Hello again family, friends and in particular our beautiful grandchildren,
First we would like to say Happy Birthday to our special long-time friend Susan Johnson, who with her husband Ross, is serving a World Class CES Mission in Ohio. Susan we love love you and will be looking forward to seeing you soon. We had the opportunity to see their son Mark last week, as he came to the Cove to possibly bid on paving our entrance road.
This has been another hectic week here at the Martin Site, and also the Willie Site. Early in the week I had to go to the Willie Center and repair a couple of broken waterlines. This had to be accomplished with the river overflowing it's banks. This meant digging down 7' with ground water pouring in. It also meant pumping water as fast as we could to get down and repair the broken lines. It turned into a wet, muddy, three day challenge.
Friday and Saturday we welcomed the arrival of about 170 more trek leaders who had come to be trained before bringing their youth here for the pioneer experience. We will have two more Trek Seminars over the next two weeks. Sister Leavitt and I had the privilege of leading about 75 of these leaders on a trek up through the Cove and being able to relate the Veil Bridge, and Martin Handcart story to them. What a spiritual and authentic experience. It was authentic because the wind blew and the rain poured down the whole time, (needless to say I had a wet week) but our enthusiastic group handled it very well. My old legs felt a little weary by the time we returned from the six mile round trip journey marching up and down the hills, while being soaked. But we survived the elements and the trek leaders felt they had gotten a little taste of what the Martin Handcart Pioneers went through. (very little, considering those pioneers trekked 1300 miles through wind, rain, snow, with the last 350 miles being through below zero blizzards.) But, I think the experience certainly made them appreciate our handcart pioneers a little more. Another special treat was that our former Bishop and his wife, Earl and Leslie Leavitt (distant relatives and good friends) from Boulder City were with the group. They along with the Hafens and Larsens, who we knew from Henderson were here to be trained for their Stake trek this summer.
We also had the Directors of the Farmland Reserve, Elder and Sister Bretzing, who are over our Mission, come from Salt Lake to visit and critique us. And we also had the pleasure of having a General Authority, Elder Bachman, from the Quorum of the 70 "emeritus", he stated that "when they retire you to emeritus status, it's like going from rooster to feather duster". He was from Church Headquarters, and had come to observe our training techniques. He and his wife spoke to us in church today. They both spoke about the great Mormon Pioneer movement in which 70 to 80 thousand Mormon immigrants crossed the plains to the Salt Lake valley to escape religious persecution and to be able to experience religious freedom. From that hardy core group of saints the church now numbers nearly 14 million. Many of those early Saints came from England, Europe, and Scandinavia. We as present members of the church owe these people a great debt of gratitude for their being willing to leave their Countries, their homes and sometimes families, to travel across the sea, and then across the Country, under the most trying circumstances, for the opportunity to freely practice their beliefs and answer the Lord's call to gather in Zion.
We love you all, and may you have health and prosperity.
An open letter to my children and grandchildren:
I would like each of you to be aware that you have a great pioneer heritage. I would ask you to research and study it. Your ancestors were not only instrumental in helping to settle the west, but this great Country. One of our first ancestors to arrive in America was Captain John Leavitt, who brought his family, along with other immigrants, to help settle the New World in the early 1600's. Our ancestors were instrumental in helping to settle New England, ( many are still there) and some of our ancestors were part of the Plymouth Colony. When our family heard about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints while in Hatley, Quebec, Canada, they were touched by it's scripturally correct principles and, very soon, accepted its teachings. As soon as they were able they joined the main body of the saints in Kirtland, Ohio. Our ancestors were among the first major group of the Saints who came west on an arduous journey which took the life of a several of their immediate family. In spite of these trials they were able to be very instrumental in settling the then primitive Utah territory.
Our direct ancestor, Dudley Leavitt, was instrumental in establishing peace with the various Indian tribes which allowed for settlement of the many valleys in Southern Utah and Southern Nevada. These early efforts helped allow for the thousand of immigrants coming after him to have a place to build settlements and raise crops to support their families. This pioneering spirit by early members of the Church also opened the way for people of other faiths the opportunity to come west and settle. Las Vegas was first able to be settled due to the early efforts of our ancestors and other hardy pioneers like them paving the way.
Dudley Leavitt's brothers also help settle parts of Northern Utah, Idaho, and even Alberta, Canada. One of the trek leaders who came last week was from Leavitt, Canada, settled by Thomas R. Leavitt. This man, from Leavitt, named Jaime Quinton, said he was acquainted with many of our relatives up there. ( He is also the cousin of Sandra Bevans, one of our missionary friends from Cardston, Canada.)
The point I am trying to make, is that you, my beautiful family, have a great heritage and that it is one of my greatest desires that you should try to live your lives as to honor those great ancestors who sacrificed so much so that we might have these wonderful freedoms and opportunities. Our family is from royal linage and has been traced to royalty in England, France, Germany, and Scandinavia. I have personally traced our genealogy, in one line, back to a "King Claudie of Germany", born 6 years after the birth of Christ. It is said that one of our lines through Scandinavia has been traced back to Adam and Eve. But, my dearest loved ones, our linage is of no consequence if we don't try our best to honor our name, our County, and our religion which our ancestors gave their all for, and try to do our best to perpetuate our great legacy. " I know I can't change my past, I can only learn from it, but I can have control over my future".
Dad and Grandpa
Hi Everyone -- I'll add just a few words as "Grandpa" has covered everything very well.
I, too, want to add my birthday greetings to my dear friend, Susan. I love and miss you !! She and Ross will stop by "The Cove" on their way home to Boulder City. Can't wait to see you.
I had hoped to attach a picture of us trekking w/ the Trek Leaders but it was raining so hard I was afraid to take my camera out of case. It was also very cold, so I was proud of both of us that we made it. Charlie did a great job of telling the stories and keeping us moving.
Spring is taking a long time to arrive in this part of Wyoming. It snowed last weekend and parts of I-80 were closed. Today I saw a daffodil just starting to bud outside the Visitor's Center -- so I'm encouraged that Spring is around the corner.
The new Missionaries will be here Tuesday so we're really excited. Lots of work and fun ahead of us.
My love and prayers to you all,
Sister Leavitt aka Peggy