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Through My Eyes – Grand Mesa Reunion

grand mesa 3Our trip to the Grand Mesa Reunion began early Friday morning when we went to pick up our neighbors Mary and Rita.  I love early mornings.  Things were crisp and alive with anticipation of a weekend that would prove to be unlike any other we had ever experienced.  It was a pleasure to really meet Mary’s husband, Ben.  I think we’re friends now.  We then drove North and gathered Stephanie.  We prayed for guidance and protection, comforted her dog and cat, and headed off to Bluffdale to complete our convoy – a truck and travel trailer driven by another friend.

We prayed again, calling down shields and angels to protect us as we journeyed toward Grand Mesa.  We quickly discovered that convoys such as ours do not move as quickly or as steadily as single cars.  A 6 hour trip turned into a 10 hour trip.  The trip there and back was marvelous.  Our traveling companions were each delightful.  There was never a moment the entire 20+ hours when there was not conversation.  We bonded, we trusted and we loved.  It was beautiful.  Needless to say, we had solved most of the world’s problems by the time we arrived at the High School in Cedar Edge, Colorado at about 8:30 – 2 hours late.

Before I actually talk about the reunion, let me first say that

There were about 200 people (a very rough guess) gathered in the auditorium at the time we arrived.  I was greeted immediately by Sean May and his son.  This was the first of many meaningful greetings and meetings.  We quickly found out that one rule had been established at the opening of the reunion – “No handshakes – only hugs”.  The first order of business, as you might expect after a trip like ours, was to visit the men’s room.  As I came out, a hymn, “Beautiful Savior” was being sung.  I stood off to the side soaking in the sound of 200+ voices, with a few adventurous soprano voices soaring above the melody.  I quickly realized that this was going to be a very special gathering.  Were those angels’ voices I heard joining the chorus?  It would be impossible to convince me otherwise.  I think that hymn set the tone for the whole weekend.  I felt like we were in for a very special time.

The Formal, Assigned Talks

We missed Rock Waterman’s talk as well as Marti Grobecker’s talk and dance exercise, but we did arrive and settle in time to hear Jaqueline Olsen.  Here, I want to switch from a travelogue-type account to simply sharing my impressions.  The talks were inspired, not only in their content, but in their sequencing.  On Friday night, Jaqueline and Larry Winn shared their testimonies of Christ – of His power, of His grace, and of their very personal experiences with Him.  In doing so, they established the focus of the gathering – The Lord Jesus Christ.  Larry closed his personal story with a song about how dependent we all are on Him.  I think this set a precedent that testimony in song was acceptable, even encouraged, and there were several testimonies through the weekend that were expressed or accented through song.  It proved to be a wonderful form of worship.

On Saturday, the theme of the prepared talks was Zion.  I spoke about 4 scriptures that point us to Zion, and then Rob Smith shared his impressions about the realities that face us as the last days scenario plays out.  The two talks seemed to be perfect bookends.  On Sunday at the sacrament meeting, Garth and Melanie Turley shared striking personal stories of miracles and grace, followed by an hour of testimonies.  Adrian Larsen’s closing talk exposed through scripture many myths about the building of Zion prior to issuing a call to action – a call to prepare ourselves to respond to the Lord’s voice.  It was a perfect capstone to a marvelous weekend filled with messages of gratitude, understanding, preparation, and action.  Each talk was delivered with confidence, humility and sincerity.  I’m sure I speak for all the speakers when I say we were so thankful for the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings in such a setting.  There were many others who could have done equally as well, but I am convinced that the selection of speakers, as well as their individual selection of topics, was inspired.

Testimonies

On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, ample time was set aside for personal testimonies.  This was simply a beautiful thing.  Many stood and testified.  There were songs.  There were tears. There was gratitude – primarily for the grace and mercy of our Savior.  There were testimonies born by grizzled old men and innocent children; by the scholarly and experienced, and by the child suddenly alive and burning with wonder at what they were witnessing and feeling.   One very young man quietly bore a testimony of meeting the Savior.  I’m certain that most in the audience missed this – it was so quiet and unassuming.  Yet, when he walked away, I could see the sincerity and power in his tears as he ever-so-subtly indulged in a spiritual fist pump, as if saying to himself, “Yes, I did it!”  My friend John and I thought, “Did that really just happen?”

