August 09, 2008

Day 13 East Coast- Johnson Farm & Amish

East Coast Trip: Day 13

Our last day! We are sad that our trip is over.

Today we went to the John Johnson Farm. The Johnsons were new converts, a successful family and very generous. Joseph & Emma lived here for about a year. And the Johnsons graciously hosted many, many guests throughout that year. It was a busy and full house. But a house filled with love and the Spirit freely dwelt in abundance.

In the upstairs office Joseph Smith received the marvelous vision of the 3 Degrees of Heavenly Glory (D&C 76). And now we were there ~ in that very room where such important, sacred and eternal doctrine was revealed. Where our Savior and Heavenly Father appeared again to the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon.

It was also from this home that the Prophet Joseph was drug from his bed by a mob in the cold winter night, beaten, tarred & feathered and left for dead. He miraculously crawled back home and the last several hours before the sun came up was spent painfully picking the tar and feathers from his flesh. The next morning was Sunday and Joseph insisted on preaching to the Saints who gathered for Sunday worship. And so with bits of tar still clinging to his skin, bruised & bloody, with scabs and sores he stood on the porch and gave a powerful sermon on forgiveness.

And because of that horrible fateful night the Smiths baby twin boy died. It was a tender moment at the Johnson Farm as we tried to imagine all the suffering and sacrifices Joseph & Emma endured. My heart got just a glimpse of the heartache they must have surely felt on occasion.

How thankful we are for the Prophet Joseph Smith ~ for his courage and undying loyalty to the Church and to his Savior. We was willing to endure whatever the Lord needed him to do. Surely it was the enabling power of the Savior that gave him the strength to fulfill his great mission. I love this powerful testimony from the Prophet:

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all which we give of him: That he lives!
"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father ~That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God

That afternoon we drove to Dutch country~ Amish country. We got some yummy old fashioned, homemade root beer, candy, jams and maple syrup. Then we ate a home cooked dinner at a little restaurant. It was fun. I think they are good people and we could probably learn a thing or two from them.

We had an incredible, wonderful and amazing trip! From D.C. to Philadelphia and all kinds of inspiring American History... to the lights and crowds and smells of New York... to the sweet & sacred church history sites in New York & Ohio. Our minds have been enlightened and our hearts have been touched. We have gained a greater appreciation for our country & founding fathers & early colonists and for their courage and loyalty. And for how wonderfully and miraculously the Lord was and is involved. And our testimonies of the gospel, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon have been strengthened. We have a deepened appreciation for the early saints of the church and for their faithfulness and devotion. We better understand how blessed we are ~ beneficiaries of all those great men and women who came before us. How thankful we are for them. How thankful we are for this country and this gospel. How thankful we are for a loving, very personal and involved Savior.

This trip will forever inspire our hearts and minds.

End of Day 13 ~ End of Trip!

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