Erudite Book Club Reading List 1987 to Present

Bookshelves fullHere is our Erudite Book Club Reading List.  Each year each member can suggest up to 5 books.  They have 1 minute per book to sell the book selection committee on their recommendations.  We do this at an evening dinner party.  The selection committee is made up of 3 members and it rotates through the club from year to year.


Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
Two From Galilee, Marjorie Holmes
The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck M.D.
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare
Anne Of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
Miracle At Philadelphia, Catherine Drinker Bowen
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christy
A Stranger for Christmas, Carol Lynn Pearson
Benjamin Franklin Autobiography

City of Joy, Lapierre
Watership Down, Richard Adams
Screwtape Letters/
Mere Christianity  C.S. Lewis
Love Is Eternal, Irving Stone
Exodus, Leon Uris
The Dollmaker, Harriette Arnow
Walden, Thoreau
Mig Pilot, John Barron
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
The Once and Future King, T.H. White
Three Blind Mice, Agatha Christy

The Silver Chalice, Thomas Costain
The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Life and Death in Shanghai, Nien Cheng
A Seperate Peace, John Knowles
How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn
Lake Wobegone Days, Garrison Keillor
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
The Briography of Hugh B. Brown, Firmage

Turn of the Screw, Henry James
Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
Saints, Orson Scott Card
Everything I Ever Wanted to Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Robert Fulgam
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
The Seventh Son, Orson Scott Card
Eleni, Nicholas Gage
Cold Sassy Tree, Olive A. Burns
Follow The River, James Thom

The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
A Girl of the Limberlost, Gene S. Porter
Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt
Kaffir Boy, Mark Mathabane
The Education of Little Tree, Forrest Carter
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler
Only When I Laugh, Eloise Bell
Mila 18, Leon Uris
The Spy Wore Red, Alice, Countess of Romanones

Hawaii, James A. Michener
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg
The Brothers Karamozov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Ladies of Missalonghi, Colleen McCullough
My Name Is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbit
The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax, Dorothy Gilman
Powder Keg, Leo V. Gordon/Richard Vetterli
The Lacemaker, Janine Montupet

The Stolen White Elephant, Mark Twain
A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
Hero and the Crown, R. McKinley
Walking Across Egypt, Clyde Edgerton
The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller
Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver
The Way Things Ought To Be, Rush Limbaugh
Roots, Alex Haley
Midwife’s Tale, Laurel Ulrich
Emma, Jane Austen

Freedom At Midnight, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot
Stones For Ibarra, Harriet Doerr
The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
My Antonia, Willa Cather
One Child, Torey L. Hayden
Fatherland, Robert Harris
Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner

Princess, Jean Sasson
A Woman of Egypt, Jihan Sadat
The Robe, Lloyd C. Douglas
The Power of One, Bryce Courtney
Middlemarch, George Eliot
Good Night Mr. Tom, Michelle Magorian
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Michael Dorris
Vienna Prelude, Bodie Thoene
Wild Swans, Jung Chang
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

Mutant Message Down Under, Marlo Morgan
All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir, Ulrich/Thatcher
Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
The Giver, Lois Lowrey
Andersonville, Mackinley Kantor
Jamaica Inn, Daphne DuMaurier
Nobody Don’t Love Nobody, Stacey Bess
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austin
A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
First Ladies, Margaret Truman
Faust, Goethe
In their Own Words: Women and the Story of Nauvoo, Carol Cornwall Madsen

The Gathering of Zion, Wallace Stegner
A Mother’s Ordeal, Steve Mosher
Go Forward With Faith, Sheri L. Dew
Henry the Fifth, William Shakespeare
Murder on the Potomac, Margaret Truman
Stones From the River, Ursula Hegi
The Hundred Secret Senses, Amy Tan
Nicholas and Alexandra, Robert K. Massie
The Eight, Katherine Neville

The Color of Water, James McBride
The Face of a Stranger, Anne Perry
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain
A Lantern in Her Hand, Bess Streeter Aldrich
Malkeh and Her Children, Marjorie Edelsen
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
I Am the Clay, Chaim Potok
The Glass Lake, Maeve Binchy
The Man Who Listens to Horses, Monty Roberts

A Civil Action, Jonathan Harr
Father Elijah-An Apocalypse, Michael D. O’Brien
The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Emmuska Orczy
At Home in Mitford, Jan Karon
The Children, David Halberstam
Mourning Dove, Larry Barkdull
Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Standing for Something, Gordon B. Hinckley
Rocket Boys (October Sky), Homer H. Hickman
Excellent Women, Barbara Pym
The Book Club, Mary Alice Monroe
Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech
Here Be Dragons, Sharon Kay Penman
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw
Holes, Louis Sachar
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Galileo’s Daughter, Dava Sobel
Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas
The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
Possession, A. S. Byatt
The Silver Crown, Robert O’Brien
A Mormon Mother, Annie Clark Tanner

Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton
The Real George Washington, Parry
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Other Side of Heaven, John H. Groberg
Bonds That Make Us Free, C. Terry Warner
Stolen Lives, Malika Oufkir
The Trumpeter of Krakow, Eric P. Kelly
From Sea to Shining Sea, James Alexander Thom
The Samurai’s Garden, Gail Tsukiyama

Time and Again, Alan Paton
The Nine Brides and Granny Hite, Neill C. Wilson
John Adams, David McCullough
Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl
Hallelujah, J. Scott Featherstone
Peace Like a River, Leif Enger
Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand
Beethoven’s Hair, Russell Martin
The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
My Grandfather’s Blessings, Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

These Is My Words, Nancy E. Turner
The Persian Pickle Club, Sandra Dallas
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
The Far Pavillions, M. M. Kaye
Forever, Erma Erma Bombeck
The President’s Lady, Irving Stone
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara
Joan of Arc, Mark Twain
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader , C. S. Lewis

Don Quixote, Cervantes
Charlotte’s Rose, Elaine Cannon
Flag of Our Fathers, James Bradley
The History of Joseph Smith, Lucy Mack Smith
Wish You Well, David Baldacci
Persuasion, Jane Austin
Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
Johnstown Flood, David McCullough
All But My Life, Gerta Weissman Klien

Eat Cake, Jeanne Ray
Good Hope Road, Lisa Wingate
A Train to Potevka, Mike Ramsdell
Goose, Girl/Princess Academy, Shannon Hale
Night, Elie Wiesel
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Fire in the Bones, S. Michael Wilcox
March, Geraldine Brooks
Bound for Canaan, Furgus M. Bordewich
1776, David McCullough

