Saturday, August 17, 2013

Miracles of Temple Hill in Pacheco, Chihuahua, Mexico - Alexnder Findlay Macdonald

Throughout our childhoods, our family (Lynden and LaRee Lunt Bluth) and Uncle Chato's family went to Pacheco every summer. The 50 miles of road were so rough that our tires had blow-outs - - and the one-way road was so narrow that we had to back-up if any other vehicle was on the rocky road.  It seemed like our vehicles hung over the edges of cliffs!  Our mothers, the Lunt girls, had been raised in Pacheco, and we stayed in the original adobe home of their childhood.  We loved picking Tiger Lillies and White Star flowers, playing in the creek, swimming in Box Canyon, riding horses, and playing on Temple Hill - a pine forest hill with steep ledges that overlooked the Pacheco River down below.  There was an "altar/memorial" built of stone and concrete in the forest on top of the hill, which used to have a plaque on it, but which was missing.

I didn't know in those years how sacred that spot was, nor how much had been sacrificed by my great grandfather, Alexander Findlay Macdonald (great pioneer and explorer) and others as they obediently helped to find a place of refuge for the thousands of saints who would move away from persecution to live in the Mormon Mexican Colonies.  Alexander Findlay Macdonald was a Stake President and referred to as President Macdonald in journals from that time.

From LDS Church records:  "January 15, 1885 John Campbell and Alexander F. Macdonald left Christopher Layton at Corralitos and they rode up the San Diego Trail and on westward about 15 miles to the Corrales Basin - - arriving about noon on the 3rd day (Jan 18, 1885).  They intended to go on over the range into Sonora, Mexico.  Upon arriving they prepared a meal under a cedar tree, among the willows, on the east side of the creek.  After dinner President Macdonald (43 years old) lay down in the shade of the cedar tree and went to sleep, while John Campbell went scouting around the valley.  Upon Campbell's return President Macdonald said, "This is the place...we have gone far enough.  We will return to Corralitos." 

Grandma Lucy Macdonald Bluth said that her father had told the family that he had a dream and in vision had seen a small Temple on that hill.  He knew that from that point the light of the gospel would be taken throughout Mexico.  M.F. Trejo, a Mexican national and friend of AF Macdonald, was the man who translated the Book of Mormon into Spanish - and the promise of the Book of Mormon being taken to the Lamanites flourished - and continues going strong throughout our generations.

From LDS Church records:  "Saturday, January 18, 1885 a party was organized with Francis M. Lyman as president of the company, Apostle Teasdale as Captain and Recorder - and GC Richardson captain of the guard.  Isaac Turley was called as Comissary, Alonso Farnsworth and Edmond Richardson called as Cooks, MM Sanders and Israel Call as Packers - and AF Macdonald and Jesse N. Smith as Committee.  Passing the Piedras Verdes river they camped at Cave Valley, July 23rd.  At noon the next day we killed three deer in the Corrales Basin and camped on the bluff of the west side of the valley where we hoisted the American Flag at half-mast in honor of the 24th of July (Pioneer Day).  Ten men and eighteen animals were in the party."

"Ten years later at Casas Grandes Apostle Francis M. Lyman met AL Farnsworth and told him to go and locate the ground where he, Lyman, had hoisted the Flag, and to mark the tree that the Flag was on and write the names of the ten men on it - - asking people to perceive it.  I did this."  (AL Farnsworth Salt Lake record)  Apostle Lyman asked Edward Stevenson, one of the seven Presidents of the Seventy, to dedicate the ground at that spot and to preserve a record of it.  The two men located the spot and did as they were assigned. 

Over the years the tree holding the wooden sign burned down and the Aaronic Priesthood of the Pacheco Ward built the altar of stone and concrete.  Hilven Cluff said:  "When I was in the Aaronic Priesthood, our Bishop, Marion Wilson, told us to gather all of the bronze we could find around the old sawmill cites.  We did so.  Then Bishop Wilson, a blacksmith, melted down the bronze and made a bronze plaque with the names on it.  We all went up on Temple Hill and built a monument out of rock and cement and bolted the plaque on it."

November 5, 1892 Apostle Teasdale said to the Pacheco saints:  "Pay your tithes and love your neighbor as yourself.  Put yourselves in a position to win God's favor, and I see no reason why we cannot have a Temple in Pacheco.  (Salt Lake Record)

My grandfather, Clarence Lunt, the Bishop of the Pacheco Ward prophesied:  "The time will come when we will build a Temple here in Pacheco, when thousands of missionaries will be wanted."  In a dream he had seen people with backpacks coming to a Temple on Pacheco's Temple Hill.

MIRACLE TODAY!  In 2012 the Mexican government built a beautiful highway to connect Chihuahua and Sonora, and it replaces the rough, road of boulders that we struggled to drive over in order to arrive in Pacheco.  The Lord works in mysterious ways - His miracles to perform!   The road goes right past the cemetary where the my Lunt pioneer ancestors were buried, and through Pacheco town, past the LDS Church.  In my lifetime I have seen so many miracles - temples that dot the earth - and as I drive to the Mesa Temple each week to serve there, I pass the Gilbert Temple which is soon to be completed.  We are preparing for our Savior's return!  I am so grateful for faithful ancestors whom the Lord trusted enough to give in vision His mighty works which would come in a future date!  And ... we, their offspring, get to see the Lord's hand working those mighty miracles!  Jacque Bluth Gurney

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