two years, didn't really know me very well. So I purposed to ask of him several questions about myself that I thought were important. He knew none of the answers. It turned out they were not important, but instead it opened up his very personal story of who he is and why he'd requested to become my home teacher. The bottom line was that he didn't like me and wanted to work it out. Yep there it was, right in my face. I'd asked God to let me know what I did that certain people didn't like because I wanted it gone from my life. I knew that Christ's atonement covered bad habits, weaknesses and learned actions or demeanor. Now I knew. 
     We had a very long discussion and I now knew what to pray about. He told me about a picture of an angel protecting Christ that his wife had painted that had a quote something like this on it: "There is no earthly sorrow that Christ can not heal." How much I needed that.
     This past few weeks have been spent in praying that the Holy Ghost would change years of the bad habit, removing that very problem, probably inherited from my parents when I was very young, that had been hidden from my awareness. It was revealed by a dedicated home teacher, and the resulting sorrow, tears and humiliation resulted in a heavy burden of depression for several weeks that was finally removed from my heart this morning by rereading my journal pages and praying for the gifts needed to overcome it. As Isaiah 61:3  says, indeed 
Beauty for Ashes, 
Oil of Joy for Mourning, 
A Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness
     These became evident in my life and when I read this next phrase, my heart sang and I felt His redeeming love:
"That they might be called Trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that
He might be Glorified."
     Sheri Dew's book "Amazed by Grace" and the notes I took in March when reading it, have lifted me up, empowered me to move forward to share the stories that only I can tell. I desire with all my heart to be called a Tree of Righteousness so that God will be glorified by my acts of discipleship.