The Emperors of Chocolate, Joel Glenn Brenner
A Girl Named Zippy, Haven Kimmel
The Faith Club, Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver/Priscilla Warner
The Ladies Auxiliary, Tova Mirvis
The Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
The Warden, Anthony Trollope
Left to Tell, Immaculee Ilibagiza
The Peacegiver, James L. Ferrell
The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester

Unlikely Heroes, Ron Carter
Each Little Bird That Sings/
Love, Ruby Lavender, Deborah Wiles
Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
Mormon Scientist, Henry J. Eyring
The Citadel, A.J. Cronin
Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, Fannie Flag
Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskill
Moloka’i, Alan Brennert
The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone
To Destroy You is No Loss, Joan Criddle & Teeda Butt Mam

Letters of a Woman Homesteader, Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
The Guernsey Literacy &,Potato Peel Pie Society, Shaffer & Barrows
The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
Red Bird Christmas, Fanny Flagg
Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
Dark Tide, Stephen Puleo
The Quilters Legacy, Jennifer Chiaverini

Massacre at Mountain Meadows, Walker, Turley, & Leonard
Your Choice-Books by Richard Peck Richard Peck
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry
Miracles on the Water, Tom Nagorski
Yearning for the Living God, F. Enzio Busche
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Uprising, Margaret P. Haddix
The Blue Star, Tony Earley
Lighting Out for the Territory, Roy Morris, Jr.

End of 2011 (Calendar Changed)
Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Benson J Lossing
Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson
Maise Dobbs, Jacque Winspear
Chains, Laurie Halse Anderson

The Shape of Mercy, Susan Meissner
Jubilee Trail, Gwen Bristow
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Candle in the Darkness, Lynn Austin
The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
Understood Betsy, Dorothy Canfield
The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio, Terry Ryan
Eve: Choices Made in Heaven, Beverly Campbell
Women of Character, Susan Black & MJ Woodger
Half the Sky, Nicolas Kristol

2013-14 (Calendar Changed Back)
Destiny of a Republic, Candice Millard
Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown
April 1865, Jay Winik
The Tenant of Wildfell, Hall Ann Bronte
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
Major Petigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson
Catherine the Great, Robert Massie
Saving CeeCee Honeycut, Beth Hoffman
Mao’s Last Dancer, Cunxin Li
Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
The Well and the Mine, Gin Phillips
Shiloh Autumn, Brodie & Brock Thoene
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
Candy Bombers, Andrei Cherry

George Washington’s Secret Six, Brian Kilmeade
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Fanny Flagg
The Rent Collector, Camron Wright
Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool
The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton
The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
No Name, Wilkie Collins
One Summer, America, 1927, Bill Bryson
Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline

Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan
Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier
The God Who Weeps, Terryl & Fiona Givens
Leave it to Psmith, P.G. Wodehouse
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Some Kind of Different As Me, Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Half-Broke Horses, Jeannette Walls

Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare
I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron
The Nazi Officer’s Wife, Edith Beers & Susan Dworkin
River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, Candice Millard
Friendly Persuasion, Jessamyn West
The Residence, Kate Anderson Brower
Quiet, Susan Cain
Wednesday Wars, Gary D. Schmidt
Deadwake, Eric Larsen
The Lake House, Kate Morton

Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, Alan Bradley
The Hired Girl, Laura Amy Schlitz
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate
Peace for a Palestinian, Sahar Qumsiyeh
Ordinary Grace, William Kent Krueger
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in Korea, Barbara Demick
Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Mark Sullivan
Shoe Dog, Phil Knight

Rocket Men, Robert Kurson
Rora, James Byron Huggins
The Storytellers’ Secret, Sejal Badani
A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline
Gilead, Marilynn Roginson
We Were the Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter
Immortal Irishman, Timothy Egans
My Dear Hamilton, Stephanie Dray
Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

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Sundance Book Club Retreat 2019

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These are some of my dearest friends.  We’ve been in a book club together since 1987, the year I returned from living in Nigeria.  Every year at the end of summer we have a very fun book club retreat at our Sundance cabin.

Missing here:  Nicki Nebekker, Jan Kocherhans and Kitty Bittner

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We have a lot of fun at the cabin, mostly visiting.  We bring all sorts of projects to work on, including humanitarian projects and quilts.  We play lots of games and we watch good movies.  Of course food is always a highlight.  This is the ultimate mountain get-away and slumber party!

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Roger Minert and German Immigrants in American Church Records

2019-7-27 Roger Minert Retirement Party (8)

We were one of the first teams to work on Germans Immigrants in American Church Records.

Roger Minert was my German research professor at BYU for many years.  Last night we went to his retirement party at the Rotary park near his home in Provo.  In 2004 I took my first class from him.  Because he changed my life, I’d like to tell the story of how that happened.

This week is the BYU Family History Conference.  People come from all over the country to attend this conference.  In the summer of 2004 one of John’s old girlfriends came to Provo from out-of-state.  I got a phone call from John in the late morning that went something like this, “Ann–can you come to campus right now?  Cynthia is here in my office and I’d like to take her to lunch.”  Dang, I thought.  I have to look presentable and be on campus in 20 minutes!  I probably put on some mascara and lipstick and changed into something nicer and drove over to campus, feeling a bit put out that this old girlfriend had intruded in my busy day.

We met and went to lunch.  She had a quick break between sessions and was eager to get back to the conference.  Trying to be polite, I asked her what her favorite class in the conference had been so far.  I’ll never forget what she said.  She started to describe the last lecture she had attended before visiting John at his office.  She told me about the German researcher named Roger Minert who had just opened her world to German research.  Her face was animated.  She looked at me and said, “I can’t believe you live Right Here and could just take a class from him!  You are so lucky!”  I wrote his name on my napkin.

In that moment something in my world shifted.  As I think back on it now, I can make sense of what happened, although I didn’t fully understand what Compelled me that day in such a strong and urgent way.   I believe generations of my ancestors on the other side of the veil were there pushing me forward down a new path.

As soon as Cynthia walked away, back to the conference, I found Linda, John’s secretary and asked her, “What do I have to do to sign up for a class at BYU?”  I knew spouses of faculty had privileges, but I’d never taken advantage of them.   In the next hour she helped me with phone calls and registering for a class that would begin in a few weeks.  It was a German Paleography class taught by Roger Minert.

On 31 August 2004 I recorded this in my journal:  Class is from 9:30 to 10:45. There are 9 of us in the class. Roger Minert is the teacher. I liked him right away and felt that I was being in the right place at the right time. I am learning to know that feeling well. I seem to be led to people I need to learn from and I can tell already that he is one of them.

