Music that has impacted my life
Robin hood to Marya and my song
Hello by Lionel Richie
Even those I don’t like now but did once.
Music that has impacted my life
Robin hood to Marya and my song
Hello by Lionel Richie
Even those I don’t like now but did once.
EDUCATION (Formal and Informal) SUMMARY
Oakwood Elementary 1975 -1981
Jefferson Middle School 1981 – 1984
Preston High School 1984 -1988
Brigham Young University 1988 – 1989 and 1989 – 1990
Lift Truck Driver Certification Course
Commercial Driver’s License Multilevel Test (knowledge and skill)
Toastmasters 2016 – Past 50 years of age
John Maxwell Certification 2018
U.H.K. (University of Hard Knocks…aka life.) 1969 to Death
Formal schooling is but a small portion of what life has to teach. Regardless if a person has chosen a path of a great deal of education, or a path of learning by experience, this truth is constant: True learning is achieved when a person takes responsibility for their own learning, and feeds learning by curiosity, study, and application.
WORK SUMMARY AND RESUME
CHAPTER 10 LIVING LOCATIONS SUMMARY
Birth to age 18 1969 to 1988
687 North 8th West
Preston, Idaho 83263
Age 18 to 19 1988 to 1989
Provo, Utah. Brigham Young University, on campus Hinckley Dorm
Pleasant Grove, Utah. Lived with my Aunt DeVonna Hansen before serving a full-time religious mission.
Age 19 to 21 1989 to 1991
South Africa: Pretoria, Witbank (two separate times), Roodeport (9 months) Welkom
Age 21 to 26 1991 to 1996
Provo and Orem, Utah
Orem, Utah. Lived with Aunt DeVonna Hansen in Orem until I married Marya Durtschi.
Provo, Utah. Lived in a single-wide, two bedroom trailer close to work for about 18 months.
Orem, Utah. Lived in s single-wide trailer that an extra room and garage had been built onto. Only live there for 6 months. Probably would not have bought it had we known a work transfer was in the near future.
Age 26 to 29 1996 to 1999
Idaho Falls, Idaho. Lived in an apartment for a few months until our home in Rigby was built and ready to occupy.
Rigby, Idaho. Lived in a three-bedroom, two bathroom home on an acre of farm ground
4257 East 100 North
Rigby, Idaho 83442
Age 29 to 50+?
Driggs, Idaho. Live in the home Marya was raised in. The total square footage is near 5000. The original structure was built in 1947. A three story cinderblock house with 2 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms, and some smaller rooms that changed purposes. The basement is unfinished.
An addition was put on in the late 1980s of log which had a basement woodshop, one extra bathroom, and two large main level, and upstairs rooms.
We didn’t move, but our address changed due to county alterations
8 South 275 East 2195 South Stateline Road
Driggs, Idaho 83422 Driggs Idaho, 834222
FAVORITE PLACES and FUTURE
When young, Dad and Mom would most often take family vacations to Portland, Oregon and the Oregon coast because three of mom’s siblings lived there. I grew to love the Oregon coast line. All up and down it.
In fact, I liked it so much that, at age fifty, I am making plans to make southwest Oregon home for at least a few months of the year. A few of the snowiest months: January to March and possibly April. As of the writing of this personal history, Marya and I have made arrangements to stay in Sutherlin, Oregon during part of winter.
As I’ve gotten older, it is so fun to celebrate birthdays with my sisters. The fall of 2018 we decided to do something on Nadine’s bucket list. Nadine asks for so few things. I contacted a balloon guy in Topeka. Since Nadine’s birthday is in November we knew we were going to be early but wanted to do it whenever the time worked out. We started planning for our ride in August. We had many Saturday mornings that didn’t work out. I was beginning to think it would never happen. Lo and behold October 28 (Sunday evening) we (Pam, Nadine, Rob and I) took off from the Industrial Park in Minneapolis and had a beautiful balloon ride. Rob loved it and we loved watching his experience. It was so fun!
I realized as I was creating this personal history that I talked quite a bit about work related subject, and not a lot about family. Why? Well, I think t is because work filled a lot of my time and energy, but also because those work experiences were unique to me. Not even my family new what I did on a day to day basis. But, I felt a need to make this specific chapter on family.
We work together, we play together, we learn together, we take vacations together. One tradition we have kept that is easy to overlook the significance of is that we almost always ate one meal together around the kitchen table each day. Sometimes we talked about nothing in particular. At other times we had some intricate conversations. The point being, we valued the time communicating with each other.
I thought I would just share with you a little about each family member and where they are now, or what they are doing now…
Marya. She loves to bird watch. This love of birds gave rise to another hobby. She purchased a quality camera to take pictures with, and started taking pictures of landscapes, and our children’s events. This secondary hobby has given her opportunity to create books and slide shows to share place, memories, and events with others.
Taylor. Taylor is very creative. He is good with his hands. When he sets his mind to creating something or doing a particular task, he does it with lots of energy and focus. As of this writing he lives at home and works for his aunt Beth helping to clean her AirBnB rental spaces.
Caleb. Caleb graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington with a degree in Studio Arts. He is also living at home. Caleb loves running. He had such a positive experience with running from middle school, high school, and college he enjoys coaching both middle school and high school youth in their personal running goals. Besides being a paid middle school coach he works as…..
Sapphire. She graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho in Early Childhood Development. She is very talented in working with children, and was before she received her degree.
