September 22, 2019 - On a winter day in January 1842, Joseph Smith became reflective. He decided to list in the Book of the Law of the Lord the names of those “faithful few” followers who had stood by him since the beginnings of his ministry—“pure and holy friends, who are faithful, just, and true, and whose hearts fail not” (History of the Church, 5:107). Among these faithful few:
My aged and beloved brother, Joseph Knight, Sen., who was among the number of the first to administer to my necessities, while I was laboring in the commencement of the bringing forth of the work of the Lord. . . . For fifteen years he has been faithful and true, and even-handed and exemplary, and virtuous and kind, never deviating to the right hand or to the left. Behold he is a righteous man, may God Almighty lengthen out the old man’s days . . . and it shall be said of him, by the sons of Zion, while there is one of them remaining, that this was a faithful man in Israel; therefore his name shall never be forgotten.
Joseph Knight Sr never wavered and was faithful to the end.
We went to visit the Joseph Knight Sr home in Ninevah, NY (Formerly Colesville, NY). Top right, the original directors who spent hours and hours of time and their personal money to restore this historic home. This has all been privately done - it has not been done by the Church. Bottom right picture, Elder Whetstone, Elder St Julien, Sister St Julien, Sister Whetstone and Karen. The Whetstones are the site missionaries who previously served in Ogdensburg, up in the North County with us. The St Juliens took Whetstone's place in Ogdensburg. Sister Whetstone shared with us, if you raise your hand in the air, the very annoying gnats will swarm around your hand instead of your head. So, we all walked around with our hand in the air. Short history of the Colesville Branch. Living room of the Joseph Knight Sr home. notice the nanny bench on the right. The parent or nanny would sit on one side and lay their baby on the other - and the baby couldn't roll and fall off the bench. Dining room in the home. Notice the area notched out showing the wooden pegs that were used to join the beams together - no nails were used. Sister Whetstone shared a tender story about repairing this window. One of the volunteers removed the frame and window glass from the house and salvaged the original glass. The frame had to have some major work done to it. When they were ready to reinstall the window, it was warped and would not go back into the original hole in the wall. They laid it on the floor to get some tools to fix it. When they turned back around, the window was flat on the floor, the warp was gone. They lifted it up and it fit into the hole perfectly. They received some help from the other side to make sure they were able to get it right. Notice on the top shelf, there is a candle and candle holder. If you look closely, you can see a wooden peg that allows you to continually push the candle up by turning the wooden peg around the spiral candle holder. Another useful name for this type of candle & holder: Courting Candle. When a young man would come visiting, depending on much the young lady of the house liked her potential suitor, she could raise or lower the candle to control the time before it would burn down. I'm sure that there were some disagreements between fathers and daughters! This room was originally the master bedroom. But since the Colesville Branch met in the house when the weather was too cold to meet in the barn, it is surmised that they pushed the bed back and met in the large bedroom. The Whetstone's shared another sweet story about restoring this room. The beams in the ceiling are not original, but they think they might have been a part of the barn. When a volunteer was placing the beams into place, they were able to complete 4 of them the first day, leaving 8 more to be installed. They were able to finish the next 8 the following day, saying that the first day 2 people working together could barely lift the beams in place to be installed. The next day one of them was balancing the beams with one hand while they installed the beams and they were able to work twice as fast. Again, they felt that heavenly hands were helping to support the beams while they installed them. Josiah Stowell home. (There are two different spellings that have been found while researching the history of events in this area.) Joseph Smith originally came down to work for Josiah Stowell and this is how he first met Emma Hale who he later married. Emma's dad was strongly against the two of them marrying. Josiah convinced them that they were of age and should get married since they were so obviously in love. They were married nearby and honeymooned in this home. The fireplace mantel was saved from the preacher's home that married Joseph and Emma. Karen and I are trying to take the same pose that is represented in the bust behind my head. Josiah Stowell did not leave Colesville when the Saints went to Missouri. He had planned to go later, but eventually got sick and died and never made it to Nauvoo where the Saints were living at that time. So the directors decided to bring a replica of one of the Sunstones from the Nauvoo Temple to the Josiah Stowell home. Josiah never made it to Nauvoo, so they brought Nauvoo to him. The photo on the lower right is the Susquehanna River. The Joseph Knight Sr home property runs right down to the river The river is just down the street from the Josiah Stowell home. The Priesthood Restoration site is only 23 miles from here in Pennsylvania - not in our Mission boundaries, so we couldn't go. Branch service project: President Chapman and Chris working on the back half of Karen's roof. Chris, Dick & President Chapman doing the roof work while Michael and I handed things up. Sisters Penrod & Wiese with Karen at the Amish Farm Sisters Penrod, Wiese and Karen showing a better view of all the pumpkins at the Amish farm. Sister Spear showing off more produce available from the Amish Farm Close up of all the pumpkins and gourds available at the Amish Farm. Happy Birthday Sister Penrod. Quesadillas and loaded nachos for birthday lunch. And of course one of Karen's famous Birthday Signs.