This was our text book:

:2019-7-28 German Handwriting (1)

Here is a look at the German Schrift handwriting styles we learned to read and write:2019-7-28 German Handwriting (3)2019-7-28-German-Handwriting-4.jpg2019-7-28-German-Handwriting-5.jpg2019-7-28-German-Handwriting-6.jpg2019-7-28 German Handwriting (7)

2019-7-28 German Handwriting (8)

As we learned to read this handwriting, we were given an exciting assignment for the semester.  We were each to spend 40 hours extracting names out of German church records in Wisconsin.  These American church records are often one of the only places where German hometowns are mentioned.  Once a family can identify the hometown, they can cross the ocean to the excellent church records kept in Germany.  This is the most critical piece of information for a German researcher.  With the name of a hometown, you are basically home free!

The records we extracted that semester turned into these volumes!

2019-7-27-Roger-Minert-Retirement-Party-17.jpgOur names are on the cover as compilers:2019-7-27 Roger Minert Retirement Party (18.5)

In the years since 2004, when I first began working with Roger, all of these volumes have been published, 28 so far.  We are working parish by parish and state by state.  Many states have multiple volumes.  John and I have happily supported this project and continue to do so.  Dozens of BYU students have been involved and employed over the years.  Thousands and thousands home names are connected to ancestral hometowns here.  These books are available in libraries and Family History Centers across the nation.  (They are also in our basement!)

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Here are a few photos from Roger’s retirement party last night:2019-7-27 Roger Minert Retirement Party (6)2019-7-27 Roger Minert Retirement Party (2)It was wonderful to see old classmates again!2019-7-27 Roger Minert Retirement Party (7)2019-7-27 Roger Minert Retirement Party (1)

Here are some of the volumes published so far:2019-7-27-Roger-Minert-Retirement-Party-18.jpgAnd here’s what the extracted records look like:2019-7-27-Roger-Minert-Retirement-Party-20.jpg2019-7-27-Roger-Minert-Retirement-Party-17-2167245420-1564418113933.jpg

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Here’s a letter I found in my files, sent to BYU President Samuelson the following semester:

5 January 2005

Dear President Samuelson,

I saw you zipping across campus Tuesday morning as I was on my way to class and I wanted to flag you down and say Hi, but I was too far away, and you were too fast on that little cart.
Then today I received the birthday card you sent and I wanted to thank you for the kind thoughts. I’m sure you get a lot of mail from students, so I hesitate to take your valuable time, but I just wanted to tell you of the wonderful experience I have had.
When I graduated 20 years ago, I had a feeling that someday I’d be back. But then my life went other directions, and once John and I finally met, family life took over and I was content. That changed last August when I was visiting with some friends who were in town attending the BYU Family History Conference. When I asked them which classes had been the most valuable, they immediately told me of a German teacher who alone made the whole trip worthwhile. Their comment was, “I can’t believe you live right here and could just take classes from him.” That’s all it took. I went right to John’s office and found Dr. Roger Minert and enrolled in one of his classes.
The class I took was a German Research class (Hist. 422) where we learned to decipher and read old German and Latin documents. It was hard, but I loved every minute of it. I now have skills that will be invaluable to me in my own family history work.
I want to tell you a bit about Roger Minert. I think he’s pretty new here at BYU. I don’t know how he came to be here, but what a blessing it is to have such an outstanding professor here on campus. I’ve known a lot of professors here, but I have known few who have the vision he has for the work that can be accomplished in his field. He is a man driven to teach and share skills that will prepare us to really make a difference in the world with the things that really matter. As I sat in his classes, I felt the Spirit very strongly that that was exactly where I needed to be, learning from exactly the right person.
Bro. Minert is humble and Good, and is quietly making a very big difference in the world of German Family History Research. It almost scares me to think that I could have missed learning of his classes. I hope you have a chance to meet him if you haven’t yet and hear about some of the many projects he has involved his students in. As part of our 422 class last semester, the students in my class extracted thousands of names from documents that few people are able to read. These records will be published and made available to people desperate to read them or understand them. It was a wonderful experience, and John and I will do all we can to help support his work.
Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let you know I’m a happy student having a great BYU experience. I’m taking two more classes from Bro. Minert this semester, and I’m really looking forward to learning the things he’ll be teaching us.
Thanks again for the birthday greetings and for all you and Sharon do to make us so happy to be involved with the University.


Ann Lewis

Roger Minert has been one of my dearest mentors and friends for almost 20 years now.  Because of what I learned from him, 20,000 of my own German ancestors and family members have been found and are in my data base.  I also became a full-time student again at BYU, taking more than 80 classes in the next 10 years.

John and I have traveled with Roger and his wife, Jeanne to my ancestral hometown, and through German and Poland together.  We’ve had some wonderful life-changing experiences.  What a gift it has been to have this world of German research opened to my mind and heart!  “Indeed, ” as Roger would say, it’s been a life-changer!

2019-4-12 Roger Minert Last Lecture (8)

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An Elias Bushman Family Reunion in Lehi

2019-7-27 Bushman Reunion

2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (31)On Saturday 27 July I celebrated Jacob Bushman’s birthday (my 2nd Great-grandpa) by attending a family reunion of his brother Elias’s descendants in Lehi, Utah.  I was thrilled to learn about this gathering and happy to go meet some of my Bushman relations.

We had a great day.  Mark Bushman, grandson of Elias and Margaret Bushman, organized this event with help from his family.  He and his brother, Don are the oldest surviving descendants of Elias Bushman.2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (5)We had a fun Bushman Bingo game to get acquainted as family members arrived.  Everyone who had a Bingo stood to introduce themselves and share a family memory.

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By lunchtime, the cultural hall was full of family!  Mark’s sons Jon and Ron prepared a dutch oven Feast!  It was incredibly delicious! 2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (13)2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (14)2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (15)2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (16)

After lunch we had a wonderful program with different presenters sharing family memories and information about our ancestors.2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (23)

We all came away feeling full of family love! It was a wonderful event which gave us a chance to renew friendships and meet new family members. Thanks to Mark and Marilyn and their family for bringing us all together.2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (35)

After the reunion, Rich Kirkham, Becky Shields and I went to the Lehi Cemetery to visit our Bushman family there.

Here are the graves of Martin and Elizabeth Bushman, our 3rd Great-grandparents.2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (90)2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (92)

We also visited the graves of the Elisha Hildebrand Davis family.   Elisha was the missionary who taught the Bushman family in Lancaster, PA.2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (82)

Elisha’s wife Mary Ann Mitchell Davis was Elizabeth Degen Bushman’s dearest friend.  She’s the one who interpreted the prayer Elizabeth offered in tongues on her deathbed.2019-7-27 Elias Bushman Reunion, Lehi (83)Any day with family is a pretty perfect day!  This one was exceptional!  Thanks to all who brought us together to remember our pioneer heritage.