Crystal. Crystal is in her third year at Grinnell College in Iowa. She is studying Biology with the intent of working for a places like the National Park Service, National Forest, Fish and Game Management, or some place like that. She has already worked for the National Park Service for 3 summers. She loves playing soccer and was able to walk on to the intercollegiate team at college.
Jade. Jade is now in her first year at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. She is taking general credits at the moment, but she is leaning toward a career in creative writing or editing…something along those lines.
Crystal (Big Crystal). Her and her husband live in Teton Valley. She manages the local US Bank branch and loves spending time with her husband Scott and son Cooper.
This was an eventful decade. On the home front we added a new soul. Jade was born in 2001. Bringing our clan up to seven, plus daddy and momma under the same roof. Living in this new location, we certainly had living space for her as opposed to the Rigby house. The kids played with cousins close by. They roamed in the barn and in the pasture. We chose not to have a television in our home most of the years, and our kids learned to read a lot and explore the outdoors.
The unexpected happened. Momma Durtschi passed away unexpectedly, and we were left to care for daddy. We did have some help occasionally from nearby family. But, day in and day out, the responsibility was mostly on us. We did it for as long as we could before his condition became so bad that a nursing home was needed. He was in a nursing home for about a year when he passed away.
Us moving to Driggs was actually the only reason a nursing home was not used before. The doctor had been recommending it even before we arrived, but Joan wanted to prevent that. Before Joan passed she had made the decision to give us the house for being willing to move in and help. Why us? Momma liked me, and she knew Marya would like to be back in the valley. Plus, other Durtschi family who already lived in the area had their own families to tend too, or she just didn’t seem comfortable with them being that highly involved with Walter’s constant care needs.
To this day, because of the sentimental attachments to the house, and the subjective opinions of whether we did enough to earn it being given to us, still leaves an undertone of discontent among some of the siblings. I was asked once, if given the choice to move up and help would I do it again. Yes. Moving in to help Walter and Joan was the right thing to do. The other stuff is just human nature at play. You never know what life is going to present, and you don’t have any control about how others might feel about it. We rolled with it the best we could.
We did rent our home in Rigby for a few years and then we sold it. We knew with another family member added and the circumstances being what they were we couldn’t go back to that house even if we moved again.
During this decade I also served as 1st counselor in the Driggs 2nd ward bishopric with Wayne Egbert as bishop, and Meredith Wilson as 2nd counselor. Just like serving in the mission field, this was a challenging and rewarding time. A story connected with this. Of course I was on the stand each week, and Marya bravely brought the kids to church. A sister moved into the ward and noticed Marya coming in with all the kids. She didn’t know us. She was disgusted that Marya’s husband would send all those kids to church with her each week while he was relaxing or off recreating. It wasn’t until several months went by, and she saw us together at a ward party that she finally realized who I was Marya’s husband. Even though this sister had never told Marya about her feelings about her “slacking” husband, she felt a need to come an apologize to Marya for drawing unfounded conclusions.
Work wise…well, I kind of experienced an identity crisis during this decade. At Anderson Lumber I was promoted to Receiving Clerk before too long. In that job I was responsible for checking in all shipments and making sure the proper quantity was there and no damage. The work was good. Then some corporate changes. Anderson Lumber was a small regional chain of stores, and they were bought out by national corporation. A new manager came on board. I could tell right away that we were going to clash. He was cocky and arrogant. He didn’t treat his team like equals. I was the first one to leave after he took command. He actually offered me a generous raise if I stayed. A raise that would have put my income above that of my supervisor. (I didn’t think that was a wise leadership move on his part either.) I left and went to work for Suburban propane delivering propane and training as a technician.
With each of these companies I worked for, in my mind, I was sincerely striving to make it a career. I think this attitude came from the example of my father and mother. My dad had worked in the same building all my life (he did have different promotions, but same career) until that building burned and he continued the same career as agricultural equipment repair, but with him being owner. Mom too, she was a librarian all her life. I thought that is the way it should be. Find a career, a company, work with dedication, earn promotions, and stick with THAT company. You take care of them, and they will take care of you. Well, I was learning that that wasn’t how the world was working anymore.
I was not with Suburban long. I received an unsolicited phone call and an offer from the owner of R&R Landscape. He wanted me to come on board as an office manager, and potential buy him out of the company along with some of the crew chiefs that managed the landscaping crews. I could not let that potential opportunity go without trying. It seemed much too good to pass up.
To make it short, it didn’t work. The old adage, if it seems to good to be true it probably is. Again, I liked the work; what I was learning and with what I was able to contribute. But, it didn’t end up being full time during the winter as promised. I hated drawing unemployment when I had been taught you work for what you get. The price he wanted for the company was more than any bank or private lender was comfortable with. And his method of financing was…well, let’s just say creative…and didn’t sit well with me. I was asked by local small supplies and large corporations all the time when R&R Landscape was going to pay them. I was not given control of the business checking account. He and his wife only saw those numbers.
What to do? Anderson Lumber’s name had officially changed to Stock Building Supply and the community was not fond of the new manager. He was not fired, but his position was changed, and he was transferred. After he left as manager, I approached the guy who took his job who knew me from before and he welcomed me back. Again, changing jobs so much was really uncomfortable to me because I want to “settle in” and stay with one company like I had seen my parents do.