Many who stood were clearly uncomfortable.  When this became obvious, the audience was quick to show support and encouragement with confirming “Amen’s” and appropriate applause.  One of the most touching testimonies came from a young man named Travis who testified standing by the side of a lake high on the Mesa, shirtless, in preparation for his baptism. His friend Vaughn entered the icy waters with him, praying with hands lifted high to the heavens for the authority to perform this sacred ordinance.  This intimate scene was witnessed by only a fortunate few who happened to have been delayed in heading back down the mountain.

Meet and Greet; Facebook Accounts to Faces

Oh, the Joy!  I’m not even going to attempt to name names, for fear of leaving someone out.  When we arrived, it was made clear that there had been an announcement of some sort at the beginning that handshakes were out and hugs were in – and hug we did!  Bonds were formed that will never be broken.  The smiles that beamed from faces on Sunday at the pot-luck were evidence of the love that had prevailed throughout the weekend.  I don’t recall hearing a single word of contention the entire weekend.  If ever there was a “yea, yea – nay nay” gathering, this was it.  The spirit of Christ flowed through us all and was somehow magnified each time it was passed through a hug, a warm greeting, whispered encouragement, a shared testimony, even a gentle pat on the hand or an arm around the shoulder when the occasion called for it.

Organization

Let me just say that it seemed as if no detail were missed in the planning of this event.  If there were “hiccups”, they were minor and completely transparent to me.  As might be expected, the occasional speaker went over their scheduled time, but we adjusted.  It seemed as if there was a perfect blend of structure and schedule with flexibility to allow the spirit to move, and without rigidity that might detract from that same spirit.  I noticed many little details such as green table cloths on the table that held wine for the sacrament and white table cloths for the grape juice table.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  Oh, my – maybe that explains why I was feeling particularly “gladdened” during the sacrament meeting.  These details were a testimony to the diligence and hard work offered by all who helped bring this together.  My heartfelt kudos to Brett and Samantha and the many less visible volunteers who helped carry out the Grand Mesa Reunion.

A Call to Action

At the end of the event, Brett Corbridge addressed the group.  He said there had been many references to “next year”.  He made it clear that, at least at this time, there were no plans for “next year”.  I immediately understood why.  This was a highlight, a gathering.  It was a one-time event of great, even eternal importance.  Many had been prepared before coming here, and now they are prepared to go forth and serve.  It’s not that there won’t be other gatherings at other places and with other people, or even with the same people, but this event was singular.  A message was clearly given by the Lord…”I am here!  I am calling you – you who are listening – to the work!  I will prepare you; I will sustain you; my angels will accompany you.  You must sustain each other.  The work will be hard, but we will prevail.  There are many dangers ahead, but the work will roll forth.  Love, love, and love some more!

A Sad Accent – A Further Call

Over the weekend, one of our sisters, a young mother, died.  She had been hospitalized for several days and hopes were apparently high for her recovery, but her condition suddenly worsened on Saturday and she died.  I am told that during the sisters’ breakout session on Saturday, they held a prayer circle on her behalf.  I may be sketchy on the details, but you get the idea.  On Sunday, my daughter, Jules, confided in me the following:

“Why couldn’t we heal her??!!!  We are supposed to have the power to do this!  The Lord wants us to learn to use this power!  We MUST learn this!  Why did someone have to die because we haven’t learned how to use His power yet?  It’s there for us!  We must overcome this unbelief and lay hold of it.  I see it.  I know it.  We ALL must come to this knowledge and this power or we will fail.” 

Please understand that this was a very passionate confession with many tears and emotions, and I have recounted the words and the essence as best I could.  I would also add my testimony to hers.  This was a wake-up call to me.  I am very casual about many things.  I have great faith and confidence that the Lord will teach me what I need to know as I need to know it, and as I am prepared.  However, if I need to become prepared to receive this power, then I must accept the urgency to prepare myself.  Gifts such as healing the sick and raising the dead have been, for me, something that I expect will come, but they are not real for me.  I guess this is called disbelief.  The message I received from Jules is that we must seek after these gifts – this power.  I must ask the Lord what I must do to prepare that I might be empowered.  I cannot remain casual.  How many more powerful servants might die because of my failure to prepare?  We will never be able to serve Him with power if we do not prepare.

