This morning, my husband and his family gathered in the Logan Tabernacle for Stake Conference and got to be present as my father-in-law was called, sustained, and set apart as the Stake Patriarch. I was so sad to not be able to be there and feel of that amazing Spirit that must have been present in the entire building. But sometimes other family members' needs take precedence (like the four little ones in my house who didn't have any place to stay because all of their friends are out of town for Spring Break.) The five of us remaining in Texas sent our love and support with the Scout Master this time.
My father-in-law is a great man. He would never tell anyone that, and probably doesn't even think it. But he is. I have known him since I was 16 years old, and he has always been an example of kindness and humility. He is unconditional and forgiving. He is patient and compassionate. I can think of no better person to serve as the Stake Patriarch than Bruce Thunell. I adore this man. He has given me father's blessings in times of stress and turmoil. He has set me apart in callings as my Bishop. He has assisted in giving each one of my children blessings of healing when they have been ill. I'm grateful that we have all had the opportunity to feel those loving hands upon our heads. And how blessed the members of the Mendon Stake will be to now have that same opportunity! I hope they know what an amazing vessel the Lord has chosen to speak for Him.
One of the greatest things about this new calling is that each of the grandchildren will now have the opportunity to receive their patriarchal blessings from their grandfather. A few of them are old enough that they have already received theirs, but there are many more younger ones who haven't...and great grandchildren who haven't even been born yet. What an overwhelming thing to think that by the time they get here and are ready for their blessings, Patriarch Thunell will have already given hundreds of them. He will be seasoned and wise beyond what any of us can imagine.
I am so grateful to know this man and to be able to occasionally fly in his radar. He is one of the greatest people I have ever met. He has always been a wonderful patriarch in his own family and we now get to share him with the entire Stake. We all wish him the greatest joys and blessings as he serves in his new capacity as Patriarch of the Mendon Stake.