At Stock Building Supply I went from entry level again as forklift and truck driver, to inventory control specialist, to Operations manager relatively quickly. I was responsible for the smooth running of the retail portion of the store. The manager kept the office staff and outside sales team for his duties. The yard foreman took care of fork-lift and truck drivers. This looked like the right track…then…This nationally-owned corporation started dictating changes that were not good for a small town lumber store. They wanted to let large stores like Home Depot and Lowes take care of the everyday home owner’s building and project needs. They wanted to focus on professional contractors only market. Those who built homes for a living. They began dictating things like closing on Saturdays because most contractors don’t work on Saturday. They wanted to get rid of some of our inventory because it was home owner needed items and not professional contractor items. Both I and the manager fought them on this. We repeatedly told them that being the only lumber yard in a small town that their picture just wouldn’t work. They didn’t like the answer. We were not fitting their envisioned mold.
I could see the writing on the wall. I could see this was not going to end well. As much as I hated to do it, I started looking for work AGAIN. A few years prior, Larry Juarez, owner of Grand Interiors, who dealt specifically with cabinets, appliances, flooring and interior hardware in new homes and remodels had approached me, and asked if I would come work for him. Even though that had been a few years before, I approached him to see if he still had a need. He did. For him I did all kinds of things. My main job was appliance sales, ordering, and installation. But is was such a small company I also helped install cabinets, drive truck, and office management.
Incidentally, a year after I left, Stock Building announced they were closing the Driggs location and many other locations that were not fitting their mold throughout the country. I am so glad I got out when I did.
In 2008, due to unwise housing and real estate loan practices in the country, that market tanked nationwide. Construction slowed drastically. This ushered in a recession that had global effects. Grand Interiors was connected with the construction industry and things became troublingly slow there. I was able to do some part time work on short term projects for people in the valley when I was only working part time at my regular job.
During this time my appendix needed removed. No health insurance at the time. Some very generous soul stepped in to pay the $10,000 hospital bill. I have an idea of who it was, but know way of telling for sure without directly asking, and most anonymous, good-hearted souls like that don’t want to be known.
So, yes, this was a challenging decade on many levels. Yes, it can be argued that life always has challenges, and that would be true, but this decade left me wondering what path I was suppose to take in life especially as a provider to my family.
Larry was relieved when I found a job in Jackson, Wyoming with a Hyko. They sold cleaning and paper products to businesses, primarily hotels and restaurants. It was a good temporary job. I knew it would not be a long commitment there.
The next job was with Coca Cola at their Jackson Hole warehouse as warehouse manager. Again, a leadership position. I was in charge of everything that went on inside the warehouse. The manager had responsibility for the outside sales team and drink machine technicians. During this job I was in the best physical condition I had been in since high school soccer and riding my bike in the mission field so much. My mornings were spent taking inventory, ordering product, or unloading a shipment of products that came from the bottling plant. Near noon, the orders started coming in from the traveling sales staff. These orders needed to be pulled from stock, staged on mobile carts ready to load that night to go out to stores the next day. The cases of canned and bottled pop were not heavy, about 15 to 20 pounds each, but we were moving hundreds of cases each day. Bend down, pick up, lift, swing onto the wheeled cart, repeat. I left for work before the family was up in the morning, and arrived home about six in the evening. I was getting worn out.
Even with all that was going on in our family’s life during this decade, we added yet another family member. Marya’s sister Beth would visit during the summer months from Texas to avoid the heat. One summer she brought a 17-year-old young lady with her to help out with her four children. The alternate motive was to get Crystal (We call her Big Crystal to distinguish from our younger daughter Crystal) was to get her away from an unhealthy home environment. At the end of the summer she did not want to go back. Her grandparents, who had legal guardianship over her would not let her stay in Idaho. We told Crystal that when she turned 18, if she wanted to come live with us that she was welcome to.
Her birthday is at the end of December. She hopped on a plane just a few days after, came to live with us, graduated from Teton Valley High School. She had some jobs: Burger King, a clothing store. Served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fell in love with Marya’s nephew and married him. So, she was semi-adopted by us, but then married into the family also. She is a lively, energetic person we love dearly.
As I was growing up we camped regularly in tents. I enjoyed those times out in nature with my family. I thought I liked camping, but after moving to Teton Valley I realized I like being in nature, and camping not so much. Because Teton Valley is right next to the mountains, I found that I liked going hiking and enjoying time in a campground around a fire and so forth. But, my own bed was usually only 15 to 20 minutes away from many camping areas. I preferred to go home and sleep, and come back in the morning to resume activities. I really enjoy hiking. One of my favorite hikes is up to Table Mountain, or Table Rock. I have done that so many times I lost track.
While working at the lumber yard I was impressed with the character and work ethic of a man by the name of Chris Harris. We did not do much while working there, but afterwards we started trying to go out to eat, play games, or watch a sporting event together. Chris became my best friend. It is a joy to spend time with him.
I don’t think I am going to break this decade into topics like I did with previous chapters because all parts of life kind of flowed together in to one great whole. (Maybe that is a sign of maturity?) Also, there is absolutely no way I can include all the details of things we did as a family, with all the children’s activities, the vacations, the church involvement, and so forth. So, this is where my posterity will have to be forgiving that I did not include something they thought I should. Again, if I have excluded something you felt noteworthy, I encourage you make the time to record those vivid memories in your personal histories. I talk a lot about work in this section because that is where I spent a lot of time, and my dedication to work directly affected my responsibilities as a husband, father, and provider. We did a lot of family activities. Most of the time I felt like I kept a good work and home life balance. I guess my wife and children are the best judges of that in each of their memories.