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Pioneer Day Talk–Sacrifice and Service

Here is a talk I gave in our Orem Stonewood 4th Ward on Pioneer Day, 24 July 2011
Ann Lewis

Pioneer 7 Elspeth C. Young

Pioneer Day–Sacrifice and Service

I was born and raised on a farm in a small town in central California. My family converted to the Church when I was a young girl. My mother died 12 years ago here in this ward. It wasn’t until after her death, when I was back at BYU studying Family History that I was given assignments to uncover the lives of my family members. She was not an active Mormon when my father met her, so she joined his Mennonite Church when they married. For the first time, a few years ago, I discovered I have Pioneer blood flowing through me. In fact, all 8 of my mother’s great grandparents joined the Church and came to Zion. As I began to discover these family members, a whole new world was opened to me.

All week, I’ve been gathering fascinating tidbits from the stories of my ancestors to share with you today, and as the pages of stories multiplied, I realized that there was no place to draw the line–every life I’ve researched has been filled with sacrifice and service and has been particularly interesting and instructive to me. I finally put my stories aside and I have decided to tell you about the process that led me to gather those ancestral stories, in the hopes that you might find the same joy I have found in that journey.

I think many of you are aware that my life is surrounded by my Dead People. I live for them because they lived for me. As I began this quest, one night a few years ago, after I had gone to bed, I had a strong prompting to get out of bed, take my scriptures to the bathroom where I wouldn’t disturb John, and open them to D&C 128. I sat on the edge of the cold tub and began to read.  I was curious about what Heavenly Father wanted me to discover there. As I read through the section, the burning began with these familiar words:

In vs. 17 Malachi is quoted, saying:
17 . . . I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

I have long loved this doctrine–that of the Turning.  My heart has been turned many times to my ancestors, and to those who will come after me.

I was not prepared for the commentary Joseph Smith adds in vs. 18 (even though I had once carefully underlined it).  What jumped off the page and burned into my heart was the part in bold below:

18 I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. . . .

That was the lesson I needed to learn that night.  It became clear to me that I cannot be made perfect without knowing my Dead People. (They don’t really like being called that, but that’s what my kids call them.)  These verses explain that it’s not just those who have died without the gospel, (meaning they need ordinances) it’s equally as important for those who have died in the gospel also (meaning those who’s temple work is complete). I’ve wondered long and hard about why this would be. Isn’t the whole purpose of redeeming the dead to provide ordinances? Apparently not. I set out on a quest to discover why.

To learn to understand this amazing doctrine, I began to gather the stories of the lives of my People who died in the gospel. I spent hours and hours in the library at BYU, in Special Collections, studying old digitized newspapers and obituaries, reading local histories and personal histories in the collections in Salt Lake and other libraries, I went to towns where my family members lived, I wandered through cemeteries and museums, I found compiled histories, records and photographs, and I have been on the phone with 100s of newly-found family members. It has changed my life. I am beginning to understand how their lives have the power to save mine and the lives of my children.

Something magical happens when a name has a story added to it. A name becomes a person. That person becomes a friend. We discover things we have in common, or not. We learn how they served and sacrificed. We learn how they did hard things. We have the advantage of seeing their lives from a perspective even they did not have–we can see beginnings to endings and learn how choices determined consequences and outcomes. We can see, from our perspective, how they worked out their salvation.

As we become acquainted with our kindred dead, we find our hearts turn towards them, as Malachi prophesied. I’ve been suffering this month with a lung infection like pneumonia. My mother suffered terribly from asthma. Her grandmother, Grace Honor Bushman Lundquist died at age 38 of respiratory problems like pneumonia, leaving 8 young children. Her mother, Charlotte Turley Bushman (my 2nd Great-grandma) died of pneumonia. Has my heart been turned towards theirs? Yes. Do I understand their suffering a bit more this month? Yes. Do they know who I am? I suspect they are each aware of the many hours I’ve spent researching their lives. Is it odd to think that they are near me in my infirmities? No. I suspect they know me much better than I know them.

Joseph Fielding Smith, as quoted in Life Everlasting, pp. 83-84:
I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. We begin to realize more and more fully, as we become acquainted with the principles of the Gospel, as they have been revealed anew in this dispensation, that we are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors, to our friends and associates and co-laborers who have preceded us into the spirit world . . .
. . . And therefore, I claim that we live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; they can comprehend better than ever before, the weakness that are liable to mislead us into dark and forbidden paths. They see the temptations and the evils that beset us in life and the proneness of mortal beings to yield to temptation and to wrong doing; hence their solicitude for us and their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.

In other words, their hearts are turned toward ours.
So now, they, from their perspective, can see how we are working out our salvation. I like knowing that they are aware of me and my family. I like feeling surrounded.

In 1910, Joseph F. Smith, Hyrum’s son, addressed the need we each have to become involved in the lives of our kindred dead. He said:

“The temple in Salt Lake City has for many months been so crowded with anxious, earnest workers, that it has been necessary many times to turn large numbers away because there was not sufficient room. This is a good sign, showing the willingness and activity of the Saints. But this condition does not relieve the inactive, dilatory members [those who dilly dally, are slow to act], who are doing nothing for their dead. These persons cannot expect to receive credit for what others may be doing, the responsibility rests with equal force on all according to our individual ability and opportunities. It matters not what else we have been called to do, or what position we may occupy, or how faithfully in other ways we have labored in the Church, none are exempt from this great obligation. It is required of the apostle as well as the humblest elder.
“Place or distinction, or long service in the cause of Zion in the mission field, the stakes of Zion, or where or how else it may have been, will not entitle one to disregard the salvation of one’s dead.

He continues, “Some may feel that if they pay their tithing, attend their regular meetings and other duties, give of their substance to the poor, perchance spend one, two or more years preaching in the world, that they are absolved from further duty. But the greatest and grandest duty of all is to labor for the dead. We may and should do all these other things, for which reward will be given, but if we neglect the weightier privilege and commandment, notwithstanding all other good works, we shall find ourselves under severe condemnation. And why such condemnation? Because [here he quotes Joseph Smith] “the greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us, is to seek after our dead.” Because we cannot be saved without them, “It is necessary that those who have gone before and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us, and thus hath God made it obligatory to man,”
(Salvation Universal. by Joseph F. Smith, Jr., Assistant Church Historian., Improvement Era, 1910, Vol. Xiii. February, 1910. No 4.)

Interestingly, Joseph does not differentiate between the dead needing ordinances, or  the dead who died in the gospel.

There is one more thing that has been made very clear to me as I have taken this journey with my ancestors. I cannot expect to find fabulous journals or histories or records of my People, if I am not sacrificing a bit of time here and now to leave the kinds of records I wish they had left for me to find.

It has been said, “No life is ever truly lost, but we are the poorer who have no record of it.”

