Monday, August 10, 2009

The Daily Item: "Person of the Year" Award

Darline Burke IS the Daily Item: "Person of the Year"

Let me tell you why!

Darline is an Angel. Mathematically: Darline = Angel.

This woman sent in papers from her home in Boise to serve a mission at the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City and what she got back instead was a mission call to Ireland!! Currently she is there (as in, right this very second) spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Irish. Cool huh?!

But that's not why she is Person of the Year on the Daily Item.

Here's why:

A couple of months ago I received a question on Facebook (It's actually good for something!!) from this Darline Burke. The question asked me if I was related to William E. Hope, who was the son of James Hope, who was the son of Stephen Hope.

I answered that I was indeed related to William Edwin Hope and that he was my great-great Grandfather. She responded that William Edwin Hope was also her great-great Grandfather. As it turns out William E. Hope had 12 children. Of the 12 children, George Henry was my Grandfather and Alice Grace was Darline's Grandmother.

I was fascinated to make such a connection, because up until this point in time I had never ever known an active member of the church older than me in my ancestry.

I had many questions for Darline about my ancestors and she patiently answered each one of them. First and foremost I wanted to know if I had any ancestors that crossed the plains from Nauvoo to Salt Lake.

Her reply was, "DID WE HAVE ANY ANCESTORS THAT CROSSED THE PLAINS!!??? ARE YOU KIDDING??" She then reeled off myriads of families (Hope ancestors) that had come across the plains with the rest of the Saints.

This had come as a total sunrise to me because I had been baptized as a convert into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints not knowing that even my Father or Mother (divorced) had been members. I knew nothing to speak of about my heritage outside where my Grandfather settled in Salem Idaho.

Obviously I was delighted.

For the next several days I would ask her questions about my heritage and she would answer and send me family histories and biographies of my relatives. As it turns out I am steeped with LDS ancestry and heritage.

A couple of LDS highlights of the Hope Ancestory:

  • Aaron Cheney and Wife Mehitable Wells: Were taught the gospel by Joseph Smith Jr and Orson Pratt. They joined the church in 1831.
  • Zachariah and Eliza Hardy were taught the gospel by William Hyde in Siersmont, Maine. Upon their arrival in Nauvoo they formed a strong bond with the Prophet Joseph Smith; Zachariah was chosen as one of the Prophet's bodyguards. Zachariah was one of the first men to reach the Prophet outside the Carthage Jail window after he had been shot and killed.
  • Zachariah Hardy died after three days of running a ferry across the Mississippi in horribly cold weather (because no one else was "dependable") for the Saints in February of 1846. His wife Eliza had 6 children with a newborn of only 5 days. She was invited by Emma Smith to return and live with her in Nauvoo. Once better, Emma Smith said that if she would cancel her trip west with the rest of the Saints she could share her home and all she possessed. Eliza declined and went west the Captain Day Company to Salt Lake.

I could go on and on and I still have more to read. Here's the amazing thing about all of this: I have felt at times in my life to have been protected. I have known that God lives and knew me from a very young age. There have been times when I could feel unseen angels/people cheering for me as I joined the church and struggled to live the gospel at a younger age. I knew support was there but I did not know who these people were. I just called them: Angels.

Now I know who they are.

Knowing this has given me a strength I've never known. I am so grateful to know my LDS heritage. I am so grateful for my dear cousin Darline.

I would have never known any of this without, Darline Burke, who is: a sweet woman who followed a prompting of the spirit to ask me a question through facebook. A person I have never met personally.

SHE is my Daily Item: "Person of the Year!"

Let's give her a big Daily Item round of applause!


Jeremy said...

That is a fantastic story. She certainly deserves this prestigious award.

Krysten & David said...

Wow that is so so cool!

Allison said...

I have tears in my eyes right now reading this post . . . hooray for Darline!!! 1 Nephi 1:20 is all I can think about reading this post!!! You are the best!!

DaNae (the "baby" daughter) said...

What a great story! It is wonderful to read, and even better to know the "angel" of the year. She is my Mom! Most of us think of our mothers as angels any how, but I just wanted to post a comment that she IS an amazing person. She has instilled in her children the love of our kindred dead. Because of her, we "know" many of our ancestors. We know them by name, by picture when possible, and we know the stories. We feel a kinship to these "unseen" angels. I know that they are there with us. Some are still waiting to be discovered, and I "hope" to get to be a part of that amazing journey. Well chosen cousin! Thank you for making her days! DaNae Burke Beebe

Gayla said...

My mom has been doing Family History since before I can remember. If ANYONE has the same last name as ANY of our ancestors, she'll ask what they know about their family name. Welcome to the family!

wendy said...

It's a small world after all!!

Janell said...

Of course I have to add my own comment about my Mom!! I am her third daughter, second to my twin sister, Janyce, who didn't make it on this earth very long.
Mom loves family history, and geneology as long as I can remember and has tried to pass that on to us kids. I marvel at how much she has been able to do, and how she reaches out to others! I have even found a relative here in Mountain Home, who is a cousin to me on the Cheney side. She found the connection, not me. She is a member of Daughters of Utah Pioneers here. I love my ancestors on each side of our families, and am so very proud to be a part of each family. I look so forward to meeting each of my ancestors one day!! And I totally agree with you, she is definitely an ANGEL!!

Brent Hope said...

DaNae, Gayla and Janell,

Thank you for posting on my blog. I do in fact think your Mother is an Angel! I live in Sun Valley/Hailey with my wife Ruth and 4 children. I would invite any of you along with your families to come and visit us. You are welcome to stay with us (and we'll even feed you!). We belong to the Hailey 2nd Ward.

Obviously if you guys ever have a family reunion we would happily come if invited!

Thanks again!

Brent Hope said...

That offer applies to: Wendy, Jeremy, Allison and Krysten's families too!!

Allison said...

Seriously??? We can come stay with you AND you'll feed us?!?!?!? Hot dog . . . we'll be over as quick as we can walk across the street! LOL

Seriously though, I hope these fine members of your new found family do come visit!!!

Sonja said...

holy schmoly.

What an incredible thing to happen on Facebook! Yay Darline! any Hooray for genealogy!