Monday, December 24, 2012

Message from President Wilkey

From President Wilkey’s message to the missionaries December 24, 2012

My missionary journal December 25, 1970, Sydney, Nova Scotia:

“It snowed 18 inches today and our mission president grounded all our cars so we had to walk four hours just to get to the Greenfields for dinner plus all the other walking we had to do.  We were beat!  However, this was a special day.  I definitely felt the spirit.  Absolutely.  Here’s just one reason why: My companion received just one package from home.  I had about nine.  When he wasn’t looking last night before bed, I rewrapped about half of mine and wrote his name on them then put them under his place by our little Christmas tree.  I will NEVER forget the look on his face this morning when he saw them.  He looked at me, started crying like a baby and we just gave each other a big ‘ol “missionary” hug.  We felt so close to each other (well, of course we did....we were hugging.....duh!).  Seriously, the spirit of Christmas and giving and sacrifice was so strong.  The joy those presents were meant to give me was doubled by the joy I saw in my companion’s eyes.  This is the spirit of Christmas.  This is the spirit of Christ.  This is THE spirit!  This is JOY!!!  Oh how I love my Savior, because “...he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).”

There was nothing spectacular in my experience that Christmas night.  Or was there?  “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” said Alma to his son Helaman.  Indeed, the accumulation of the “ordinary” becomes  the “extra-ordinary.”
May we continually focus on small and simple acts, attitudes and aptitudes which help others come unto Christ. That is “our purpose.” That is why we are here doing what we are doing by sharing, serving, caring and carrying that precious message.  “How great the importance to make these things known … the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life...”  (2 Nephi 2:8).  As we “make these things known” in small and simple ways, the “extra-ordinary” will occur.  When we look back on our missions, we will be stunned by how powerful our small acts were.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
With love for you and for our Redeemer,
President Wilkey

Enjoy the extraordinary Bible videos on

The week before Christmas....

'Tis the day before Christmas but in the weeks before
Wreaths and candles have appeared in windows and on door
Ice sculptures have begun to decorate granite stone wall  
While flurries of snow have swirled on pines that grow so tall     
       But not to forget the mailbox with seasonal cheer                                              
  Which of course brings greetings from friends and family dear
Thoughts of gifts and giving are part of the season
But missionaries courageously and daily speak of the reason.
However this particular invitation in the church foyer
Reminded all who enter that the gift desired by the Savior
Is us--the box contains at the bottom a mirror--
President Wilkey encourages us to give a 'set apart' heart.       
Two missionaries, serving with heart, mind and will
Fashioned these monkey fist knots as gifts to fulfil
Their purpose and in their words slightly altered
 “This knot is used by sailors to get big lines to shore. 
They tie stringer lines with monkey fist knots secure
  Then throw the monkey fist to sailors on the land.
 This allows those men on the dock to pull on demand 
The big lines and bring the boats safely to harbor.
Like the monkey fist allows sailors to toss lines to shore,
The gospel of  the Savior, Jesus Christ allows us
To get our lives safely tied to the shores of eternal life.” 

 The week brought as visitors happily welcome:
Once elder, Connor Fairbanks and Tessa, his companion
The one he'll eternally cherish, even His best, his wife.
That's joy: knowing missionaries move on with life.
The moments of wonder were varied and many:
Interviews (President helped each solve his/her own concern)
Companion study with Sister Wilkey, a time to learn
More of the Holy Ghost and this gift, most precious.
And yes, there are moments to enjoy the delicious
Privilege of meetings with missionary and congregation
Who are unified in bringing peace to this nation.
And what to our wondering eyes did appear a book
(Here is the photo of the cover page to give a look)
That sure enough is 41 years old and now sold
As an antique and found by Schucks who delight
In directing the site where the wonder of seasonal light
Point to the Savior, the LIGHT, the Truth, the Way.

Notice the Fishers, the couple whose love grew exponentially
As they have served as missionaries at the Memorial
Sharing with others the life of Joseph Smith in a "tutorial"
Divinely directed to build faith in our Redeemer
To whom the prophet pointed to in his every endeavor.

Missionaries seek not only many opportunities of service
But also to share the gifts of the music of Christmas.
This violinist who is part of a family of musicians
Exemplifies her faith as she musically plays her devotions,
Filling this season with inspiring music, each hymn
Proclaiming the marvelous birth of the baby in  Bethlehem.

