Sunday, May 1, 2016

Trip to Israel

I had the opportunity to go to Israel a couple of summers ago and had a marvelous time!  Not only did we visit the places where the Savior and the Apostles walked and taught, but we learned so much more about the Savior’s life and what it would have been like to have lived during His time here on the earth.  It’s different than just looking at a map of the area.  I’m one to notice my surroundings and to comprehend the distance from one place to another.  Just to travel up to Galilee and cross the Galilean Sea where we read about so many of the Savior’s teachings and callings of His Apostles was thrilling to me and to all of us.  It makes the New Testament come alive!

I loved the time we spent in the Garden of Gethsemane and also at the Garden Tomb!  Both places have been preserved and well taken care of.  There are a few places in Jerusalem that are believed to have been where the Savior was laid to rest, but this is the one that our Prophets seem to feel best about.  There is a very serene and peaceful feeling there.  Whether or not it is the exact spot, doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t change the fact that those events took place there, in and around Jerusalem.

We were quite surprised to see how green and lush the surrounding areas were.  I have always imagined it to be quite dry and barren.  I believe it might have been that way at the time that the Savior lived on the earth. It was, although, quite hot and barren as we traveled down by the Dead Sea and passed through Jericho.

We visited so many wonderful places, including attending a Shabbat Day Meeting at the Jerusalem Center with Pres. Uchtdorf and his family.  I loved feeling the beautiful spirit that attends all of these places that we read about in the scriptures.  My intent for writing this though, is not to give you a travelogue, but rather to share a marvelous and most unusual experience that happened to me while in Jerusalem.  We just never know when the influence of the Gospel will touch another’s life.  Or maybe I should say, when happenstance puts you in a situation that you can share a moment in time with someone, which can speak a myriad of different things all at once.  Like introducing someone to family members and the kind of people you associate with.  Let me explain...We were down to breakfast a little early one morning and while I was waiting for my omelet to be cooked a man passed by that reminded me of a friend from high school. I just saw his profile as he sat down at the table in front of me with a Jewish man, his back facing me, so I really couldn’t tell if that was actually him.  And then, would you believe, that when he got up to leave, he turned just enough so that I could recognize that it really was Bill!  How absurd that you would run into a friend from high school at breakfast in Israel!!!  I just looked up absurd in the dictionary--- (wildly unreasonable or illogical).  That’s exactly how I felt about the unlikely encounter.  It was so bizarre!  I jumped out of my seat and stood right in front of him and he, of course, was speechless!  Well, after the excitement and introductions of why we were both in Israel, (he being there with his wife for the wedding of a friend), and I being there with my son and wife on a tour of the Holy Land with Dorothy Bryson and friends, we took pictures and visited in the short amount of time that we had together.  He told me about our high school reunion that would be held in Denver in August and asked if I would be attending.  Since they didn’t have my email address, I was not aware of it.  I told him I would try and then we said our good-byes ... marveling at the experience we had just had.

So that brings me to the reason why I am relating this experience.  I was able to attend our reunion, as I have done in the past and was so happy to be aware of it.  I am still in contact with many of my friends from high school.  Because Bill is on our reunion committee there at South High in Denver, he was conducting a portion of the evening.   He, in his Greek enthusiasm, excitedly told of our meeting in Israel and while doing so, he said that I was there with a “Christian” group touring the sites of the life of Christ.  It thrilled me that he referred to us as a Christian group, because he is aware that I am of the Mormon faith.  It opened the door for me to bear a simple testimony to other friends during the evening.   A friend of mine (he being a Pastor in another faith) asked me if I had always been a Mormon and was I a Mormon when I was in high school?  There were several friends surrounding us at the time and that’s when I was able to explain the reasons why I became a member of the church.  Like being able to express to them that when the missionaries taught me, I immediately related to them, and that what they were teaching me was everything that I had always believed to be true about the Savior and Heavenly Father and our purpose here on the earth.  It was a very wonderful and unique opportunity to discuss briefly a little bit about our faith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I’m convinced it was not by accident that I ran into Bill halfway across the world in Jerusalem.  Whatever comes of it, I have no idea, but I do know that the Lord provided that moment in time for a reason.  I’ll tell you the “Rest of the Story” when it unfolds ---  if it does in our lifetime.  I know the Lord provides a way for all who have “ears to hear and eyes to see,” to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in His own special way and in His own time.  We just need to do our part and be prepared when opportunity knocks at our door.  We are all in this work together!  It will be most interesting to see Heavenly Father’s plan unfold in all its Glory!!!

I bear you my witness that I know the fullness of the Gospel is upon the earth at this time (The last Dispensation of Time) and that the work that we are all involved in is true!

