Saturday, July 1, 2023

2022-2023 Lehi FamilySearch Mission

February 2022, - 2023 August 18. We met many dedicated missionaries and interesting guests during our 18 month mission:

When President Smith set me apart and said we would see miracles. Here are some highlights: 


Kent Gardiner: 26 Sep 2022 I told our co-ordinator, Brother Beacher, I was available to help. A few minutes later he brought a couple who smiled and sat next to me. The tall man sat next to me and the very pretty wife sat next to him. After logging in and introductions Jeff Boon informed me he wanted to do the temple work for his step father. This was an unusual request because they really aren't related. For background he told me about growing up in Seattle. His father abandoned the family when he was six weeks old. They lived in the poorest part of Seattle. His alcoholic stepfather, Jack, made three things very clear. First Jeff was too stupid for college. Second he was told to have sex with all the girls you can but if she gets pregnant deny it was your child and third: Someday when Jeff was older, say 35 Jack would meet him in a dark alley and kick the crap out of me. Sometimes the yelling and abuse spilled out into the neighborhood and Jeff wondered why the neighbors didn't intervene. Jeff left home at 16 to live on the street for two years.

Eventually he joined the church and had a girlfriend. Her father encouraged Jeff to go on a mission and go to college. Jeff did go on a mission to the Dominican Republic. Living the missionary life made him want to be a better person. One day as a zone leader he was in the mission office when he was informed the mission president wanted to talk to him urgently. The mission president said Jeff had received a vulgar fax from someone called Jack. Jeff explained Jack was his stepfather. The fax included Santa Clause giving an obscene gesture. The mission President said Jeff should inform Jack that unless Jack cleaned up his act Jeff wasn't going to communicate with him. Jeff said, no, the fact he is taking the time to send me something is actually a positive thing. That Christmas Jeff called home and Jack answered. Jack asked, "How do you get money for your mission?" Jeff said, "The Ward is paying for it." Jack said how much per month does it cost?" Jeff said, "340 dollars" Jack then said, "I have an idea, let's stick it to the church and I'll pay for your last six months." Jeff told Jack he loved him and hung up.

Today Jeff calls Jack every week. Jeff tells Jack he loves him and Jack tells Jeff he loves him too. A few years ago Jack apologized for his rough treatment of Jeff. Last Christmas Jeff's son, who is on a mission in Argentina, made a 3 way zoom call to Jack and Jeff. Jack was wearing a t-shirt that said, "I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a drunk, alcoholic's go to meetings."

Jeff is a direct line descendant of Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone who appears to be a believing Christian had a granddaughter who married Governor Lilburn Boggs. About thirty years ago Jeff went to the Bountiful Temple and did the work for Governor Boggs. 

Toward the end of our conversation I showed Jeff how to appeal the denial of doing temple work for Jack's ancestors. He was very enthusiastic and said he would make an appeal. Before he left Jeff said he would leave a copy of a book on his life at the front desk and I could pick it up on Friday. 


Kent Gardiner: 10 Oct 2022, a sister missionary had to leave the center early and asked if I could help a woman who was trying to locate her slave ancestors. I said yes and introduced myself to Monica Brown. We worked a while and found a census which said her black great grandmother, Henrietta was married to a supposed slave owner and had been married for forty years. That didn't line up with a small booklet Monica had obtained from a family reunion about 10 years ago but he was encouraged because she found it difficult to find information. Henrietta lived in Louisiana. I told Monica I had a son who went to LSU to orthodontic school. She said "Oh really what is his name?" I said, "Ryan Gardiner." A big smile came over her face and she said, "I know Ryan. I fact I was Luke's primary teacher!!! We were in the same ward! Stephanie had a great influence on our daughter. How are they doing?"

We talked on an on about her husband who was a former Bishop in the area. She said her husband and Ryan loved talking to each other about gospel topics. I took a photo of Monica and myself and sent it to Ryan. He replied back, "We love the Brown's, how in the world did you meet up together?" Then I introduced her to Deborah. They chatted away. I told Monica to contact us when she came back to Utah to visit her children and we will take her out to dinner. She wanted a hug and by that time we were fast friends so we hugged and reluctantly parted.


One day I sat with a brother came to the center to scan photos and he me told this story. He worked on Family History for many years. One year he took a plane trip from SLC to Michigan to visit his non Mormon father. 

On the day he arrived there was a knock at the door. The postman handed his father a packet. He opened it and inside he found a photo of his ancestors from Lithuania. The brother's father was going to throw it away when the brother stopped him and said, "Don't throw that away, that photo is precious to me." The brother then showed me the photo of several members of his family in Lithuania and said what a miracle he was able to obtain the photograph. He had labeled everyone in the photo.