A few years before Amos got cancer, he went on a trek with our church group. It was a special experience for him and I just got a little more info about why. An old friend sent this letter today and it had me in tears. She was assigned to be a “ma” on the trek. Her husband was supposed to be a ”pa” but had to leave the trek early because of work so they carried on in their “trek family” as if he had died.

Hi Hillary,

    I hope everything goes well with your move and that you find peace and joy in your new adventure!

And speaking of adventure…..This story popped into my head and I thought I’d share it with you.  Feel free to pass it on to your kids.

    I have many fond memories of the time when you and Amos and your kids lived here. In 2010 my husband and I were privileged to be a “ma and pa” on the youth pioneer trek for our stake.  Amos was along on the trek, as the young mens president at the time. Not assigned to a specific family…but as “Uncle” Amos, there to observe and help and teach.

    I was “widowed” on the trek. It is the only time that I know of that the stake agreed to let a single sister be a Ma, without a Pa. It was meant to be. 

    Sometime during the first day we were alone without our Pa, I kept noticing that 2 of our boys kept disappearing.  I think they were running off to hang out and play with their friends.  They had been on a Trek before….so I think they were kind of bored and just in a playing around mood.  “Been there, done that” mentality, and not taking it very seriously.  Which made it really hard on the rest of us in our little family because those two were the strongest and oldest.  A couple of times “uncle” Amos came by to check on us…he saw us struggling and he helped us so much!  But then he said “Where are your two oldest boys?” I said, “I have no idea, they keep disappearing. Maybe playing around with their friends from other wards?”  Well, Amos took off in search of the missing persons and found them playing around somewhere.  

    To this day, I have no idea what he said to them, or how he motivated them and changed their focus and their actions in such a profound way.  I wish I had been a bug on a tree to witness the fatherly speech/lesson he taught those two boys in the wilderness.  I’m sure it would be epic and quotable to this day.  Maybe because you know him and his personality and soul….you might have an idea of what he said to them and taught them.  But those two boys changed completely, and came enthusiastically and apologetically back to me and NEVER LEFT MY SIDE for the next 2 days!! I’m not exaggerating.  Every 5 minutes one or both of them would ask me if I was okay, if I needed anything (a snack, water, a rest) They would ask if I just wanted to walk along and not push or pull….because they could do it! They asked me if I wanted to ride in the cart, or if we should stop by the side of the trail and rest. Helped set up and break down camp. Never.Left.My.Side.

    It changed everything for me, our little family, and I think them too.  New, important lessons were learned about priesthood responsibility and care and nurture, and being observant of the needs of others.

    Here is an excerpt from my talk after the trek: This second day was REALLY HARD and seemed like it was uphill all day long. Thank goodness for our “Uncle Amos” who just seemed to appear every time we needed some extra help.  From this I learned that I should always be looking for chances to BE an “uncle Amos” to someone else along the way.

    “Uncle” Amos was a teacher and leader who magnified his calling and taught life lessons never to be forgotten. One interesting thing I noticed is that by “chance” or NOT, our “family” had the only 2 kids in our ward who had lost their own Fathers to death. I’m sure lessons were learned by these kids quietly in their own hearts.  

   I’m sure he is still watching over and teaching your kids from the other side. And I’m STILL looking for ways to be Christlike and be an “Uncle Amos” to others I come across who are in need of support. 

Love you and your family!!