Of course, we had to sing Happy Birthday to Sister Penrod (1 candle for each decade):
VIDEO We stopped at lunch at Arby's after District Council Meeting in Potsdam. Sister Penrod is being a little reluctant about ringing the bell at my direction. You are supposed to ring it if you like the service. Of course, I like to be noisy and be seen, so I was trying to get Sister Penrod in on the act - she did finally ring it, but it was pretty wimpy. (With that look, I thought she would give the bell a good ring!) Bible Study - Old Testament Prophets. We studied Enoch this week. Object lesson: The Sisters first put pepper in the water and it covered the whole surface. They then added dish soap and the pepper was separated to the sides. The water represents the world, the pepper represents evil. The dish soap represents faith. Out faith can separate the evil from us that is so prevalent in the world around us. We talked about how Enoch was but a lad and slow of speech when he was called. In responding to God, the test is not our capability but our availability. We read later in Enoch's story in Moses 7:13 - "And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him." What can the Lord do with you if you let him? Karen brought all of the checks she received in the mail today for her dialysis treatments and we helped her open all of the envelops. There were 104 checks - each one made out for almost $6,000. In case your math skills are a little rusty - that's about $600,000. And the checks were made out to her!!! After a little time spent dreaming about what if...Karen took the checks to the dialysis center and turned them over! No trips to the Bahamas this time! The Branch had a great Harvest Party last Saturday. We had chili, hot dogs and homemade French Fries AND a whole lot of other good stuff - like s'mores for dessert. Did I say French Fries???? We cooked them right at Whalen Park - hot and fresh and sooooooo good!!! Thank you President Chapman! The fries were the hit of the Party. Yum! Yum! Pictured: President Chapman, Cecil & Dick. We played Name that Tune with top hits from the 60’s and 70’s. When someone guessed the right tune, we kept playing the songs and everyone sang along. Everyone loved it. We had lots of nonmembers and several members from the Branch that we have been working with. The park was right by the river and it was a beautiful day - about 80 degrees. Good times. We played Name on the Back for an icebreaker game. We stuck a name on the back of each member of the branch. they couldn't see their own names and the had to question other members to try to work out who they were. In addition we picked related characters, so after you figured out who you where, you had to find the other half of your pair...like Batman and Robin as shown. Everette was Batman and Chris was Robin. I was Beast and then had to find Beauty after I figured it out. We had Tom & Jerry, Bert & Ernie, etc. 3 of our Young Women - Rebekah (Blue Jean Jacket), Brandi (Hollister shirt), Collin Kartchner (presenter) & Alexis (Ripped Jeans). Collin shared an important message with the Youth: Social media's negative effects on youth mental health and too much screen-time is the underlying link to the current epidemic rise in teen depression and anxiety, eating disorders, self-harming, suicide ideation and suicide itself. We must teach our kids that their worth does not come from likes, followers, or Snapchat streaks. As the world shouts constantly to them that "Your are NOT Enough!" we need to shout "You Are Perfect Just the Way You Are!" For my fisherman friends: The Costa FLW Series Bass Tournament was held in Massena on the St Lawrence River this last week. Wayne Vaughan of Chester, Virginia's three day total of 15 bass weighing 63 pounds, 5 ounces was enough to earn him the victory by a 1-pound 9 ounce margin. The win earned him $83,340, including a new Ranger Z518L boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard. Check out the parking lot - lots of competition.
Another busy week in Paradise: Branch Council, more Virtual BYU PathwayConnect Student Visits - we loved getting to know our new students, Week 1 BYU PathwayConnect Virtual Gathering - we had a great virtual gathering - it looks like we're going to end up with 21 total students - we have 5 students in the 18 to 30 age range and 16 students over 31. We have all 21 for our Academic Class and 16 of them for our Religion Class. The other 5 take an Institute Class elsewhere. Helped Cecil at his daughter Carrie's home. We also had Shake Night with about 15 people coming - 7 nonmembers. We introduced them to the game Four on a Couch and the Sisters gave a great lesson.