Today important visitors arrived in Bamako. Brother Norbert Ounleu from Accra and Brother Matt Heiss from Salt Lake City have come to gather oral histories from our Pioneer members here in Mali. They will be here today (Friday) through Monday to document the history of the church here and its beginnings. We have a full schedule of appointments prepared for them. This is an exciting time for our members here. Their stories and experiences matter and their faith will bless others for generations to come.
I think about these first generation members and the significance of their conversions. My father was the first and only member of his family to accept the restored gospel. Because of him, my life and the lives of my children have been blessed.
Because of our first members here, blessings will flow through generations and through this country.
“It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead. It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world, but out of whose dreams and early plans, so well nurtured, has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiaries. Their tremendous example can become a compelling motivation for us all, for each of us is a pioneer in his own life, often in his own family, and many of us pioneer daily in trying to establish a gospel foothold in distant parts of the world.”
–President Gordon B. Hinckley
Here is the first verse of one of my favorite pioneer hymns:
They, the Builders of the Nation
Hymns, They, the Builders of the Nation, no. 36
1. They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Stepping-stones for generations
Were their deeds of ev’ry day.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier,
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!
Text: Ida R. Alldredge, 1892-1943. © 1948 IRI, Music: Alfred M. Durham, 1872-1957. © 1948 IRI