Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Conversion Story of Roger A. Osborne


Last night, during FHE, we learned about the conversion story of my Grandfather Roger A. Osborne.  My grandfather married my grandmother the year that I was born.  It was his second marriage as both he and my grandmother had lost their spouses previously to disease.  Many members of our stake were invested in getting these two great people together, and they became quite the beloved couple, doing many good deeds in our family, in the community, in the church, and in my life, since they lived just down the street from us growing up. 

Grandpa kept meticulous notes of many things in his journal, from gifts he received to how much gas mileage he got at fill-ups, he loved to keep lists!  Which is how I discovered his one-page conversion story in a red binder of typed up journal pages.

In 1952, missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knocked on his door.  Roger and his wife Laverne began meeting with the missionaries that same evening.  The fact that young men would give up two years of their lives to go out and tell people about their church, impressed him that their message must be a special one, so he continued to meet with them.

He writes, "At this particular time, I worked for Cook Coffee Company as an accountant, and I was the one that figured out the blends--from what country each blend was ordered from, figured out the shrinkage (what loss went up the chimney during the roasting) and cost of each blend.  Me, the one the Lord selected to join His church.

"My wife was ready to be baptized long before me, but would not join the church without me.  I think I had a testimony of the truthfulness of the message but didn't want to quit smoking and having a bottle of beer now and then.  Every morning and at every break, I had a cup of coffee at work, because it was the thing that everyone did.

"The missionaries continued to meet with us, and one day I called up my mate and said: 'Who am I kidding?  I know it is true.  I'm ready to be baptized.'  Of course she was delighted and informed the Elders, who were also delighted.  The next morning, I went to work and low and behold, there in the lunch room was a milk machine.  Out of the clear blue.  Heavenly Father was making it easy for me."

He goes on to tell about how they had been attending the large and established Old Stone Church on Public Square in Cleveland, which had two ministers and multiple sessions each Sunday with large congregations in attendance...only to join the small Euclid branch of the church.  The Euclid Branch had no chapel, but met in a store front, where the missionaries were living.  At their first meeting, there were the four members of his family, a woman and her two children, and the two missionaries who blessed and passed the sacrament and gave the talks! 

There was no place in Cleveland to be baptized.  So when the time came, they drove to a town called New Philadelphia, Ohio, where the church had purchased a house to meet in, with a baptismal font in the basement.

Soon, Roger became the President of that small branch and through work and fellowship, their church family grew to 35.  They were close-knit and loved each other.  They held lots of fund raising projects and finally raised enough money to purchase property in Lakewood, Ohio to build a chapel (9509 Lake Road).  At that time, wards had to come up with 30% for a building, and the church furnished the other 70%.

Everyone worked on the chapel.  A work missionary from the west taught them how to cut stone, do plumbing, hammer nails, do electrical work, and what ever else was needed.  The building was made of cut stone: three floors-worth!  In less than a year the building was completed, and President David O. McKay came to dedicate the chapel.  They did this all with just 40 members.

I loved reading this gem in my Grandpa's journal.  It is the tiniest speck of the great body of work that is the testimony and life of a great man, but it's really representative of him as well.  The milk story is so precious.  As I told my children this story, we pointed out that Grandpa did not wait for a sign to decide to be baptized.  He decided first to act on his faith, and then the Lord showed him--with a milk machine--that he approved.

He is a great example of true faith and goodness, and the Lord used this good humble servant throughout his life to build up the church.


Here are some other things we did during our lesson:

As an attention-getter, I printed off a photo of my grandpa and cut it into puzzle pieces.  I wrote something about grandpa on the back of each piece, and as the kids pulled the pieces out of a bag, they read aloud an interesting fact about the person we were going to learn about. (He flew airplanes in WWII.  He always asked for a "big" piece of pie. He gave great hugs.)  They guessed who it was from the clues.


After we learned about Grandpa's milk machine miracle, I asked the children to repeat back to me in their own words, the events of Grandpa's (Bon Papa's) conversion story. 

After they were able to tell me two things that we had learned, I gave them each a penny, and we went to our pretend "milk machine" (the refrigerator) and "bought" a small bottle of milk for each of us...just like Grandpa might have done that day!  (I love milk!)


We then took a few minutes to write what we had learned in our journals, before eating our lemon merengue pie (Grandpa's favorite!)

We have learned that, 'The more connected we feel to our righteous forefathers, the more likely we are to make wise and righteous choices." During General Conference, Elder Walker also said, "It would be a wonderful thing if every Latter-day Saint knew the conversion stories of their forefathers." 

Hopefully, we will all take time to discover and teach these stories to our children, to help strengthen them and provide them with positive examples of faith to look to on the road ahead.




{I am participating in an Easter/Family History Challenge.
Check out the #MyForeverFamily page for ways you too can participate!}

11 comments:

  1. Jocelyn, I really loved this. Your Grandpa was one of my favorite bishops and an early inspiration to me of how a priesthood holder should live and how he should care for people. After all these years, the "Great" Lorain Ward holds many awesome memories for me. It was perfect lunch break reading to learn about him. I'd love to hear more about him in future posts. Thank you!

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    1. Yes, the Great Lorain Ward as he said, and it wasn't just a label, he made it so. He helped us to rise up to the name, for sure. I remember him making tshirts for people during a particular challenge that said, "I went the extra mile" or something like that. He was just a humble, wonderful man. Love him! Thanks for your comment!

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  2. This is so wonderful! You made a great lesson fun for family members of all ages. I am going to try to duplicate this idea with our family home evening.

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    1. Wonderful!! Let me know how it goes! I'd love to see what you do with your family!

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  3. Love that it's a stepfather that you are talking about...families come in many different structures. one of my step ggrandfathers was in the Mormon Battalion!

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    1. Steve and I are both descended from Mormon Battalion folks. And step was never a word we used, because to us there just was no distinction!! But yes, it was great to have a Grandfather step in and be so important in my life! What a blessing he is!

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  4. Jocelyn--I loved reading your post about Roger Osborne. I grew up in the Cleveland area and he, Laverne and daughters Candee and Paula were in my ward. I am the same age as Candee, so we went to Mutual together. I remember what a distinguished, handsome man he was and how he was always so kind. Thank you for giving me a moment to walk down memory lane. He was a great man.

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    1. Thank you, Deb! Glad to hear from someone who also knew my Grandfather! Great, wonderful man!!

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  5. I loved the conversion story. I love family histories. I have a blog for my grandchildren that I started some time ago. One of the things that I am planning to do is share ancestor stories. Sharing conversion stories will of course, be in some of the histories. I loved Elder Walker's message. Blessings for this one!

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  6. You really put my FHE lessons to shame! :) This is wonderful.

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    1. Oh...my bad...I must've left out the part about how I had to scold everyone like 10 times for being disruptive during the lesson...haha!! Really my grandpa wrote this lesson with his journal entry!

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