To the Messegee children

Dear Ammon, Luke, Elaine, and Henry,

Grammy and I were very sad to learn last night from your Uncle Curtis that you moved from Albuquerque to Eureka, California a few days ago. We knew the time was coming, but didn’t know exactly when. We really wanted to say goodbye to you.

We miss you and love you very much, and hope to see you again someday. We have been sad since February when we took you to the zoo. We didn’t know that was the last time we would ever see you.

Grammy is very sorry that she criticized your mom for teaching you about witchcraft. Grammy had some very bad experiences with witches when she was very young which makes her especially sensitive to the subject.

Nevertheless, she’s sorry she criticized your mom. She apologized to her, but it didn’t do any good. I guess your mom is too angry. I hope she doesn’t stay that way. Grammy was so sad today that she was crying, and that makes me sad.

We know that your mom and dad try to do their best to raise you and to protect you from evil influences. I know they want you to be happy and successful. We want that as well.

I don’t know everything about your parents’ lives, but I want to mention a few things I do know.

They were married in the Seattle Temple. Here’s a photo of the Temple:

Seattle Temple Sunset (Front)

The Temple is a very special place, in fact it’s like no other place on earth. People who get married in the Temple are married forever, not just until “death do us part”. And their children can also be with them forever.

I saw a photo taken of your parents outside the Temple shortly after they were married. They looked very happy. They had every reason to look forward to their life together because they were starting out the right way.

In the Temple, we also make sacred covenants with Heavenly Father which means we promise to obey His commandments. This includes being faithful to our husband or wife, taking care of our bodies, loving our neighbors, and devoting our time and talents to the church.

Your mom and dad really wanted you children to be as happy as possible and they knew that raising you in the church gave you the best opportunity. The gospel helps to prepare you for anything that might happen in your life.

Your parents felt so strongly about the importance of the gospel that they named Ammon after a prophet and hero in the Book of Mormon. Elaine was named after Elaine Dalton, a leader of Young Women in the church, and I believe that Henry was named after Henry B. Eyring, an Apostle in the church. Luke is the only child not named after a church leader, although Luke is a well-known Apostle from the time of Christ.

Through the gospel, we know that we all have a loving Heavenly Father. We also know that each of us has a divine purpose for being here on earth. We understand that every experience we have — no matter how difficult — is for our good. This knowledge helps us to get through the trials of life. It gives us hope and strength that most people don’t have.

I didn’t know your mom and dad when they were married, but when I met them in 2010, I was very impressed with their faithfulness and diligence in raising you children in the gospel. I am embarrassed to admit that they were doing a better job than I did with my children.

I heard your father tell of a life-changing experience he had while on Mount Ranier. He found himself facing possible death because of a severe storm on the mountain. He feared he would never make it down alive.

At that point, he said a prayer and made a deal with Heavenly Father. He vowed that if he got off the mountain alive he would repay the debt by turning his life around. He promised to more faithful in obeying the commandments of God and in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don’t know how he was able to get off the mountain safely, but he did, and immediately began to follow through on his promise. I don’t think it was long after that that he was blessed to meet your mom.

I also have a memory of your father sitting at the dinner table in your small apartment in Cleveland, Ohio, and bearing powerful testimony to Ammon and Luke, telling them that he knew the church was true, and wanting them to know it as well.

I was equally impressed with your mother as I witnessed her reading verses from the Book of Mormon with you every night before bed. She was also very diligent about holding a special Family Night with you every week, as directed by church leaders.

Sadly, things have changed. Your parents have departed from the path they were once on. Nevertheless, they are still trying to be good parents. They love you and want you to be happy and successful. That’s what we want for you as well.

Love and honor your parents. Treat your mother and father with kindness and respect even though they are imperfect. They’re doing the best they can.

Resist anger and pride. It never leads to anything good. Resist the enticing things of this world. They provide only temporary comfort. Try, instead, to obey the commandments of God. They are a guide for you, providing boundaries and protection.

I want to share my testimony with you. I was raised in another church by very loving parents, but had doubts about some of the things I was taught. When I was 24 years old I discovered The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and found answers to my questions. The day of my baptism, at age 27, was one of the happiest days of my life, and I’ve never looked back. I have been a faithful and happy member ever since. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been a rock in my life, providing constant guidance and protection from the evil all around us.

I will end by simply repeating that we love you and miss you very much, and pray that we will see you again.

At Rachael's wedding-960x540All our love,
Grammy and Papa John

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