Monday, September 22, 2014

Amazing what you find when you are cleaning!

These are my Great-Great-Great Grandparents Lars Mikkelson Rokne and Martha Bardsdatter Osgjerd Rokne.  Lars lived from 1795 - 1852 and Martha lived 1801-1857.  They lived in the Voss area of Norway.  In 1850 they immigrated to the United States with their 6 children.  In the family record book that I discovered today, I was surprised to learn that they settled in Chicago when they arrived in the United States.  However, as it was noted in the personal journal of Lars, they discovered that there was a serious Cholera epidemic in Chicago when they arrived.  So they decided to go to the home of a cousin who lived in Woodstock, Illinois!  During the time they lived in Woodstock, Lars worked as a Teacher in the Norwegian school and as a Pastor's assistant in the Norwegian Church.  According to this family record book, he was most likely the worship leader since his journal is filled with hymns.   They actually lived in this area for more than 2 years, until the death of Lars. (I never realized that I most likely have a relative buried somewhere near Woodstock - very close to where I live) At that point, Martha and some of her children, relocated to a community in Iowa, very near the border of Minnesota and Iowa.  She died about 5 years later and is buried in a local cemetery in Big Canoe, Iowa which is near Decorah.

For today, I'm stopping at that.  Let me just say, somehow I missed that my ancestors came to settle in the Chicago area when they came from Norway.  I think that part of the reason that I never really knew this story, is because this line of my family tree is my Mom's mother's family.  And you might recall that my maternal grandmother died when my mom was only two years old.  So she wasn't around to share these stories.  My mom often spoke about how sad it was that she really never got to know any of her relatives on her mom's side.  And I know that she didn't really know the story I just shared.

I was not really surprised to find this today.  In prayer I have been hearing quite a bit about all the seeds that have been sown into me through my past generations.  I love that today I discovered that my 3 times great grandpa was a church worker.  And more than that, he was a worshiper.  It is really something to consider all of the prayers that he might have prayed for his children and grandchildren.  And possibly even beyond that.  It is giving me the added push to begin today, sowing prayers into my future generations.

At a great meeting last night, I was hearing that I needed prayer for my eyesight.  Now I actually have an appointment on Wednesday for my yearly eye exam.  And I confess that I have been having much more trouble reading lately than I should (if my bifocal contacts were actually the correct strength).  I felt that the "eyesight" that I was hearing about might have actually been my SPIRITUAL eyes.  My discovery today just confirms that thought.  The Holy Spirit led me to this book and information today.  I am seeing more clearly the impact of the past on ME and the impact that I can have on the future generations in my family.  This is feeling like a gift today.  I love that I feel a connection to these long distant people, and I know that I will spend some time looking around Woodstock the next time I pass through there.  And there is more to this story, and additional family ties to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Remembering my last post, I am encouraging you all to stop and take a look at your past generations.  Consider that relative who might have been sowing those important spiritual seeds into your life.  Even if you can't now see anything from your ancestors, begin today sowing into the future. And ask the Holy Spirit to increase your spiritual eyesight.  You just might be surprised at what you find!

Jesus, thank you for even more revelation about my family.  Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me increased perspective on the seeds that have been sown into my generations.  Give us all a nudge to consider those from our past who contributed to our spiritual growth.  Thank you for people who take the time to preserve family history for future generations through books and journals.  Amen

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