A few weeks back, our lesson in Priesthood meeting was how to prune peach trees, which may seem like a strange thing to teach a group of High Priests and Elders. But our stake has this peach orchard which produces some 200,000 to 300,000 lbs. of peaches every year, and the harvest depends on how we prune the trees in the spring, and then how we thin the peaches in the summer. The better job we do, the bigger the yield, and that means more needy families can have the best in canned peaches. All of this effort, all of it, is designed to help others. The peaches are trucked to the cannery, downtown Ogden, and volunteers clean, pit, and can the fruit, and there it waits to be taken home and enjoyed. Our tithing and fast offerings and volunteer service make this impressive enterprise work.
Last year I helped at the cannery with canning beef stew. I noticed the potatoes being washed and cut came from boxes labeled "Idaho Falls Welfare Farm," and it took me back to my boyhood. We Aaronic Priesthood boys would go work on the Church Farm picking potatoes and, if we were big enough, "bucking" them onto the trucks and trailers to be hauled to the "spud" cellar. Bucking meant lifting a full sack, some 75-80 lbs, onto a truck bed, a hard and tiring job. I remember my father taking a full sack in each hand and lifting both of them onto the bed with one swing. Big, strong man, that Rex Price.
Anyway, seeing those boxes of "spuds" at the cannery showed me where those potatoes probably ended up that I picked when a boy. I saw them go into the cellar, but I didn't know what happened to them after that. Now, 50 years later, I know. I have seen the end of the line. And all of these operations, farms and canneries and volunteers by the hundreds, are all designed to help the needy. This is how Christ's Church should operate, and so it does. Do you remember those raspberries we picked in Madison? I wonder what happened to them? Jams and Jellies I guess. I was very proud of you for helping with that harvest, and I hope your children will have the opportunity to work on Church welfare projects. And you, too, of course.
I thought of the day we helped Michael and Michelle move into their new home. That was hard work, and again, I was very proud that you showed up to help and that you stuck with it until it was done. That was a fine day of unselfish service. You are a great bunch of kids.
I think of Isaac and Sara and the great work they are doing to get their young people to EFY this summer. It's a big, complicated project, but one that will surely produce, and be a wonderful blessing in the lives of those inner city kids, who have a tough time in life, and a tough time remaining true to the faith. Thanks, you two, for your unselfish dedication to the gospel of Christ. Surely, the Lord loves you for this.
I see Barbara hard at work searching out her ancestors and making sure the temple work is done for them. When we go to the Temple, which we try to do weekly, she always has a name for me to take. It is an example of true service, one I stand in awe of.
I'm sure each of you does service for the Lord whenever you can. I think Matt's work is service of the highest order, taking care of the sick, and in prison no less. Of course you Moms do such great things for your families. And you Dads too. Anyway, I'm proud to be associated with you, and with this great Church we belong to. Just thought you ought to know.