Sunday, December 28, 2008


I just (finally) had the opportunity to listen to Elder Eyring's talk from the Christmas Devotional and wanted to record some thoughts in this, my children's journal, about our legacy. In his talk, Elder Eyring speaks of a Bishop Sellers in Rexburg, ID and how he was always willing to take in a stranger and feed and clothe him. Bishop Sellers, to me, is Great Grandpa Sellers, the father of my grandfather. I have heard a few stories of my grandfather's youth, how he has many siblings--he came from a large farming family, and how they survived through the great depression, often sleeping with many children in the bed to keep warm but that he had fond memories of those times and that was thanks to the good family that he had. Honestly, even my mother did not know the story of her grandfather that Elder Eyring told, we wonder where he heard it. My mom used to babysit for Elder Eyring many years ago so he is familiar with her family but her grandfather's story is from far before that time. I just hope my children will grow up to know that our family is built upon the legacy of strong men and women of faith that came before them. Be it my great-grandfather serving the people of his community following the great depression or another of my great-grandfather's (Bernardus Theodorus Dodenbier) who was a branch president around the same time but a world away in war-ravaged Holland. He helped to rebuild the church in their area after many years of want. There is a story about him in the Church News, it tells of how he received a lot of coats from the US to be distributed to those in need. In the pocket of one of these coats was a silver dollar. My great-grandfather's counselor was leaving for the US and he gave him the silver dollar, saying-now you will never be penny-less in America. Years and years passed and so did my great-grandfather (he brought his family to America as well following a prophet's call to gather) but somehow my Dad ran into this man and friend of his grandfather. The man's name was Johann Derchmott (sp?) but had changed his name to John Dickman and it turned out he lived not far from us in California and a reunion was arranged with my grandfather. Now even my grandfather has passed but I still think of the stories he told me about escaping from a Nazi work camp. He spent a period of his youth in confinement by the Germans, but a letter to the editor in a local paper stands out to me about his character. Someone was complaining about the Germans and that we should not help nor forgive them and my grandpa wrote in telling how he of all people should want to agree, but he had learned years before as they had grown potatoes to send to the starving people in Germany that it helps no one to hold grudges and it is best to forgive and move on. He too leaves a legacy for my children. Down to my own father who faced with the prospect of 3 years in prison away from us or lying to free himself, chose to maintain his integrity. How we missed him, but the legacy of faith continues in my family. I hope I too can live up to what has been passed to me--there are many more examples, we have family that was in Nauvoo and crossed the plains, those who joined in England and crossed the ocean, many examples of leaders and faithful followers. I hope as my children grow I can teach them of their ancestors and we can all remember their lasting imprint on our lives and our history.

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