for years made the Elders welcome in her home and it appeared that she was the only
person in the town that had ever, in years, allowed the Mormon Elders a place of refuge
for the night.
Mrs. Beanland said we could sleep on the porch with a canvas hung around our bed until a vancancy inside occured. It was not many days until she arranged for us a room inside.
Sister Mattie Ashcraft, a widow, and her daughter, Jewel, were the only family among the L.D.S. of the Booneville Branch that owned a car. They were so generous, so .kind and accomodating as to offer to take us to and from our meetings twice a week. This offer they faithfully carried out as long as we were in the missionfield. When spring work came on and they were crowded with work, they just turned over the car to us. If they had to go places then, it was up to us to take them.
I was able, as a minister of the gospel, to get the necessary stamps so we could buy gasoline.
I don't know what we would ever have done in doing missionary work in Booneville had it not been for Sister Ashcraft and her daughter. Jewel had two children, Ramon and Ray. Jewel had no husband so she had to do most of the farm work alone.
The first Sunday we attended church at Booneville, we learned of the severe sickness of Sister Ruby Weatherbee who was at the Booneville Hospital. She was suffering from a ruptured appendix.
I copy from my diary the following: Brother Lee Floyd and I went with the Ashcrafts to the hospital and administered to Sister Weatherbee. She is a very sick woman with very much faith and it is through her faith and the faith of her family and the saints that she will be restored to health. Her husband is friendly but not a member of the church.
Never in my life have I ever seen a person manifest more faith than she. It was when she was suffering great pain and could speak in only a whisper when she said to us, "I am going to get better. I must live to raise my children and to work to bring my husband into the church." I was sure that it was the inspiration of the Spirit of the Lord when we administered to her and we promised her health that the desires of her heart might be granted.
Sister Ruby and her husband, Oscar, now have four beautiful children. Oscar is now the President of the Booneville Branch, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has, for a long time, also, been the President of the Relief Society. They are wonderful people.
When we were not busy out among the members of the branch, which we tried to visit often, we spent what time we could in visiting homes in Booneville. For a time we were quite successful in getting into people's homes, until the people learned we were Mormons and it was not long then before the people closed their doors against us.
After several days of unsuccessful tracting, as we returned to our apartment one afternoon, Sarah seemed as if a little discouraged and she said to me, "I think all the Seed of Israel has been gathered out of this city."
Not much did we discuss the subject, but nearly all night, whether asleep or awake, she seemed to see the words before her eyes in large letters, ISAIAH 17. Early in the morning she asked that I turn on the light, then take the Bible and turn to Isaiah and Chapter 17. I did so, and we were convinced that the verses 4, 5, and 6 were an answer to her statement of the afternoon before. The passages are as follows:
"And in that day it shall come to pass that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean."
"And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereeth ears in the valley of Rephaim. "
"Yet gleaming grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches, thereof, said the Lord God of Israel."
When I read these verses to Sarah, she exclaimed, "Guess there are some yet to be gathered. It will take work to reach them. Some are on the top of the uppermost boughs and on the outmost fruitful branches. It will be good fruit but hard to gather. "
Forever after that time, Sarah was much interest in the saints and friends at Booneville and many were the letters of encouragement and love she wrote to them.
It was a wonderful experience for both she and I. Never before had we known each other so well. We had never before been together so close when we could help each other with all the detail work, even to washing and wiping the dishes, making the bed and sweeping the floor.
Yes, I know she was pleased with the little I could help her. Never did I go anywhere without her, except to the Post Office.
She was a wonderful pal, and oh, how the saints loved her, as also did many who were not members of the church.
We arrived at our home May 21. Several of our children and in-laws were at Echo to meet us when we got off the car, even though it was just getting daylight.
We had come home hurriedly, hoping to be able to attend the funeral of Dean Van Wagoner, Sarah's brother. He had been buried, however, the day before we arrived.
President Meeks realized that Booneville was a place where it was hard to do successful missionary work. He had offered to transfer us to Alabama but we told him we wished to stay at Booneville until we were released. He told us he would send us to Florida if we would go back to the South again.
Back Table Of Contents Next