Nancy Read

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Faith and Courage One Must Create

There are times in our lives where the refiner's fire purifies us to the point that we go beyond ourselves and think and write things that seem above us.  Maybe our true divine nature comes out and the spirit flows through us like running water.

I have had this experience happen to me a few times, where there seems for a time that the veil is lifted a little and where God's Holy Spirit personally teaches a truth.  I would like to share one experience in particular that happened to me.

I want to tell you about my Mother, Mabel Austin Crandall.  At age 18 she was a convert to the LDS church and loved the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with all her heart.   Even though her family could not understand why she left the Methodist religion that they had raised her in, she and my father were married in the Methodist church to make them happy and 1 year later were sealed in the Mesa, Arizona LDS temple for not only time but for all eternity. At that time, she gained a strong testimony of eternal families and of temple work.

She was the type of person that ate very healthy, exercised, worked hard, and was on every committee in the community you could think of.  I think she single-handedly made sure 25 scouts in her ward received their Eagle Scout awards. She worked in the scouting program, PTA, and Boys and Girls Club helping young kids succeed in life.  She was my best friend and great example of everything good. Her grandchildren were her life and she made each one feel so special. She taught me so many important life skills that I use daily!


In 1995 my very healthy mother of age 63 was diagnosed with cancer.  Sometimes Heavenly Father throws us a curve that we are not sure we can handle.  This was one of those challenges for sure!  I watched my beautiful mother gracefully have chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumors.   She would dress up and go to her chemo appointments like she wasn’t even sick and I watched while she was getting her chemo treatment.  However, she acted different than all the other patients sitting in their chairs.  She got up from her chair, while the medicine was dripping into her, and knelt down by each sick patient and took their hands in hers and said…”You are going to beat this.”  She was so brave and wanted everyone to have hope and faith that they were going to get better.

She fought a hard fight pretending like nothing was wrong.  But I could tell that she was getting worn down and very tired.  She still kept going so that we wouldn’t worry about her.  She would say “I’m going to beat this”.   As time went on, the Lord had other plans for her.  As I started dealing with the fact that I was going to lose my Mother and best friend here on earth, my heart fully turned to my Father in Heaven and I found myself writing a poem for my Father and one of my daughters who I could see were sinking into grief and despair.  The words just flowed like water and in a poet’s world, it’s probably not great…but for me, I was just writing what was in my heart that the spirit dictated to me.

Faith and Courage One Must Create
by Annette 1998

Let down thy shoulders, and calm thy troubled heart
The Lord is with thee from the very start

Tho earth’s tribulation, none shall escape;
Faith and courage, one must create.

Born with affirmatives, weakness and wo
Learning to deal with daily, as we go.

And as if sometime, somewhere along the way,
We stumble and fall, bearing a heavy load on our tray;

The strength is within us to carry on and be,
The strong, servant in heaven, who pleaded, PICK ME!!!

I will go down and serve those below,
Whose burden is heavy and hope is no more.

But how can I serve when I myself suffer;
When doubt and despair creep in at my door.

Surely life’s curves have been thrown my way;
I thank thee dear Lord for helping me through this day.

I will fight the thoughts of discouragement and fear
Because I know surely that my Savior is near.

He’s been through this too; all of my feelings of not
And I thank him for these experiences that I have not sought.

Remember, he suffered and died that we may ever be,
pure and clean, with him throughout eternity.

Perfecting my spirit is not too late.
Faith and Courage one must create!


In June 1998 as she was fighting for her life, Provo City Mayor showed up and presented her with “Citizen of the Year” for Provo City Chamber of Commerce.  Everyone loved and appreciated Mom in the community for all her hard work.

She put up a good fight and as the family gathered around her in her final moments, She managed to say with much deliberation…”I cannot face my Mother on the other side not having her temple work done.”  She would not let her spirit go until my girls got in the car and went to the temple to do the baptism.  We were all around her bed when the girls left to go to the temple.  That satisfied her to go ahead and walk through the veil.  I went to the temple that very evening to finish up her mother's work.  In fact, my whole family found ourselves in the temple that night thanking Father in Heaven for her life and just wanting to carry on her legacy by serving others.

I know my Father in Heaven knows me and helped me through this difficult time.  I also have had a very strong impression that my mother was taken early to help convert her sweet Christian family who have all passed away now.  Yes, we are doing their temple work and Mom is bearing her strong testimony to them that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and I know they are accepting the work because of my dear Mother!!!

If you want to know how you can be linked with your loved ones throughout all eternity, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org and the missionaries will teach you about our sacred temples and the work for the dead we do there.

Like my mother, I am so grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m a Mormon and love my life!!!

Annette