Upon returning from serving a full-time mission, I was only in Preston a few short days. I intended to return to BYU in the fall and I wanted to go down to see if I could secure work. My Aunt DeVonna and her husband divorced while I was in the mission field, and I asked if I could stay with her in her Orem, Utah. I would pay her rent each month, but also help with inside and outside chores. She was eager for the company and help. Staying with her was very enjoyable, and ultimately very life impacting.
The first place I looked for work was Deseret Industries, the thrift store chain owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As mentioned before in chapter five, they also operated the humanitarian aid center that I had worked at for only three months before leaving to South Africa. That day, I walked out of the human resource department disappointed. They said they did not have an openings for me. As I was leaving the building, I happen to run into Garret Davis who had been my manager before. He couldn’t believe two years had gone by already. He asked me what my plans were. I told him the intent to go to school at Brigham Young University, and that I had just been told there was no work there. He said, “Come back tomorrow ready to work. I will have a job for you.”
He told how he liked Idaho farm boys who knew how to work. I started there at $6.00 per hour as a forklift driver, which was pretty good for a entry level job at that time period. Garret was a laid back, cowboy fleet manager. His team of drivers and dock workers respected him. He knew how to make people feel cared for, but also knew how to encourage and push them to grow and get things done. It was his suggestion that I get my commercial driver’s license so I could drive large semi, tractor-trailer trucks. My thought was, “I don’t need that. I am going to school to be an exercise physiologist.” Wow! I used that CDL for decades in all kinds of capacities.
The Deseret Industries location had a cafeteria that all employees could eat at if they wished, including the humanitarian center workers. I was not aggressively looking for women to date, I was quiet and reserved in personality, but I did enjoy meeting new ladies, especially in a casual, non-committal place like the cafeteria and just talk as friends with no expectations. One day I saw a gal I had never seen before, and asked if I could sit next to her. I barely got her name, …Marya, before she got up and left.
Well, fortunately, the reason she left because she was done eating and had to get back to work at the humanitarian aid center where she sorted clothes. Her quick departure didn’t have anything to do with me. We had many lunches together. I didn’t ask her out, because, as I said, I had only been home from the mission field a short time, and was not looking for anything in the terms of a steady relationship yet.
My Aunt DeVonna also worked at the humanitarian aid center. Well, this might be a news flash, but women talk to each other about life. And before too long she said if I didn’t ask Marya out I was going to lose my chance. Marya and I had spent enough time together by that time that I knew I had feelings for her. I decided to act. And…then the well known phrase, “The rest is history”…Let me think…I don’t remember the time frame exactly, I think it was June when we first met (when she got up and left), we started dating in August, and by October I had bought the ring. It was in my pocket the first time I traveled to Driggs, Idaho to meet her family. She didn’t know it. I was ill because I was so nervous. On Saturday we went on a horseback ride up the Aspen trail just east of her house. We stopped and got off the horses at a break in the trees, a good spot to see the valley, and I knelt down and asked her to marry me. She burst into tears. But, she didn’t say yes. There was a slight complication. She had dated a young man quite seriously before he had left to serve a full-time mission. She had to make the final decision in her heart as to whether to accept my offer or wait for his return to see how their relationship might progress. That evening we drove up to a lookout point where we had a magnificent view of the Grand Teton mountains, and she said yes. We decided to be married after BYU got out in May. That was a looooonnnng engagement, seven months, it was way too long. We were married in the Idaho Falls temple on May 7, 1992 the same day as her mother’s birthday. (Under those circumstances, DeVonna was not sad to see me move out. She told people she was the one who played match maker because I was being so “chicken”. She was right.) Marya and I enjoyed a honeymoon to the Oregon coast. Not only because it is a beautiful place, but so Marya could also meet my family that lived up there.
Not long after I had asked Marya to marry me. Garret had convinced his up-line leaders that I would make a great addition to the more permanent team. Up to then I was paid by the hour only with no benefits. I was offered a salary position as a supervisor over the receiving dock. This came with pay increase, paid vacation, paid sick leave, retirement saving, health insurance, etc. Of course, I said yes. I had a family to start, and this seemed like a great blessing.
My Grandpa Byington helped us buy a small two bedroom trailer home just down the street from my work. We paid him a reasonable interest rate on his loan to us. We were grateful for his generosity. It was a humble place, but it served our needs well. I could walk to work, which made our one car available for Marya to use during the day. We felt impressed not to wait to start a family. Just shy of eleven months after we were married, Taylor Durtschi Moosman joined our family. Marya didn’t like the huge Provo, baby factory/hospital, so Taylor…and, later, Caleb Christian Moosman were born in the Payson, Utah hospital. At that time, Payson was a smallish town on the edge of the populated areas of Utah Valley. (Not any more. It is crowded down there now.)
As a supervisor over the dock at Deseret Industries, I was also considered a job coach. One of the main missions of Deseret Industries is to help individuals with mental or physical disabilities, or work skills challenges, improve their abilities to be able to get jobs in the standard competitive marketplace. The more I fulfilled those responsibilities, the more I grew to love that work, and decided to make working for Deseret Industries, and with those having challenges like that, my life career. I chose to stop attending college and put my efforts into my work and my young family.
