Monday, September 27, 2010

Elder Call's Passion for Family History Comes Alive

Note: I mentioned to Elder Call that my own life history—to age 50—is currently almost 600 pages long and will likely be close to 1,000 pages when it's finished, which I hope will be by the end of the year.

27 September 2010

Dear Dad,

I cannot believe that Mary Ann will be 16 in a couple of weeks. She and John are getting so old.

It sounds like Mary Ann is quite the missionary and that makes me so proud of her. That makes me happier than anything else I think. You are successful when you invite. She is successful.

I am also very happy that you finally have some people that might be interested in the house. I will pray that one of them will be able to go through with it.

It is cooling down here also. Idaho is weird, it will get cool then a random day of heat. Or get really hot, then a random cold day. But I think it is now fall, and every time I think that it makes me sad. I only have a few months left. Elder Durnall said once that it is like the dusk of my mission. So I guess that means it will be over in the cold of the night.

If you think that no one will be interested in reading your life history, I'd say you were off your rocker! Just think if Cyril had written 600 pages of life history! We would know about his conversion, about his blessings, his family's conversion, specifically what he experienced in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and crossing the plains, starting new in the Great Basin. Not just fragmented details drawn from children and grandchildren, glued together by memories and stories in the framework of history as a guide! But a whole piece of art—intact, beautiful, and as fresh as the dawning of the days he awoke to face the world!

This is a work that must be finished. Records, personal records, are vital to humanity. A family's history is the world's history. They must be created, consistently reviewed and updated, and then preserved.

I'm just a little passionate about this.

Elder Call

Elder Call Demonstrates He Hasn't Lost His Family History Acumen

Note: I had forwarded to Elder Call a request from a member of the Cyril Call Family Association on LinkedIn for any information regarding Joseph Smith's prophecy to Cyril that he (Cyril) would have a large posterity that would remain true to the Church. This is Elder Call's response

27 September 2010

Hi Dad,

I so wish that I could do some real serious genealogy on the mission!

I have heard of that "prophecy" before. I don't remember right now of finding any original source. I have all of those black bins of genealogy stuff. It is sorted alphabetically by last name by couple. So Cyril and Sally Tiffany Call should have a folder with information gathered about them and any children that I am not a direct descendant of, so Omer and Sarah M. Ferrin Call should have a separate folder. You can go through that and look to see if there is anything.

The one thing that might be similar to that "prophecy" is his patriarchal blessing given by Joseph Smith Sen. I believe that talks about a large posterity that would be a part of the church. I should have a copy of that in that folder. I believe they received those in May 1836, the same day that Anson was baptized. Sally's makes note that if she would be baptized, then the blessings will come.

There is a book that has early patriarchal blessings compiled. There is one listed for Cyril and Sally "Cabb". Whoever transcribed it misread "Call" for "Cabb" (an easy mistake).

Samantha Call Willey (1814-1905) also wrote a life history (I think about seven pages) that might give some insight. I think in her's she mentions being baptized in the Grand River (in Ohio) in 1837 with some siblings. Her cousin Orvis Call was also baptized in 1837 (she refers to him as "Uncle Orvis" sometimes). That should be in Cyril's folder also.

If I remember correctly there are two possible dates of baptism for Cyril:
1) October 1831 (according to Anson's journal begun about 1839)
2) November 1832 (I think that is on a High Priest Group Record in Bountiful)

In May 1836 Cyril and Sally had 12 children, 8 of baptism age and Anson being the only one married. Children are: Harvey (27), Anson (26), Samantha (21), Fanny (turned 21 in May 1836), Lucina (16), Josiah (14), Mary (12), Sonora (9), Sarah (7), Melissa (6), Omer and Homer (2).

Cyril definitely had a large posterity. According to one researcher it is the 6th largest in the church.

Out of all children it seems as though they all stayed active except for Melissa. I think she joined The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Good luck and let me know of any developments on that.

Elder Call

Monday, September 20, 2010

Baptisms Continue to Come

20 September 2010

Dear Dad,

Isn't it crazy how fast the weeks are flying by? This past week it seems like we have been constantly running all over the place trying to get things done. The busier you are the quicker it goes. This upcoming week we have another training meeting in Pocatello. That will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So that will make this week go by quick also.

Elder Fife's half of the stake is having some crazy things happen with missionary work. For probably the last 7 or 8 months there hasn't been a baptism. Now He has four baptism dates. Two of the dates are 10 year old twins, another is 23 year old lady, and the last is a 22 year old man named George [not his real name].

That last one is a pretty cool story. We tracted some apartments earlier this week and met a lady that said she is less-active, but would like us to come teach her and her husband. So she set up an appointment for Friday night. We got there and she left a note on the door saying she had to work, but "please do come back." So we left kind of dejected. Then as we were getting in the car Elder Durnall and Elder Fife saw a man outside. They both thought we should go talk to him. But they didn't want to get back out of the car and walk straight up to him. So we parked on the other side of the building and walked around to talk to him. He is less-active also, and not interested in hearing about the Church (incidentally, he went to school Uncle Scott Kunz down in Bear Lake). So we walked around and saw another man outside. We chatted with him for a minute. His name was George.

I said, "George, I think we met your wife, Susan [not her real name], the other day." He said that was her. We talked about how she wanted us back to teach about the gospel. We asked him if it was alright to come back. He said, "Ya, maybe tomorrow night."

So we went over Saturday night. We started talking about how the gospel blesses families and how prayer has affected their lives. (This approach has had a huge impact, especially lately.) We asked some questions to help him identify his feelings and the Spirit (one of the things we are taught in this new curriculum). Later on in the lesson Elder Durnall extended a baptism invitation and he accepted, without any hesitation! It was so cool.

