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.
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!