With Garret’s mentorship and support, I learned and accomplished a great deal. When I started, the donations were received mostly by drive up donations by the thrift store but had no method for real efficient handling. There were piles of stuff everywhere in the receiving area. Through some redesign of the drive-up donation area, and implementing an organized system for sorting the donations…Within three years of my adjustments with Garrets encouragement, patience, and support, the production department (who priced and cleaned items) was able to order the boxes of types of things they wanted to process to put on the sales floor from my department.
I also learned that you have to prove your needs to upper management by statistics, so you could get the man power, and equipment needed to do a better job. I developed a method to count and track the number of cars that donated on a daily and hourly basis. It wasn’t a flawless system, but over time, patterns begin to emerge to help gauge scheduling my crew. An average of over 300 cars per day donated at that location. Week days, and winter was slower of course, but weekends and summers were crazy…It was a good thing I was young, energetic, and healthy. It took a lot out of me. Through these statistics we were able to prove we were the busiest donation location of all the Deseret Industries stores. Construction began on a new building in 1996 and I helped provide input on the design of the three-lane donation area and the square footage needed for a proper sort and storage area.
I served in the young men’s organization in the Church ward in Provo. My favorite memory was hiking to Mount Timpanogos three times. Two of them mostly at night, and arriving on top to see the sun rise. This is where my love for hiking mountain trails started.
We had always wanted to get back to Idaho, so I had turned my resume into the Idaho Falls Deseret Industries during one of our trips to see family. I was offered a lateral responsibility position as job coach and dock supervisor there. We moved to Idaho in 1996. I was able to make similar changes in Idaho Falls as I made in Provo. But, it was not nearly as large of scale, and with not nearly as much trial and error thanks to experience.
We rented a house for a few months in Idaho Falls while looking for a place to “put down roots”. I don’t remember how we found it, but we bought an acre of ground in the middle of farm country. We ordered a home that was assembled in Boise and shipped to the site. The term used for this type of home was a manufactured home. It was a nice little home for our little family. By that time we had both Taylor and Caleb. I’ll tell you more about the home later.
Side note. Caleb often didn’t go to sleep well at night. We would stay up with him and watch the news and then Star Trek The Next Generation television series. Maybe that is why he likes science fiction so much now.
Our ward, called the Shelton ward, was amazing. There was a strong unity there, and we made many great friends. I served in the young men’s organization. There was something unique about the group of boys there. Because of the location of the ward boundaries, the boys went to three different school districts, so when they got together during the week or on Sunday’s it was new and fresh, they had not spent all week seeing each other at school. This dynamic seemed to help them NOT to take each other for granted as much as many groups in an area do with a lot of Latter-day Saint population.
After about a year and a half working in Idaho Falls, the area manager asked me if I would accept a position as Assistant Manager in the Rexburg location. Yes! By title it was another advancement. But, actually it was more of a lateral move again. Rexburg was smaller than Idaho Falls. My learning and duties expanded to cover the sales floor crew when the manager was not present. Loren Rogers and I made a good team. I enjoyed working with him.
Again, I was able to help improve the efficiency of the receiving dock. When we moved into a larger location I was able to design the receiving area and production area from “bare walls” into an efficient donation processing system. I enjoy this kind of creative challenge.
Sapphire and Crystal were born while we lived in the Rigby/Ririe area (we were about half way between the two towns). Our little three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was now quite full. It was right around 1000 square feet. It became obvious, if we wanted to grow more we either need to add on to the house or sell and find something bigger.
I began discussing with Deseret Industries leadership the possibility of qualifying for the next advancement. After all, they had asked ME to become a supervisor in the first place. I did initiate the desire to transfer to Idaho, but again, they had approached me about taking the position as assistant manager in Rexburg. I was good at what I did. I was good with systems, and with few exceptions my crew enjoyed my leadership. The answer I got was that I couldn’t qualify for the next promotion without a college degree. Well, with my small family’s temporal needs, time, and emotional needs, how was I going to do that? (Ricks College, the closest college was still only a two-year school at that time. Idaho State in Pocatello was the closest four year school. On line college degrees were not an option yet.) I still enjoyed my work, but I became a bit “put out” by the response I got. Please don’t get me wrong. I feel a college education is a great way to get qualified in knowledge and skill to make a positive contribution to a work force and to a community you live in. My frustration is… that so many seem to think it is the ONLY way, and they pass by very good candidates for that reason and that reason only, no college degree. Some examples of why I thought this policy didn’t make sense: The manager of the Provo store had a degree in agriculture. Another manager I knew had a degree in political science. Neither of those degrees had ANY application in the jobs they were actually doing. My questioning of wisdom in the practice or ONLY hiring those with college degrees started then and continues to this day. Why is so much emphasis put on that piece of paper by so many when often it doesn’t apply to the position needing to be filled and its responsibilities? In my experience, the important thing is a person take responsibility for their learning whether it is formally obtained in a classroom, on the job, or through life experience. Those who take responsibility do make a significant contribution to most any environment they are in.
Anyway, at that point, I felt stuck career wise. It looked like I would either need to change careers or figure out a way to make the time and come up with funds to go back to school. As much as I enjoyed working for Deseret Industries the pay was not on the generous side. After all, it is a nonprofit organization. Supporting the needs of a family of six didn’t leave much wiggle room since we decided right from the “get go” we wanted Marya to be able to stay at home with the children.