We had another investigator baptized on Saturday! He is 20 years old and we have been teaching him with another family. One of the members of that family was baptized last week. This investigator is way cool and really gets the gospel. He is the kind of guy that never really had too many friends in High School and his parents haven't treated him very good. He told us after the baptism, "There are some things you do before you're baptized. And some things you don't do after you're baptized." He wants to serve a mission.

That's pretty cool about the new family moving into Aditya's neighborhood. Aditya has a sister that is considerable younger than he is. Some of their kids might be her age, I'm not sure. I hope Aditya is doing alright.

I pray for you and for the family, about work, school, and the move. I know that everything will work out like it is supposed to.

Elder Call

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Miracle in Taylor Mountain

13 September 2010

Dear Dad,

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE CAMERA!!! I can't thank you enough for it. It will be great to have and I really wish I knew what happened to the other one. The new one looks like it is working great and is really nice. Thank you.

It sounds like you had a really good Sacrament. As a missionary here we go to multiple sacrament meetings each week so I have been to scores upon scores upon scores of sacraments. Some of them are much, much better than others. We had a couple of really good sacraments yesterday also. One family talked about the Holy Ghost and its influence. It was a very powerful talk.

So like I said this past week was transfers. We only cover half the stake and Elder Fife who covers the other half was supposed to train a new missionary. The new missionary decided that he needed surgery last minute. He is delayed 2 or 3 weeks. So Elder Fife is now in a trio with Elder Durnall and me for the next little bit. It has been way fun and pretty cool covering the whole Taylor Mountain Stake.

Wednesday was absolutely crazy though. Elder Durnall and I had to pack a bunch of stuff and move in with Elder Fife (his apartment is much more central) and get all settled in. Then in the afternoon we found out that a new set of elders in our zone that were whitewashing in couldn't live in the place the mission was planning on. So we got a phone call asking if they could live in Elder Fife's place also. So now there are 5 missionaries crammed into a small apartment. We probably will be moving into our original apartment though--it is just too crowded. We will see what happens.

I will pray that this fundraising book project will work out and be a steady stream of income. That would be pretty neat if it works out. Does Brooke and her family live here in Idaho? Or have they moved?

We had one investigator baptized on Tuesday night. That was a really good baptism and hopefully it will help lead her family in the right direction. She was supposed to be confirmed on Sunday, but was in the hospital. I hope that she can make it and be confirmed this coming week.

I just remembered we had a crazy experience on Wednesday (mixed in with all of the transfer stuff). We went to go talk to a family that we were told might be able to help fellowship someone. We will call her Sis. Smith. We knocked on her door at about 4:45, having never met her. She answered the door and looked completely shocked and very emotional, "What are you doing here?!" We could all tell something was up, so we just asked here how she was doing. She then went on to tell us the following:

Sis. Smith is in the process of selling her trailer. She is married currently but her ex-husband who is deceased was a convert to the church. She never met any of his family. All day long she felt him telling her that she needed to sale her home for cheaper so that the man coming over could buy it. He also told her that the man coming over to buy the home was his brother. He told her that she needed to sale the home to him because he needed to be a missionary. Sis. Smith was talking about this in a manner that was quite extraordinary. Her communications with her deceased ex-husband were extremely real to her. She didn't tell us the were real, but how she described the account. As if he was actually there conversing with her. We are actually confused for a bit about who was deceased.

The deceased husband told her that when the man came over she needed to show him their wedding pictures. So he came over and she talked with him for a bit and said she had something she wanted to show him. She went into the garage and brought out the wedding pictures.

She said to the man, "Who is this in the picture?"

He replied, "That's my brother!"

She then told him what was going on. Of course, he was quite moved. She told him that he needed to be a missionary.

So then we showed up and she had us wait for a while. But eventually we had to leave. Shortly before 7:00 she called us and said that we had to come over, because he was supposed to come back with his girlfriend to see the house again. Elder Fife was with a man on splits. But Elder Durnall, myself, and Preston (RM, team teacher) went over. We sat down and talked with her for a few minutes. We were all way nervous because this man was coming over for a business deal and didn't know we would be there. But we just sat and said we would trust in the spirit. The longer the wait the more nervous I got. But then he pulled up. There were 4 people, with more kids. Two of the men were absolutely huge. I was terrified!

Sis. Smith answered the door, they came in and saw us and were kind of surprised. She told them about us coming over and that it wasn't a coincidence. She said she wanted them to listen to us. So we all sat down and talked about the events that had transpired earlier in the day. They knew that it was all true, that the deceased man really did work from the other side. They had talked to their mother about and she had been in tears and believed it all also.

Preston asked, "Matt (name has been changed), do you feel like something is missing in your life?"

Matt said, "Yes. I feel like there is something more that I need."

Preston: "We have what you need."

A little bit more talk. Then it seemed like the conversation was done.

Elder Durnall asked, "Do you have any questions or concerns?"

A moment of silence. Some kind of shook their heads.

Matt: "What makes the Mormon church different from the Baptist church?" We all smiled at each other. I went on to explain the apostasy a bit and shared the First Vision. Elder Durnall taught and testified. Preston asked how Matt was feeling.

Matt: "That was powerful. True. I can just see the truth of it in you. The completeness. The fullness."

We almost fell off our chairs. We gave them our phone number and are going to help them move in and teach them.

That was a down-right miracle. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it--a miracle.

Things are happening in the Taylor Mountain Stake.

Elder Call