Monday, December 17, 2012

After all the testimonies that have been given...

In celebration of the Light of the World, even Jesus Christ, the Joseph Smith Memorial grounds and buildings are alight. We share some of the pictures of the lights as well as some historical pictures of 41 years ago when President Wilkey served there as a young missionary.  We offer our testimonies as well just as Joseph Smith himself offered continuously his testimony of the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ.
"As we approach the birth of the prophet Joseph Smith, I share one small experience of great worth to my soul, and hopefully, to you.

A light broke forth which continues to illuminate, instruct and inspire.

The day was December 23, 1971 a significant day in the history of the then Elder Wilkey.

The place, the birthplace of the prophet in Sharon, Vermont, would never again be just the "Visitor's Center," but hallowed ground, for me a spiritual birthplace.

Having concluded the day's visitor tours, my companion was securing building one and I was doing the same for building two. I entered the room with the actual hearthstone of the Smith home and read the informational sign, the words which I had committed to memory:

"Around this hearthstone ad its glowing fireplace two days before Christmas, 1805, the Smith family washed, dressed and cuddled the future organizer of God's kingdom restored."

Never had that passage entered my heart as it did that night. I felt a 'surge' within that surprised me considering that I repeated those words daily. Though it was mere seconds, it has remained a lifelong impression.

The urge to kneel and pray upon the hearthstone was overpowering. I knelt and in the silence of that starlit December night, offered the desires of my heart. I opened with thanks for the man, his mission, the miracle of the First Vision and light restored. Then I simply asked, “Was Joseph Smith the Prophet?" I opened my eyes, only to see the moonlit silhouette of the life sized statue of the prophet a few feet to my left. I experienced an absolute, warm sensation from head to toe with a radiant understanding that indeed, Joseph Smith was what he said he was that he saw what he said he saw, that he was God's instrument to restore the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ on earth. I felt awe, gratitude, excitement, joy and peace and wonder, all wrapped in one harmonious moment.

I testify that Joseph Smith is God’s chosen servant. Just as on that day, 41 years ago, I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration. I know that God knows that I know and I cannot deny it, nor would I dare to. Gratefully and humbly I bear testimony of this truth in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen"

"I have not had and did not have a singular moment of "knowing" that Joseph Smith is indeed the prophet of the restoration. I was certainly more like the Lamanites who were converted but knew it not (3 Nephi 9:20) Frankly, I knew so little of prophets or of scriptural history that the need of a prophet was not one of my "inspired questions." I was more fixed on the knowing the purpose of life and of knowing the reality of diety and specifically, Jesus Christ. As I discovered prayer and the certainty that we converse with a loving Heavenly Father, I began to accept and receive truths line upon line, commitment to commitment, one small change to another. Now, in retrospect, I say unequivocally, I know that Joseph Smith did see God the Father and Jesus Christ. I feel especially the power of his shared testimony of Jesus Christ: "And now, after the testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!"" Sister Wilkey

approaching the Joseph Smith Memorial
live nativity for two days and donkey and lamb who spend the month


A fancy name for the privilege to meet with sisters only to address the concerns unique to sister missionaries and to prepare for the expected sharply increased number of sisters in the mission (Our projected increase will be triple plus.)  Excuse the pun (okay, there's no excuse!) but sisters leave a different footprint on the mission.  In our meeting, we discussed together the gifts of the Spirit and the gifts unique to sisters. We addressed the ways we need to unify to fulfill our purpose.

The sisters presently serving:
back row, Sisters Robbins, Muir, Korman, Huefner, Stephenson, Detters and Wallentine.
middle row: Sisters Capito, Buxton, Capito and Jensen
front row: Sisters Merrell, Johnson, President Wilkey, Sisters Wilkey and Peterson

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Merry Heart Doth Good Like a Medicine - Proverbs 17

(Okay so Sister Wilkey is the writer).  President Wilkey has a cheerful heart.  He has never taken himself too seriously, even though he's really serious about following the Savior.  That's only one thing I love about him.  As you can see, the missionaries take time to "remember" the state of his head.

Sisters Johnson and Nelson foung the perfect comb for President.
 We have found that typos often make for great humor:

"I have defiantly felt like a new missionary in the past few weeks."
"I am so greatful to be a part of the salvation of even a few souls; it brings Elder Bald and myself so much joy."