100 or 200 years from now, when I am in another place, my children’s children will wonder about an old grandma named Ann who lived in the days before Christ came again, before Satan was bound. They will wonder what it was like to live in a world with opposition and sickness and natural disasters. They will wonder how I felt in 2011 about earthquakes and giant Tsunamis and floods that destroyed crops. They will probably find it curious to read first hand accounts of moral dilemmas in my world. It will interest them how I prayed that my children would be protected from evil influences. They will wonder how I knew that Jesus was the Christ without having seen him. I want my descendants to know those things. I want them to know without question that my life was centered in Jesus Christ, that any service or sacrifice I made was because I loved Him.

In that day, when they read these things in my journals, I can imagine that I will be watching them, perhaps arm-in-arm with one of my great great great grandmothers from Switzerland named Elizabeth Degen Bushman, who was one of my first life-changing discoveries. [I’d like to say that our daughter, Claire Elizabeth, was named after her, but unfortunately, I didn’t even know she existed when Claire was born.] Elizabeth and her family were taught the gospel by Mormon Missionaries in Lancaster County in the spring of 1840. They joined with the Saints in Nauvoo, and were driven from their home in the cold and tragic winter of 1846 with six sick children in one wagon. Two of her little girls died and were buried in shallow graves along the roadside, unprotected from the wolves who came as soon as they moved on. Her son Jacob, who became my great great grandpa later wrote, “we done the best we could” as he describes burying his little sisters and nearly freezing to death on that grueling exodus trip.


In her later life Elizabeth Degen Bushman became the good Samaritan of every village they lived in. She was an exceptionally gifted nurse and was renowned as the loving, successful midwife of the town of Lehi. Because of her reputation and kindness, it was said she served as midwife at the birth of almost every baby born in Lehi during her life there. Nearly every family in Lehi had an Elizabeth named in memory of her.

Elizabeth had the gift of tongues. Her dear friend, Mary Ann Davis had the gift to interpret. In 1878, on her death bed, Elizabeth offered a prayer in tongues that ended with these words to her family and to me:

“Oh my children and friends, be true to God and His work and He will take you through the gates of death and there will be a light in the valley for you. . . . Be faithful to the truth and all shall be well with you. We shall only be separated for a little season. God bless you all. Oh Lord, grant that my name may not pass into oblivion, but that it may be from generation to generation, because I have tried to keep Thy commandments. Amen.”

It is my prayer that I will be true to God and His work and that my name and the names of those I love (both living and Dead) will not pass into oblivion, but that our testimonies will live on from generation to generation because we have tried to keep the commandments, as Elizabeth and so many others before us did.

I know that my ancestors served and sacrificed things beyond my comprehension. I know now, the importance of finding their stories. I know that understanding their service and sacrifices will strengthen my testimony, perhaps even save me in times when I may falter on my own. I know that I want to be worthy to stand arm in arm with them and some day be in a position to look down on my posterity with love.

Posted in Ann Lewis, Family History, Thoughts and Insights | 4 Comments

First things First!


John told me this week that I have to finish unpacking from Yakima before I can start packing for Mali.

Posted in Ann Lewis, Mission | Leave a comment

Something Big is Coming! A Call to West Africa!

We are finally able to share some very exciting news!  We have received another mission call!  We will be serving in the Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan East Mission which includes our dear friends in Mali!  On October 14th we’ll report to the Provo MTC to begin our 2 years of adventure in West Africa!

2019-7-17 Mission Call Announced

This mission call has been in the works for a year now.  We returned from Yakima the first of July 2018.   Within a week or two conversations about Mali began.  We had a call from the Area Presidency in West Africa asking if we really would be willing to go again and we said YES!

When Elder Nash asked how soon we could be ready to go, we told him we’d love to be here for our first missionary reunion the first week in October (conference weekend) and welcome our 2nd grandchild (also expected that week), but we’d be available after that, mid-October.  He was thrilled with that news and told us he’d start the ball rolling.

Thing started happening after that.   We corresponded with the Area Presidency and made appointments for our medical exams.  We also learned of a container departing for Mali in August that had room in it for us to send a few things.  We had 3 days to collect and gather anything we wanted to include that would be helpful when we arrived in Mali.

We bought beds, Costco tables and some chairs.  We found a used sofa on and picked it up.  I packed bedding and linens and everything I could find that would make it easy to set up an apartment in Mali when we got there.  I also packed much of our food storage–cases of canned meat and cases of freeze-dried food.  John asked me to pack a box filled with 4 large Costco containers of peanut M&Ms for him!  I included a box of books and a lot of church materials, including things like a printer and a case of paper.  We packed emergency supplies, medical supplies, kitchen supplies, and toiletries.  It was a great blessing to have this chance to send things over.

We were asked not to talk openly about this missionary opportunity, except to our children, until things were finalized.  I did tell one dear friend, Mary Ellen, my companion in Nigeria many years ago.  Here is a note I sent to her 20 Aug 2018:

Well, my dear friend, it’s been a crazy week. The doctors are packing a container for the November expedition. Last week (because of a grant/donation) they were able to get a 40’ container instead of a 20’ one. That means there is a lot of room available for us to send some things over now. I’ve been thinking about you every hour of the day these last 3-4 days as we’ve scrambled to take advantage of the free shipping. Oh my, what memories!! I’ve packed about 15-20 boxes for Mali. Just like when we packed for Nigeria. Every inch of every box is filled with treasures I know we’ll be grateful for when we get there, if everything happens so we can go. We’re waiting now for the Area Presidency to contact the Missionary Dept to request us, then they’ll screen us (health). They say only 6% of those wanting to serve in Africa are cleared. I’m hoping John’s sensitive skin won’t be a problem. Hats and sunscreen keep him safe.

We’ve bought 2 twin beds and bedding. Tonight we went to get a $75 sofa someone was selling. We’ve got some Costco lightweight tables and some folding chairs. I’ve packed old dishes from the kids’ BYU apartments. Remember our Deseret Industry runs and the trips to the Army-Navy stores? I’ve got lots of dehydrated and freeze dried foods (the food is the hardest part). We’ve got some cases of canned meat from the cannery (food storage). I’ve thinned out our kitchen stuff and utensils and spices and a bit of this and a bit of that, knowing that we’ll be SO GRATEFUL for anything safe to eat when we get there.
We’ve even packed 3 boxes of books to read! I think we’ll have time in the evenings to READ! I’m guessing we’ll be home by dark most nights. We’ll have time to read and study and relax a bit, like Sr Missionaries!