Then something came “out of the blue”. Marya’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and began to deteriorate physically and mentally. Her mother, Joan, called us and asked if we would move to Driggs and help her take care of him. The next day she called and retracted the request feeling that it was too much to ask of us. But, not long after she called again to ask for help.
We prayed about it and decided to make the move and see how it would go. We chose not to sell our home in Rigby in case it did not work out. We made the move motivated by the desire to help Marya’s parents, but our own family still took priority. On March 1, 1999 we moved into the 1947 built, main portion of the Durtschi house. Our kids would be the 4th generation of Durtschi descendants to live in the house. Walter and Joan moved into the log portion/additon of the house that was built in the late 1980s, and our responsibilities to help care for Walter began.
I still commuted back and forth to Rexburg every day. But, being gone from my family with four young kids and a wife, father-in-law, and mother-in-law for 10 to 11 hours each day did not feel sustainable. I began to look for work in Teton Valley to cut off at least the two hours of drive time to and from work. During the summer of 1999 I interviewed at Anderson Lumber Company and was hired on the spot as a fork lift driver and truck driver. (Using that commercial driver’s license I didn’t think I needed.) Even though I was not a manager, or supervisor over anyone, (It was considered an entry level position) I was offered a pay and benefit package that matched what I was earning at Deseret Industries.
I cherish the opportunity and experiences gained while working at Deseret Industries. What I learned there has helped me in other employment and other life areas more than I can explain. And the working with those who had disabilities was challenging, but fantastic. But, by the time I left it felt like it was time to move on. It was a tough decision at the time, but in the retrospect life offers over time, it was the right thing to do.
In 1988, I requested the opportunity to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. In December of that year, I was called by a prophet of God, Ezra Taft Benson, to serve in the South Africa Johannesburg Afrikaans speaking mission from March 1989 to April of 1991. It was very challenging and amazingly rewarding time in my life. I grew to love the people of that country. I cried like a baby the last day of my service. I was going to miss being a missionary, and miss the people of South Africa. Most I would never see again in this life.
What is Afrikaans? It is a form of Dutch. It was the Dutch and British that colonized the area. It is amazing how the history of South Africa parallels the United States. As the European settlers spread inland, they came in contact with African tribes. Some were hostile, and some were not. Ultimately the Europeans subdued most of the tribes in that area. The tribes also fought amongst themselves. The Dutch decided they didn’t want the British ruling over them so they had a war of independence called the Boer War which translated means farmers war. The Dutch mainly settled inland and the British on the coastal areas. There is a honored site near the capital city of Pretoria called the Voortrekker Monument. There are carvings of covered wagons, statues of men in buckskin clothes and long rifles, women in bonnet hats and full dresses. It would compliment any American western pioneer museum. Voortrekker means before-goer or before-walker…pioneer.
I lived at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah for two months while learning the language. We did have meal times, scripture study time, exercise time, but the large majority of the day was in classes learning the language and about what the culture of the country was like. Here is a sampling of some vocabulary words:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Die Kerk van Jesus Christus van heiliges van die Laaste Dag
Ouderling – Elder
How are you? – Hoe gaan dit?
Goodbye – totsiens
I am not interested. – Ek stel nie belang nie. (We heard this a lot while knocking on doors.)
Baptism by immersion – doop duer onderdompeling (under dunk)
Just as with other areas of my life, I can really not do full justice to all the people and experiences I had while there. The few stories I do share I hope will give you some understanding of what it was like. How can a really summarize and do justice to these two years. So many people contacted. So many people who listened to the gospel message. So many people drawing closer to Jesus Christ. So many people influencing my life. To borrow a phrase from The Book of Mormon…”I can not write a hundreth part.” What I do write I hope you will find valuable. If you are a person reading this who I came in contact with, and I don’t mention your name specifically, I am sorry. It doesn’t mean my experiences with you don’t hold a special place in my heart. It is simply that I cannot include them all.
Here is one memory of becoming connected with and the baptism of a lady by the name of Cheryl Cloete. When we knocked on her door and introduced ourselves as missionaries she said, “Oh, you belong to The Book of Mormon.” She had been given a copy of book before, had read it, had enjoyed it, but didn’t know what else to do. Well, we were, of course, willing to tell her what she could do next. She chose to be baptized. It wasn’t a quick process. There were some truths to ponder and accept, and some life changes to be made. The day before her baptism, the missionaries in our group went to the church to go through a “dry run” so she would know what to expect. While going through the motion of baptism, my companion tipped her back and her head struck the faucet that fills the font. No blood, but painful and a tender bump. The next morning she joked about bringing a helmet to the service, but decided that might not be appropriate.