There's nothing quite like the mixed up words from predictive texting:
When I was trying to write "Preach My Gospel,"  it came out "Preachy Fossil." (maybe a self description)
And the magic of children's laughter maketh like the best medicine!!  Jason and Erin Hatch and their three children, Ryan, Megan and Katelyn, loved playing in the fall leaves.

Someone called serving a mission, "Happy Exhaustion."  We concur.  Here is a journal entry from the Bangor Stake Conference. 
Nov. 3, 2012.
Both of us were really or are really fatigued. Long days of Zone meetings Wednesday through today, Saturday.
We forgot our outer lothes - yes, with only one set of clothes for five days--  so we also went to more stores than we would like--three--to find an extra shirt for Dave and a shirt and jacket for me.

We tried over and over to decide the composition of our talks 15-20 minutes for each of us--5:36 pm.   Meeting at 6 pm. Had an hour of quiet including dinner from Hannafords grocery store. Nothing. We opened our scriptures and Preach My Gospel.  Jotted down a couple of notes   No definitive thoughts.
Then as we stood to speak, ideas flooded our minds and hearts.  I was priveleged to "hear" from myself a lesson from the scriptures and from my Dad as a shepherd to teach us about following the Good Shepherd.  President asked a key question, "Are we prepared for the prepared?" referring to the expectation that we will received in the coming months an increased of 80 missionaries due to the surge resulting from the prophetic announcement in October General Conference.

Boston Mission President Kent Bowen. "The kingdom of God is often built at the edge of exhaustion. Why? Miracles come after all we can do."  That we know!

Gratitude for LIGHT!!

In our November zone meetings, we discussed the necessity for both physical and spiritual light. Here the winter nights start at 4:30 pm. It's often overcast. So we seek to increase light in our lives and in the lives of others. We have chosen in our gratitude many images of light we have enjoyed this fall
Sister Wilkey is in the Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio.
Notice not only the pottery crafted in Kirtland but
the lamps, one of which is pictured below on a lamp post.

Kirtland remains as a tribute to valiant Saints who themselves
bore testimony of the Light, even Jesus Christ himself:
  "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!"
Doctrine and Covenants 76:23

Do we cast long shadows?  Are we continually an example
of him whose name we bear on our name tags, even Jesus Christ?
On a preparation day walk at Massabesic Lake, we met and visited
with several people also enjoying the late October sunshine.

"Old tree, how many storms hast thou withstood and
I, frail creature, am dismayed by one." a favorite quote of President Wilkey

The Boston Temple

Lights commemorating the Light of the World at the Joseph Smith Memorial
welcome hundreds and hundreds of visitors. 

The Memorial -38 1/2 feet signifying the years of Joseph
Smith's life--points heavenward just as the Joseph, the Prophet pointed each of us

The lights of Christmas!!
The Mission Home glows with the warmth of Christmas.

"A friend loveth at all times." Proverbs 17:17

"A friend loveth at all times." What more can we say about the friendship of Sheralyn Dahle and Julia Wing who brought long talks, love and laughter, in their visit in late October!

Sheralyn and Julia and I (Sister Wilkey) have walked together
through miles of joys and troubles. Here they are in the Audabon Center,
leading to Massabesic Lake.

Deciphering tombstone wisdom

Precious friendship: Rachel Knight


The marker of Daniel Bixby, 1825

Reader prepare.  Remember death is near.
My time is past. Eternity is here.

Yet another Daniel Bixby, 1775

Why do we mourn departing friends
Or shake at death's alarms
'Tis but the voice that Jesus sends
To call them to his arms.

Rachel's parents love the changes that have come to her as she has accepted to be changed through Christ and his gospel.  She radiates confidence in Christ.

Gratitude - FAMILY!!

No words can express our appreciation for our family. In their October visit the Hatch family of five brought innumerable gifts for which we are grateful:
The gift of supporting and strengthening one another
to navigate the storms and chasms of life

The gift of enthusiam, Megan and Katelyn

The gift of treasuring one another, Jason and Ryan

The gift of curiosity
The gift of faith in Jesus Christ

The gift of appreciation of one another and
 the beauties of the earth, Erin and Ryan


The gift of discovery, this one at the Strawbery Banke Museum

The gift of enjoying sunshine and magical moments

The gift of finding happiness in simple family games

The gift of enjoying New England whoopie pies

 In reviewing a few of the gifts given by the Hatch family, we thought of the song"Simple Gifts" which was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
The gift of wonder and hugs

The gift of song and laughter