When I was a young missionary I learned the following poem:
Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, Power, Place and Praise
Will come, in time, to the one who stays.
Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life's victories, after a while.
We have now been here as missionaries for 5 months. We have 18 more months to go. We decided that if we had signed up for an 18 month mission, we would just be starting. A new couple, Elder and Sister Peterson from Gilbert, Arizona, arrived this week for their 18 month mission. We will go home with them!
We have had a slow down in our work. We have also been sick the past couple of weeks.
We have moved into a new apartment for a couple of months while our apartment in the Ancillary Building next to the Temple is being remodeled and new mechanical systems are installed.
We have started doing some other things, like family history and genealogy. We have been thinking about "Pioneers".
My Great-grandmother, Martha Barrett Haws, was born in 1859 in England. Her family joined the Church and when she was 16 her family migrated to the US and Utah. She was one of the youngest daughters of William Barrett and Phoebe Colbourn (her father was William Colbourn-we have a grandson named William Coburn!). Martha was a twin. Her sister Mary missed the boat and the family left without her. She stayed back to get married in England and her and her husband eventually migrated to Utah, but not for many years. It must have been hard for Martha to leave her twin sister and travel to Utah.
Soon after she arrived she met and married William Wallace Haws. He was 40 (she was 16) and she became his second wife. They eventually left Provo and lived in Arizona and then in the Colonies of Old Mexico. She had 9 children including my Grandfather, Joseph Forest Haws. Her two youngest daughters were also twins, and she named them Mary and Martha as well.
I have been thinking about her this week. She left England and became a "pioneer" in the West and in the Church. She help build the Church. After her husband died in Mexico, and the Mexican Revolution of 1911, she went back to Utah where she died of a brain tumor in 1916. She was 57.
She had a hard life.
We have met some dear friends here who are temple missionaries from Cote d'Ivorie. Elder and Sister Assard are truly "Pioneers" as well.
|Elder and Sister Assard|
Sister Assard's sister introduced her to the Church but Brother Assard was not interest at first. She was baptized in Germany. After a time he became interested, read the Book of Mormon and was baptized, also in Germany.
Eventually, they determined that they should return to Ivory Coast, the country of Brother Assard, and take the gospel to that country. At the time, there were no members in Ivory Coast!
They sold everything and left beautiful Germany, its rivers and streams, its beauty and improvements, and set up their home in Ivory Coast. The Ivorians speak native languages and French. Sister Assard spoke German. Brother Assard spoke French, German, English and native. It was very hard for Sister Assard. She spoke a different language, she was a white woman married to an African man, and she was a total stranger in a strange land.
After some time they met another family with a similar story. Two became four, then eight, then twenty then many. Elder Assard became the branch president, then the district president, then the Stake President, then Patriarch, then temple sealer. He and his wife are on a temple mission where he is a sealer and with his French language is very needed. Sister Assard is now struggling to learn English, but she is doing very well.
At a meeting that was held in President Curtis' home, we watched a video the Church has produced about the Assards and the beginning of the Church in Cote d'Ivoire and we were amazed that these people were sitting in the same room with us, and they have lived this amazing life.
Today, there is a Mission in Cote d'Ivoire, 5 Stakes and 1 District. There are a total of 57 units of the Church in this country. This is the result of two people giving their lives to God. Their home, which in the beginning was also a chapel, is now designated as a Church Historic site in Africa.
They have 2 children. Their son-in-law is now the Stake President. Their daughter told him she would only marry in the Temple, so he checked it out, and is now a Church leader and her husband.
There are so many stories to tell, but I thought this one was very special and we know these people and they are our friends.
One more thing. It has been a challenge for the first generation of Church Pioneers. Many of their children have gone to the US either for the Church or for school. Many have married Americans and are living in the US. We were searching for one of our friends on the Church Directory of Leaders and we found his son, who has the same name, and the son is a Stake President in Virgina.
There is something to following personal opportunity, but there is something else to staying in your home country and building the Church. We think the second generation, many of whom have been missionaries and are marrying in the Temple (a lot are marrying Returned Missionaries) and a great number of them are benefiting from the Church's Perpetual Education Fund, are making good lives in Africa, building the Church, and becoming the next wave of leaders. They are truly going to make a difference.
Grandma Martha left England to build the Church in Utah and the West. We benefited from her move. Many others have given up lands and homes and families. But it is important that others "stay" and "stick to the task till it sticks to you" for as the poem says, "out of the bend, the sweat, and the smile, will come life's victory after a while!"