They’re calling us as Welfare Missionaries because there’s not gov’t approval for proselyting ones yet. That means we’ll be trained to do humanitarian work in SLC for a week before we go. I think we’ll have some LDS Charities funds to allocate—well drilling, school supplies, health initiatives, etc. We’ll also continue to work with the Ouelessebougou Alliance and their projects. And there is a Days for Girls sewing center in Ouelessebougou now, so I can continue to help there. It’s PERFECT.

Everything is lining up for this to happen. We told our kids Sunday. They’re good with it all. No one else knows yet.   I’m so excited I can’t sleep at night. It’s going to be so wonderful and hard and good. It will be kind of nice to be in a place where no one knows us and we have some peace and quiet with our friends there. Life here gets crazy. It will be sad to miss lots of missionary coming and goings and weddings and all of that, but we’ll stay in touch online. We’ll have a reunion before we go and Adam’s wife, Heidi is having a baby in early October. After that we told them we’re available. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about you, as I’ve packed these boxes. It’s really taken me back. Such happy good memories. You are so dear to me. You changed my life in all the right ways and I will always be eternally grateful for the chance to learn with you and from you in Africa.

I’ll keep you posted. I love you, to Africa and back.

By mid-August, we filled out a Request Form For Senior Missionaries for the Missionary Department which we sent to the Area Presidency in Ghana for them to submit to their contact in the Missionary Department in Salt Lake requesting us.

On Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 3:11 AM Dale Robert Chamberlain wrote:

Brother and Sister Lewis,

I wanted to give you a brief update on Africa West Area Presidency Plans to senior missionaries to serve in Mali.

The Church is not yet registered with the Government of Mali. As a result there is an additional round of necessary review among the brethren in Salt Lake City. We have been asked to provide some additional information for their review. Things are moving. There is a meeting to discuss with Elder Soares today.

We have made application for registration in Mali and are hopeful that we will receive that prior to senior couples entering the country. If registration is not obtained our current plan (subject to approval from the Office of General Counsel) is to send the senior missionaries on personal visas and switch those out in-country when registration is approved.

The Area Presidency filled out the Request form which you partially completed, to the Missionary Department.

Please introduce yourselves and make an email contact with our Area doctor sister Elizabeth Blackwell. She may be asking you some health related questions. Sister Blackwell is copied on this communication.

Please contact your bishop and have him open the missionary portal for you. Please review and begin filling out the medical information. My understanding is that you have already scheduled physical examinations (possibly also dental) on September 17. Please forward the information in the missionary forms to sister Blackwell together with anything else she requests.

Do not have an interview with a stake president or submit any applications at this time. We want to get a medical clearance prior to any formal submissions.

Advise if you have any questions.

Elder Chamberlain

The ball was rolling, and we were so excited.

We had a humanitarian trip to Mali planned for November with the eye doctor group.  We had our shots and applied for our visa for that, not knowing if we might go over and stay.

Journal entry 23 August 2018:

At 11:15 John and I had a scheduled phone call from Elder Nash, the West Africa Area President. It was wonderful to talk with him. He wanted to get to know us and started by asking each of us to introduce ourselves to him. I went first and told him briefly my history and what my Africa connections are. He was impressed and kind. Then John did the same. He was warm and kind sometimes emotional as he thanked us for being willing to go. Last night we sent our medical history to the West Africa nurse, which I’ll include here when John forwards a copy to me. This morning she replied that we are cleared to go!! Elder Nash seemed so grateful that we’d even consider going again so soon after coming home.

Then he told us the update on their end. Mali had elections a week or two ago and the gov’t has been slow to get back to work. The Church has applied for approval for missionaries to come to Mali. Elder Nash met with the religious director man last time he was there and was assured they want us to come, but nothing has been done, approved or signed yet. So we are waiting on that, as per the request of Elder Soares of the Twelve. Elder Nash spoke with him about us/missionaries going into Mali yesterday and Elder Soares asked him to wait until we have gov’t sanction. SO, Elder Nash said it may take days, weeks or months. We told him we’d be ready to go as soon as that happens. He told us to go on with our lives until we get word, and not to have the Bishop open the mission portal for us yet. That is a little bit disappointing, but it’s important that we go in with full sanction. More time with our kids will be good and happy for us.

Thing went quiet after that, as we waited for the government people in Mali to recognize the Church there.  Our good member leaders in Mali were working on the papers for the Malian government.  In the meantime, we prepared for our humanitarian trip in November, getting our shots and visas.

October 3rd our granddaughter, Josie Lewis was born in Kansas City, Missouri.2018-10-3 JOSIE is BORN (4)

October 5th we had a fantastic missionary reunion.2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (79.5)

We traveled to Mali November 9 to 24 with our Ouelessebougou Alliance friends.  We distributed 100s of Days for Girls kits and did work in the villages.  The eye doctor team joined us the 2nd week.  It was a fantastic trip.  We took a few more things over to leave in Mali, praying we would be allowed to return soon.2018-11-12 Mali AL (10).JPG

We attended church in the wonderful Bamako Branch one week and with the Group at the chicken farm the 2nd week.

2018-11-11 Mali AL (21)

The Bamako Branch 11 November 2018

2018-11-18 Mali (57).JPG

On our last day in Mali, we had a few hours before going to the airport.  We prayed for guidance as we went to look for a place to rent in Bamako.  We looked at and walked through several homes and apartments.  The last one we found was perfect!  We felt guided to it.  It was a new apartment complex, just being completed.  There were 2 apartments still available.  One was on the top floor.  It called to us.  We felt impressed this would be our home someday.  When the landlord returned from the mosque, we made arrangements to rent it.  We left Mali excited to return some day. 

We returned home to our family and a cold snowy Utah decorated for Christmas.   Throughout the holiday season we were told not much would happen on either side of the ocean, so we waited patiently for news, enjoying time with the family.2018-12-24 CMS Lewis Family (12)

After we returned from Yakima, John returned to work at BYU.  The longer he stayed, the more entrenched he became in helping prepare for a huge China trip this spring.  The university was sending about 200 performers and advisers to China to celebrate our 40 year anniversary of BYU’s first performing group in China.  It was a huge and spectacular event, and they needed John to travel with them to help from May 18 until June 4.

At the end of January, we learned why things were taking so long.  The Area Presidency hired a new legal team to help move the paperwork through the government leaders in Mali.  We learned that the previous legal team was not inclined for Christian missionaries to be sent there, so they kept slowing the process.  The paper work was submitted Again.  Elder Nash, the Area President planned a trip to Bamako January 22-23.  He told us he was going to either thank the government leaders for signing the papers, or to see that they did!