My friends, I do not claim this message to be coming from me.  I am merely passing it on.  However, there truly is an urgency.  This reunion, with its call to action, was real and seminal.  It was, or it should have been, transformational for all of us.  It was beautiful and glorious and the love flowed, but above all it is a call to prepare and to serve.  As Adrian was reaching the end of his talk, I was sitting on the grass toward the back of the audience.  I suddenly felt as if I were lifted off the ground.  I stood – because I felt like I needed to stand as a way of saying, “Yes, Lord, I will answer.  I will stand for you!  I will do whatever it takes!”  I know there are many who have preceded me in this realization, and many who will follow when it is their time.  Jules’ lament that we must prepare ourselves that we might gain access to the greatest powers of heaven – even the power over death – struck a powerful chord in my heart.  The need is urgent!  We must pray!  We must cry out!  We must humble ourselves, but then we must be powerful.

Again, my thanks to all those who orchestrated this “Reunion”.  They were truly guided by the Lord, and this showed not only in the success of the event, but in their faces.  They truly acted as His servants, seeking no honor unto themselves.  Most remain nameless. They worked tirelessly that His message might be delivered.  Let us not allow that service to be wasted.  Let us each rise up in our own way, with our own power flowing from Him, trusting in Him, but stepping forward in faith that we, too, might serve Him; that we each might carry out our assigned role in this strange act – this one, last, final, and oh-so-glorious act.  Praise be to Him in all things.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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16 comments on “Through My Eyes – Grand Mesa Reunion

  1. Thank you for this account of your time up on the Mesa. Reading the account of Jules and about healing the sick and raising the dead brought back things I have seen and done in some of my dreams. A wake up call for us all indeed!

    I echo your closing line, “Praise be to Him in all things.”-Sally

  2. Amen sister Sally. You bring me joy!

  3. Hi, I was there at the prayer circle that we had done for this sweet sister, who was loved by many. I did not know her, but my heart pours out to her family and friends who struggle with this loss. I too was verbal in praying during this time of the prayer circle. As I heard the beautiful heartfelt desires for God to heal her, I struggled. I have anxiety and this experience brought all of my fears into view. It also brought to memory the many prayers that I have prayed for my healing, for my desire to see Christ. I know He can do it, so why not? There was a point in my life where the healing was not forth coming that I became angry with God. I didn’t understand. I have since learned that I have pride. We in our desires to heal, whether for ourselves or our loved ones, can get stuck in pride. I have faith, so if I have faith then you should heal me or whoever I want to heal. Sometimes, it is.Not in God’s plan to heal. I believe that Jules is a beautiful, strong, spirit. I believe that when time comes she will be a force to be reckoned with and God will make her an instrument in His hands to heal others. She is amazing and this in no way is a reflection of what I see in her, but in myself. As I was standing there, pouring out tears for a woman I didn’t know, feeling the pain and faith and desires of her friends, I knew that God loved these women. He asked me to speak a prayer, which I was hesitant to pray, for the hope that it would not seem that I had a lack of faith in this woman’s healing. I desired her healing, because if God could heal her, then He could heal me, but the words that came to my mind was “thy will be done”. There was someone’s will that we were forgetting. God’s! In humility we prayed that His will be done and that those who hurt would be lifted and continue in their faith in Him. Just like Alma, who had to sit by as many women and children were killed in the fire. He had power, He could.Have shown forth power, but God asked him to stay back. Sometimes when God gives us a gift, He wants to make sure that we will not use it unwisely and that we are willing to do all.that the Father asks, even if it means allowing somebody to pass from this mortality. It was not.for a lack of power or faith, it was there. We just have to get to a point that we trust in our Father, no matter what happens. We will receive gifts, but we have to be willing to submit to all the will of the Father. I struggle with this, and God was solidifying a lesson for me. I pray that this does not come across in anyway, except to encourage. We do need to get to a place where we can effect miracles, but we need to do it in God’s will. My love goes out to those who struggle. My heart yearns to.comfort you. Thanks to this retreat, and getting to know many of you, my prayers can ascend to heaven in a more specific manner for you. I pray we see each other again soon.

  4. The instruction to hug came from Rock Waterman during his Friday night opening talk, and though it wasn’t entirely obeyed, it lent a definite air to the rest of the reunion. I’d also like to throw in my thanks for the sopranos during “Beautiful Savior”. I was the pianist, and that particular piano was finicky in some ways that bothered me. I struggled to make it behave the way I wanted, but the unexpected obbligato helped me to concentrate on worship instead of the piano’s limitations.