Missionaries do not convert people to the gospel of Jesus Christ. God, through the Holy Ghost, does the converting. Missionaries are just there to share, to teach truth, to do things to invite the Holy Ghost to touch hearts, and strive to teach individuals what they can do on their own to invite the Holy Ghost into their lives. Tommy and Ilze Rothmann were and amazing, young couple. They enjoyed our meetings. They were spiritual and religious individuals. But, Tommy just wasn’t sure if changing religions was for them. We had several visits with them, and it was about getting to the point that if they didn’t choose to do more that we needed to move on as missionaries. One evening we were scheduled to share another lesson with them. Tommy said to us that he enjoyed our visits, but he would need to see a miracle, some kind of manifestation for him to change religions. Instead of sharing the lesson we had prepared we felt impressed to watch a movie called “What is Real.” Near the end of the movie music is playing, and the Saviors face appears on the screen, the lyrics say, “And when we see His face, what peace and joy we’ll feel. At the glory of Him, our hearts burn with in…” The movie concluded and we sat their in silence as the influence of the Holy Ghost was nearly palpable in the room. Tommy exclaimed, “Wow!” He got up, and rewound the movie to a bit before that picture came on…He watched it again. He began to cry. He said never before had he felt such a powerful yet peaceful feeling as he did in those moments when the Saviors face appeared. He recognized it as his miracle. He and his wife Ilze decided to be baptized shortly there after. Even now, twenty years later, as I type this story…my eyes well up with tears at the sweet, powerful memory of those moments with Tommy and Ilze.
Swaziland is an independent kingdom within the geography of South Africa. We had missionaries serving there. I had the opportunity to go into the country twice. Many, many families lived in make shift huts with one water faucet and bathroom area per about 10 to 20 families. Most were very poor. The prince who ruled the country chose a new bride to add to his collection each year during a ceremony called the reed dance. Missionaries tried to encourage young girls not to participate because part of it involved dancing topless.
Some of the foods that made and impression while in South Africa: We were offered Rooibos Tea every day multiple time. It is a delicious herbal tea and the plant it comes from only grows in that country. Boerewors (sausage) was a meat source staple. Curry, rice, and chicken were also frequent. At Pizza Hut in that country I had my first and last calamari pizza. It didn’t taste bad at all, a little chewy, in America they don’t put squid on pizza.
This is not about South Africa food, but one Christmas I received a memorable care package from Dad and Mom. Mind you, a box to a month or two on a boat to get to the country the affordable way. In October, she had gone to an LDS Church cannery and had canned homemade Christmas cookies: sugar cookies, no baked cookies, etc. When I opened the cans they tasted as if they had just been made. It was challenging, but I did the Christ like thing and shared them with my companion.
I had the chance to work in the mission office for several months. I would take incoming phone calls and forward them to the person who needed them. I handled the mail. Some was for the office itself, but because the missionaries moved around so much and it took awhile for the mail to travel, for all 100+ missionaries all the mail was sent to the office. Each day, I would go with my companion to the post office, pick up a bag of mail, sort it, put the correct address of where the missionary was serving and then take it back to the post office to go to them the next day. My companion mainly dealt with supplies if I remember right. Besides our duties, we were able to observe the inner workings of the office. It was inspiring to see how President Snow mixed his business leadership experience with inspiration to run the mission and respond to unexpected circumstances with revelation.
Michael and Audrey Koerber were very active in the branch before I and Elder Brandon Lewis were there. They were hosting branch activities at their house. Michael, at times, played the piano for priesthood. They loved the fellowship they felt with the members. They just had not had that witness that The Book of Mormon was true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and this was Jesus Christ’s restored church.
The Lord inspires the mission president as to which two missionaries should be companions. The opportunities for growth within each missionary can be the reason, the ability to touch lives in unique ways can be the reason. It was the bold and direct approach of Elder Lewis that made the connection for Michael Koerber. It was my quiet, reserved demeanor that connected with Audrey. The pivotal moment for their conversion took place on a family vacation. Michael had taken The Book of Mormon with him and was reading it by the seashore, and the Holy Ghost touched his heart. He knew it was true, and he knew he had to act. It wasn’t the many missionary lessons that had done it. It wasn’t sitting in church hearing. It was when he was alone on that beach that the Spirit impacted his heart. The Sunday before I left the mission field they were baptized in their swimming pool.
Michael and Audrey are the only people besides companions that I met in South Africa that I have seen since. He was a mining engineer. He and his family moved to Canada for his work. Their children are grown, and he and Audrey are now living in China.
Because of the political climate of the country, most of the missionary work was among the Caucasian population when I arrived. While there, Nelson Mandela was released from his 27 years in prison, and there was a cultural shift to the official abandonment of government supported apartheid. This allowed for more work to begin in the native populated black areas of the country. (Blacks were required by law to live in separate cities from the whites.) In my last where I served, Witbank, were only two adult black male priesthood holders. (By the way, Witbank can’t be found on a map any longer. The name was changed in 2006. Witbank was an Afrikaans word for the area. The name was changed to Emalahleni which is from an African Tribal language.) I and Elder Lewis had the opportunity to teach and baptize the first black sister. By the time I left we were baptizing every week. Most were adult, black males in their late teens or early twenties.
This chapter seems like an appropriate place to include my testimony about the spiritual side of life. I know their is a heaven, a realm of existence of finer matter that what we mortals can experience with our senses. A realm that is also outside our realm of current understanding of physics. I know there is a Father in Heaven. I know that the man called Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. He lived, He died, and He lives today as a glorified resurrected being. He will return to earth again as a glorified being to claim what he created under the direction of His Father. God is a title of a being who has learned to live in harmony with celestial law. Through the atonement of Jesus the Christ all can overcome the effects of selfish sin and return to live with God.
I know that Joseph Smith Jr. was an instrument in God’s hands in beginning the restored gospel on the earth because truth and priesthood authority were lost because of the wickedness of men. Lucifer is real. He is an enemy to all things of celestial value. The Bible contains the word of God as far as it was translated correctly by unauthorized scribes and religious leaders. I know The Book of Mormon is an ancient text written and compiled by ancient prophets, found and translated by Joseph Smith. There are prophets and apostles on the earth today who direct God’s work with the same authority and truth as Peter, James, and John did as recorded in the New Testament.