January 18 we spoke with Elder Nash who told us he hoped everything would be finalized in the next 2-3 weeks.  He said he felt an urgency and wanted us there ASAP.  It’s been a year since the church was organized in Mali, and they need leadership help.  The church is growing faster there than in any area in West Africa.  He told us to begin filling out our mission papers, but not to hit the send button until he gave us the go ahead.  He was kind and told us we are an answer to their prayers–to have someone with such church administrative experience and love for Mali, just sitting here ready to go.  He said the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency had this on their prayer rolls. He said he was sure it would happen, hopefully soon.

Journal entry 21 January 2019:

Tonight we are praying for the gov’t leaders in Mali. Elder Nash arrived there today.

Tuesday 22 January 2019:

Dear Brother and Sister Lewis:

I am currently in Mali and write to let you know that January 22, 2019 is a historic and miraculous day: the Church is officially recognized in Mali! We are excited and grateful. We will communicate with you later this week or early next week as we get things moving.

May the Lord bless you and yours.



Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Church Obtains Official Recognition in Mali [Unofficial Announcement]
Church Obtains Official Government Recognition in Mali, a Nation in West Africa of 18.4 Million People that is 95% Muslim, 2% Christian
Local members in the West African nation of Mali report that the Church obtained official recognition from the Malian government today. The announcement was made to local members by President Nash of the Africa West Area. The Church has been in the process of obtaining official registration with the government for several months. The first official branch, the Bamako Branch, was organized in mid-2017. One member group also operates in Mali on the outskirts of Bamako in the village of Frako. Additionally, prospects appear favorable for the establishment of a second member group in another village nearby Frako in the immediate future. In November 2018, there were approximately 50 who attended meetings in Frako and 30 who attended meetings in the Bamako Branch. Mali is assigned to the Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan Mission. The Church reported 42 members in Mali as of April 2018. At least an additional 20 converts were baptized before the end of the year, suggesting that church membership may be as high as 60-70 as of year-end 2018. With today’s announcement, prospects appear favorable for the assignment of full-time missionaries within the near future. Full-time missionaries have previously taught investigators over the Internet from Cote d’Ivoire.

So, after that miraculous news, we waited.  The decision was made for John to go ahead and travel with to China with BYU while the details for Mali were worked out.  Our conversations with Elder Nash continued as we discussed lots of different options.  On April 9th we met with him in Salt Lake City while he was here for General Conference.  We talked about different options for our service and plans for the work in Mali.  Throughout April our phone conversations continued and we tried our best to be patient as we waited!  Our security there seems to be one of the biggest issues.

In May Elder Nash asked us to have our papers read to submit.  We visited with our Bishop and Stake President.  Our papers were completed.  We waited.  On May 14th we were told to proceed and our papers were submitted.  We hoped the call would arrive in the next 2-3 weeks!  We were so excited!

We waited.  And we waited.  And we waited.

This week (9 weeks later) on 16 July, we received interesting notifications in our phones and by email.  We waited all day to open that little blue link that would take us to our missionary assignment.  We wanted our kids to be here with us when we opened it.

2019-7-16 Mission Call Opening (1)

2019-7-16 Mission Call Opening (13)

At about 6:00 p.m. we gathered to open the letter.  John let me read it out loud to the kids.2019-7-16 Mission Call Opening (3)Our hearts pounded as we read these words:2019-7-16 Mission Call Opening (14)This is exactly what we hoped for (nothing is ever for sure until the call comes)!  The Abidjan Ivory Coast Mission includes Mali.  We are so very excited!!  Finally we can share our news and tell our friends what’s been happening this last year.  It’s been hard to keep quiet as this plan has unfolded.  We have 3 more months to wait, then we begin our next Grand Adventure!

We are a Happy family!!2019-7-16 Mission Call Opening (9)

Sister Ann Lewis
24 W 500 S
Orem, UT 84058

Dear Sister Lewis:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan East Mission. Your primary assignment is to labor as a member and leader support missionary. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 23 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Monday, October 14, 2019. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.

You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized.

The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you and pray that the Lord will help you become an effective missionary.

You will be set apart as a missionary by your stake president.

Russell M Nelson

Posted in Ann Lewis, Lewis Family, Mission | 5 Comments

Beach Trip July 2019

2019-7-7 Newport Sunday (4)We love going to the beach as a family!  This year didn’t disappoint.  We drove away from here on Friday July 5th, with a stop over in Las Vegas to see the Donny and Marie Show that evening.  During the show we felt the 2nd big California earthquake shaking the concert hall.  Saturday we arrived in Newport and settled in.  Here are a few family photos we took after church on Sunday.  Aaron didn’t join us until Tuesday.  He was in London at Wimbledon.2019-7-7 Newport Sunday (13)2019-7-7 Newport Sunday (28)2019-7-7 Newport Sunday (31)2019-7-7 Newport Sunday (46)2019-7-7 Newport Sunday (59)2019-7-7 Newport Sunday (70) We spent a lot of time the rest of the week at the beach, with our boogie boards and beach reading.  Josie met sand for the first time and they became friends.2019-7-8 Newport (7)2019-7-11 Newport (45)2019-7-8 Newport (26)2019-7-8 Newport (29)There are only a few important things to accomplish at the beach.  The first of course is family time.  Right after that is food.  Early in the week we made a schedule of which places to eat which day.2019-7-7

Chronic Tacos are a favorite.2019-7-13 Newport (13)2019-7-9 Newport (9)2019-7-8 Newport (34)2019-7-8 Newport (39)2019-7-11 Newport (51)

The second important thing is reading.  We pack a library box every year so we have plenty of choices for our beach reading.2019-7-8-Newport-6.jpg2019-7-9 Newport (14)I got through 4 books this year:  Muddy, All the Light We Cannot See, We Were the Lucky Ones and Find the Good.  All great reads!2019-7-14 Newport (6)2019-7-9 Newport (15)2019-7-13 Newport (9)2019-7-12 Newport (13)

We love the family time–just being together.  The grandkids, are of course our greatest entertainment, and being with them trumps every other activity.2019-7-12 (1)2019-7-9 Newport (5)2019-7-10 Newport (10)2019-7-10 Newport (16)2019-7-11 Newport (6)2019-7-11 Newport (31)2019-7-12 Newport (11)2019-7-12 Newport (23)2019-7-12 Newport (27)2019-7-12 Newport (33)

Family Photo:2019-7-12 Newport (37)2019-7-10 Newport (13)Our week in Newport passed so quickly.  The following week after church we were back on the road again, heading home.  We’re grateful for time with our kids.  We love them so much.2019-7-14 Newport (3)

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A Child’s Pace

2019-6-11 (16)Everything around here has slowed down this month, to a child’s pace, and oh, what a gift that has been!  Clark and Josie have become the center of our lives for a few short weeks while Adam and Heidi are here as Adam prepares for his medical board exams.