    • Well, Warthog (boy – that’s really hard to call you that!), I was standing right behind you. Thank you for your service with playing the piano. Sooooo cool!

  5. Thanks for posting your impressions, Scoot. While my circumstances didn’t permit my sharing the weekend with you folks, my heart was with you. I look forward to additional impressions and insights as they emerge.

    • Horst, I knew there were many in your position who wanted to hear what developed out there. I felt a responsibility to share, and was fortunate in that I had the time this morning. I hope others will, also.

  6. Scott… it was awesome to meet you this weekend.

    Thanks for sharing Jules’ comment. I agree completely with her. This is a wake up call. We need to reach for this power. We should have the power to heal. We need to qualify.

    • And you, Gary – and your lovely wife. She has such a gentle spirit about her. Concerning Jules’ comment – we all have so much to learn. But learn it we must, if we are to become powerful servants to Him. That said, He’s telling me now to slow down because I do not pay enough attention to the poor and needy. In other words, all the gifts and fruits mean nothing if we do not comfort the poor and needy…the fatherless and the widows. The lessons just keep coming. Not surprises – this is all in the scriptures, just emphasized again in light of new context. In other words, don’t forget the basics. 🙂

  7. […] I’ve seen a few reports of the retreat in various Facebook groups, only one offered impressions of the opening session. I would like to share a few thoughts about what took place that night. As I write this first part […]

  8. Just have to say that the lady died because she had medical issues that caused her death. You can’t heal people with wishful thinking always, yes there is the placebo effect but that has nothing to do with an imaginary twisted god’s will. Thinking that your lack of faith stop that woman from living is a mental disturbance in your own thinking, it is not a sin, but it is delusional thinking and I can see some people feeling personally responsible for her death with this type thinking. If you are feeling that your “lack of faith” stop that woman from being healed then please go to a therapist that can deprogram you from this sick thinking. You have nothing to do with this woman’s death. Your delusional thoughts are only adding more misery to your life and those who think like you. Seek professional help, you do not have to suffer through life because of your delusional thinking. Religious books and religious people with poison your minds with imaginary threats of consequences that will fill you with fear and discouragement because you will never be good enough base on the terrible lies they promote. Faith healing is the placebo effect in action. The Mormon god is a myth, there is not some supernatural man that is screwing with people and seeing if people will just believe strong enough before he will grant their wishes.

    Another thing, that wonderful feeling you had while at the retreat is not the spirit. When people that think in similar ways get together and share things they feel strongly about or enjoy indulging in, the hormone oxytocin is produced and feelings that are describe as the “fruits of the spirit” are experienced.

    • Dogoodbegood, Thanks for taking the time to read what I wrote. Yes, indeed, there was an outpouring of the hormone oxytocin, and it made us all very happy. We chose to indulge that outpouring, the revel in it, and it was a beautiful experience. I use the word beautiful, which is not very scientific, because it is the only way I know to describe what I felt. Heck, I could get addicted to this stuff! Oh, wait – I am! I actually crave it! However the Lord (or my body or whatever explanation you choose to assign to it) accomplishes this, I accept it, I cherish it, I thank Him for it, and I will continue to strive – by doing good and being good – to increase the frequency and intensity of its occurrence until I overdose and raise the vibrations of my existence right out of this existence into one that transcends. Tomato, tomato – it is the same – and it is, to use your own name – “good”.

  9. Thank you for these wonderful words for those of us who could not be there. I thought about it later, that always, if I want something bad enough then it just comes. I heard Garth and Melony Turley were there, some of my greatest friends that I have not seen.

    We made great sacrifice to move to Colorado, and got brought back here to Idaho, for reasons that seem to be real, especially our little group here. I saw the pictures and wondered again what happened, that we are not living in Zion. But we are living in the place qualifying beforehand.

    I wish I could have been there with you all! Gatherings are my thing, it is what I came here to do.

    I believe we will have a gathering next year, for those that for all types of reasons could not go, and all those who had a taste of what it will be like if we all keep moving and feeling this love, that could not be feigned nor ignored.

    I did not know why we did not go when we had planned since the announcement we would of course be there. While here, our friends needed a blessing that could not have happened had we gone.

    Let Zion move forward, let those who feel this Zion spirit move it forward as we all get ready for that feeling that will be there all the time, if we can become pure and love with the sort of love that was manifest there, and here welcoming you all home.

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