On Tuesday we had our first trip up toward Yosemite to the city of Oakhurst. It was great to be in the mountains! There was better scenery than the photo shows, but we were concentrating on other things so didn’t get pics of the most beautiful and mountainous spots. Len had to back the pickup with the enclosed mission moving trailer behind it down a hill into a driveway that sloped down in another direction. He had to hit the narrow driveway that ran alongside the house without hitting the house or falling off the other side of the drive. He nailed it on the first try. So grateful for his experiences backing the manure spreader into the barn in his youth! No experience is ever wasted.
That was our biggest move. It was a two-fer where we picked up furnishings from an apartment that senior employment office missionaries just vacated in greater Fresno and took them straight to Oakhurst to furnish an apartment for senior Membership and Leader Support missionaries who will arrive next weekend.
The other photo is of the church/ward we attend on Sundays. It is unusual architecture for an LDS building. Somewhat dated but the members are very fond of it and they are a warm-hearted bunch of people. We are glad to get to know them. We have been participating in Ward Choir rehearsals since they restarted three weeks ago.
Here is an anecdote we heard from a recent Sacrament Meeting talk on the Holy Spirit:
I want to tell you about an experience I had as a young teenager. I was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho - home of Ricks College and now BYU Idaho. For any of you that have had the privilege of being there during the winter, you understand how treacherous the driving conditions can be.
One particular winter evening on the weekend, I was looking forward to driving several miles out of town to a friend’s house who lived on a large farm. We had made plans to have dinner with his family and then retreat to the game room to play pool and watch a movie. The weather outside was fairly typical for that time of year as the wind was blowing 15 to 20 miles per hour and it was snowing steadily. After a minute or two of considering whether or not it would be wise to head out that evening on the roads, I came to the conclusion that sitting home bored was much worse than the possibility of getting stuck in a snowdrift in zero degree weather. In all honesty, I wasn’t worried and neither did my parents seem to be, (or at least they pretended not to be) as I had driven safely in much worse conditions. I said a prayer inside prior to departing, that I would be safe and a feeling of comfort fell upon me. I departed home and drove out into the storm and proceeded on my way without any problem.
Along my drive I saw only one other set of tire tracks, barely noticeable on the road as the new snow and blowing wind had covered the road almost completely. Every so often there would be a one to three foot barrier of wind-drifted snow that I very, very much enjoyed driving through in a sport fondly known in those parts as “Drift Busting”. Luckily the storm hadn’t been going for more than a couple of hours, since my vehicle was a old 1976 Ford Sedan with rear wheel drive, and busting through three foot snowdrifts were about its limit.
At around mile eight of a ten mile one way trip there is a small canyon where the country road cuts down along one side and then meanders through the bottom and goes back up along the other side onto the home stretch about a mile before reaching the home of my friend. I had all but lost sight of the tire tracks from the previous vehicle, but caught a glimpse of them momentarily before coming to the sharp turn that headed down into the small canyon. Just then, a thought popped into my head as I turned down the steep road into the canyon, “...what if the vehicle which left the tire tracks didn’t make that curve and ran off the road and down the side of the ravine?” I thought. I slowed down and thought for a moment and then decided that for sure that couldn’t be the case because No One in their right mind would be out driving in this weather... unless they were familiar with the roads and therefore wouldn’t make that error. I continued on through the ravine and up out the other side within sight of my relaxing evening at my friend’s home. The thought then came into my mind again, only stronger and nearly like a slap to the side of my head. I immediately recognized that the thought wasn’t my own. I carefully turned around and made my way back up to the other side of the canyon. I was still convinced there would be nothing, but I had to show the “not so still and not so small voice” that in this case I was right. I couldn’t see any tracks going off the road but I parked and got out of my car with a flashlight and pointed it down the steep side. I didn’t see anything. My thoughts then told me to climb DOWN the side. “What?!” my thoughts argued back. In tennis shoes? “Yes, in tennis shoes”, the other thought replied. So I did and about seventy-five feet down, there they were: taillights of a car that couldn’t be seen because of the snow flurries, until I was about thirty feet away. I climbed down the rest of the way to the car and there in the driver’s seat sat a person, his head slumped on the steering wheel. I was nervous, but not scared and I tapped on the window when suddenly his head popped up and made me jump what felt like three feet in the air. I’m still not sure who was more surprised. He turned out to be a boy, Timothy, about my same age, who used to go to school with me, but had moved to a smaller town thirty miles away. He had bumped his head fairly good, but otherwise was just fine. I helped him climb out and up the steep hill to my car, and then while driving the remaining distance to my friend’s house, he told me that his home life was chaotic with all kinds of fighting and strife and that he had stormed out and driven for hours before running off the road. All the while, I kept thinking in my head what would the result have been if I hadn’t stopped and this young man had been left to stay in his car feeling hopeless with temperatures that would have gone well below zero for the night. I felt very humbled.
Needless to say, my friend and his family were surprised when I showed up with an extra mouth to feed for dinner. There was even more adventure that night using a farm tractor to pull his vehicle out, among other things, but I’ve never questioned since that day how real it is and how important it is to trust in the Holy Spirit.