Every day is a day of discovery and fun, and we move much slower, enjoying the world around us.  It’s a gift to see the world through the eyes of a child and feel and enjoy God’s beautiful creations–the softness of Lamb’s Ear leaf or the velvet touch of a fragrant rose petal.  We take walks and we we sit and rock on the garden swing, playing “I Spy With My Little Eye.”  All the world is a beautiful wonder! 

I taught Clark to smell the difference between rose petals and an onion stalk.  He was intrigued.  We touched and felt all sorts of flowers and wonders from the garden.

Josie is almost crawling.  I think she prefers quilts to grass!2019-6-10 (93)2019-6-10 (4)

Time with “Gampa” on the neighbor’s trampoline:2019-6-11 (11)

When John’s sister, Berta lived next door at the Farm House, she kept snails as pets.  She fed and watered dozens of them in her home.  Their friends and family have reproduced all over our property (much to our garden’s dismay) and we have been in a losing battle with them ever since.  Now that Berd’s gone, we try to dispose of the snails in kindly ways, but we always seem to have more than our share, and it’s probably thanks to Berta.

Clark has become a snail finder for us.  We try to relocate or send as many as we can to the green waste with our yard cuttings and clippings.  We have a hard time killing them,  knowing Berd is looking down on us from heaven.2019-6-11 (20)

Clark is quite intrigued by these slow-moving creatures who blow bubbles when they’re scared.2019-6-11-17.jpg

“Gampa” taught Clark to drink from the hose and how to water and work in the garden! 

2019-6-20 (6)2019-6-12 (5)2019-6-22 (2)2019-6-24 (5)Oh what a wonder!2019-6-16 (10)

A Popsicle on a perfect summer afternoon!2019-6-19 (5)

Raising the seat up for this big boy!2019-6-20 (3)

We all love popcorn!2019-6-21 (6)

We spent a whole day at Thanksgiving Point at the Dinosaur Museum, the Farm, the Butterfly Arboretum and the Museum of Natural Curiosity.  It was so so much fun exploring these incredible worlds.2019-6-25 (30)2019-6-25 (18)2019-6-25 (5)2019-6-25 (41)2019-6-25 (60)2019-6-25 (85)2019-6-25 (91)2019-6-25 (78)

We arrived home from our Washington Yakima Mission one year ago today.  Coming home to Family is the best thing Ever!  We’ve missed Claire and Graham who have spent the last 5 weeks vacationing in Cambodia and Thailand.  They’ll be home soon to join us for our traditional family vacation to the beach next week.  Aaron is in London for Wimbledon right now–it’s been on his bucket list to see Roger Federer play there before he retires.  This year he made it happen.  Family is the best.  I’m so grateful for our kids and these incredible grandkids who are helping me slow down the pace a bit and enjoy the wonderful creations around us.

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Posted in Ann Lewis, Lewis Family | 1 Comment

Camp Helaman, Manti National Forrest

2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (2)This afternoon John and I were invited to speak to a group of about 50 young men from Sanpete and Sevier Counties and from Richfield Utah.  They’ve been at what’s called a “Camp Helaman” high in the Manti National Forrest.

2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (18)These are bright and good young men, 16 to 18 years old.  They are preparing for some very important things in their lives, like school and missions.  It felt like we were at a Zone Conference with eager learners.

2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (14)2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (19)We were asked to spend an hour with them, discussing the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His incredible gifts to us.   John talked about the Resurrection and the gift of Eternal Life, which becomes very real when you lose a family member or loved one.  I spoke about the gift of Repentance or Redemption (my notes are below), and John concluded by talking about the Power we receive from Jesus Christ as we keep His commandments and live as He’s asked us to live.

There is such a sweet powerful spirit surrounding discussions like these.  Were were grateful for the invitation to travel south and up into this beautiful spot high in the mountains to be with these fine young men.2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (21)This camp is held in what used to be like a weather station–the Great Basin Research Station built in 1912-1916.  The historic site marker says it is acknowledged to be the birthplace of scientific range development, where research was conducted for 60 years which impacted the U. S. Government’s management of federally owned lands.  Rangers lived at this station until the 1970s.

In 1989 Snow College in Ephriam converted these buildings into educational facilities where camps and events are held.  What a beautiful historic spot!  This is the museum:2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (7)2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (6)2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (8)2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (9)2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (10)2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (5)2019-6-26 Ephriam Camp Helaman (12)

Thoughts on Repentance

On 11 January 2017, Elder Bednar posted on Facebook:
While the Lord desires that we strive consistently to become better, He also knows we will make mistakes. Thankfully, a loving Savior has provided a way for us to heal from spiritual wounds and illness by turning to and coming unto Him.
As we begin this new year, let us remember and focus our lives upon new beginnings, or as Elder Neal A. Maxwell described it, “turning away from evil and turning to God.” I can think of few gospel principles that are as positive and encouraging as repentance and the process of turning unto God. As we learn about and focus our faith in the Redeemer, then we naturally turn toward and come unto Him.
I testify of the reality and of the power of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice and of the blessings of hope and peace for our souls made available to us because of His great offering.

Elder Bednar’s post has caused me to reflect often on my orientation to repentance.
Our leaders often counsel us to repent Daily.
“Really??” I thought. Repent EVERY DAY??? Am I that sinful??

I was raised on a fruit farm in central CA. My Dad is a strict and stubborn German farmer. Growing up I never heard the words:
I’m sorry
I made a mistake
I was wrong

Repentance was for Sinners.
I believed that if I was obedient I would never have to repent.
Repentance was a sign of weakness.
I grew up avoiding repentance at all costs by trying really hard not to sin.

Once in a missionary Zone Conference, we talked about Repentance and Pres Lewis asked the missionaries to share synonyms for Repentance. Here are some they listed:
Turn around
Following Jesus Christ
A Purification Process
Change of Heart
An Action to show Faith
Stop Sinning
Don’t do things that Hurt or Harm
Continuing Course of Correction
Turning Your Will to God
Godly Sorrow
Choosing to Act
Keeping Commitments
Keeping Commandments
Relying on Jesus Christ
Movement Towards Good
“Come unto Me” = 1000+ times in the scriptures

In farm vocabulary, repentance is like
Discing under
Clearing a furrow
Culling the bad

These words have changed how I feel about Repentance.  They’ve helped me to see that repenting is a gift we are given that helps us to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

Every week we take the Sacrament to retain a remission of our sins and to always have His Spirit to be with us.  This is part of how we repent.  Repentance is also removing things that keep the Spirit from being with us.  What are those things for you??
THIS is repentance. It is not something to fear or avoid.
It is a gift to embrace.

Jesus Christ  invites all to Repent, and to come closer to God and to Him.   Repentance is simply to Change, or to become Better.  It is His gift to us!

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