I know families are the most important unit in the eternities. That in temples families can be bound forever if covenants are kept. I recognize The Proclamation on the Family as truth and and inspired document.
My parents were members of The Church of Jesus Christ before I was born. I am not a practicing member just because they were. I have studied the doctrines and precepts of other denominations, Christian and non-Christian, there is a great deal of truth in most, but not authority. They do preach principles of salvation, but without the complete picture they cannot teach principles of exaltation.
To those who made read this who doubt there is even a spiritual side to existence…Just as I have experienced and felt the laws of physics act upon my senses and the world around me….Just as strongly have I seen, felt, and witnessed spiritual aspects working in my life and the lives of others. I cannot deny this. I may not always be the best example of a celestial life, but I cannot deny the truth of what I have felt at the core of my being.
I share this testimony to be included with my life history as my eternal solemn witness. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I was going to put the following items in a separate chapter, but here seems appropriate even though they are not directly connected with my missionary service.
Religious Ordinances, Priesthood Line of Authority, and Portions of Patriarchal Blessing
January 4, 1970 by Albert Reed Moosman at the Preston 3rd Ward, in the Oneida stake.
BAPTISM & CONFIRMATION
Both ordinances done on December 6, 1977 by Albert Reed Moosman
At the Preston, Idaho North Stake Center
AARONIC PRIESTHOOD each office ordained by Albert Reed Moosman
Deacon – December 13, 1981
Teacher – December 11, 1983
Priest – December 8, 1985
MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD each office ordained by Albert Reed Moosman
Elder – August 14, 1988
High Priest – February 16, 2003
This ordination was done in preparation to serve as 1st counselor in the bishopric in the Driggs, Idaho 2nd Ward; Driggs, Idaho Stake. Bishop – Wayne Egbert, 2nd Counselor – Meredith Wilson
February 25, 1989 in the Logan, Utah temple
May 7, 1992 in the Idaho Falls, Idaho temple to Marya Durtschi
PRIESTHOOD LINE OF AUTHORITY
Eric Reed Moosman was ordained an Elder on August 14, 1988 by Albert Reed Moosman(father)
Albert Reed Moosman was ordained an Elder on November 28, 1954 by Welborn Moosman(his father)
Welborn Moosman was ordained a High Priest on January 12, 1946 by Thomas E. McKay
Thomas E. McKay was ordained a High Priest on July, 26, 1908 by George F. Richards
George F. Richards was ordained a High Priest on April 9, 1906 by Joseph F. Smith
Joseph F. Smith was ordained a High Priest on July 1, 1866 by Brigham Young
Brigham Young was ordained a High Priest on Feb 14, 1835 by Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdrey, David Whitmer
Oliver Cowdrey was ordained to the Priesthood June 1829 by Peter, James, John
Peter, James, John were ordained Apostles during Biblical times by Jesus Christ, Son of God
This a summary of callings I have held as an adult in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after returning home from serving a full-time mission in the South Africa Johannesburg area.
Missionary Preparation Teacher, Orem, Utah
Teacher’s Quorum Adviser, Provo, Utah and Ririe, Idaho
(Our physical address was Rigby, but we were in the Ririe, Idaho stake.)
All of the following were in the Driggs, Idaho 2nd ward or Driggs, Idaho Stake
Elder’s Quorum Instructor
Elder’s Quorum President
1st Counselor in Bishopric
Sunday School Teacher for youth
Ward Membership Clerk
1st Counselor Stake Sunday School Presidency (2013-2015)
Priest Quorum Adviser (2015-2017)
Young Men’s President (2017-2018)
Substitute Ward Chorister (2019-
A patriarchal blessing is intended to be a personal life guide from the Lord to the individual receiving it. It is given by an individual who serves specifically as a Stake Patriarch. The blessing also declares a lineage of the House of Israel that the individual is part of as a direct blood line or adopted into as part of the covenant of baptism into the Lord’s church.
I received my blessing at the age of 16, on May 29, 1986
The Patriarch was Orval DeWain Robinson or the Preston, North Stake
My grandfather Leo Irving Byington was the clerk to the patriarch and typed up the text of my blessing from the audio recording done by the patriarch.
Because of the sacred nature of the blessing I will not record the whole thing here. Just portions. A relative can request the full text using The Church of Jesus Christ’s genealogy link.
I am of the lineage of Ephriam.
Seek the blessings of your father…
By sincere, humble prayer, honoring your Priesthood, your Father in Heaven shall increase your knowledge of the commandments of the Lord, and through humble prayer you shall receive spiritual direction for good throughout your life.
Honor your mother, seek her counsel…
You will have a desire to sustain the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as you do so your testimony will grow stronger and their blessings will enrich your life spiritually.
Set your goals and standards in accordance with the commandments of the Lord. Check them often to be sure you are measuring up.
Honor your priesthood and as you do so you will be blessed with all your righteous desires. Choose your friends wisely.
You will be given the blessing of missionary work at home which will change the lives of many for good in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the future you will…enter the holy temple of the Lord and have sealed to you a sweet daughter of the Lord as a companion and help-mate for time and all eternity.
No blessing will be yours you do not earn.
I bless you with a desire and a will to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and as you do so your sins will be forgiven you.