When Elder Barney heard the news of the tragic fires in California, he and his wife, Hazel, were both deeply saddened. He then began to ask God to help them with their loss and the loss of their loved ones. As they were doing what most families do when a tragedy occurs, they both were focused on prayer and trying to figure out a way to help their church. Then it hit them that they needed to find a way to help themselves after their own losses had been dealt with.
A year later, in October, Barber met with the church leadership and gave them the official program for the Elim Restoration Church. The program was titled “Worship.” At the beginning of the program, Barber read from the minutes of a recent General Conference which had been posted on the church website. This included statements by Apostle Barnes and Elder Delaney. After reading these statements, the Bishop Smith and the rest of the church leadership listened in amazement as Elder Delaney spoke about his experience in serving with the pioneers of the Eliminationist movement.
The following Sunday, Barber and I were met by a lady who was very excited and emotional following the conference. She came up to me and told me that she was very thankful to be a part of the Eliminationist movement. With tears in her eyes, she asked if I could speak at our church the next day on Sunday morning to help her family and friends to join us in worship. I welcomed her warmly and expressed my love and appreciation that she was willing to sacrifice for the sake of her family. I shared with her the news that the church had just installed a new Elder, Carlton Lyle, who was a graduate of Wheaton College and an elder in the church.
After I shared that with her, she looked at me and said, “I know you have heard about Eliminationists before but I didn’t know you were a member until last week.” I assured her that I was indeed an elder in the church but when she pulled out the piece of paper that contained the church’s dedication to Elder Lyle, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Carlton was born and raised in the church and he was actually one of the individuals who chose to take the latter years off in order to pursue his Master’s degree in Education. He was successful in getting his degree but unfortunately, he was disorganized and fell away from the church in the end.
He told me that he felt that he could not continue to be a part of the church without being fully ordained. I was glad to hear that because that meant that Eliminationists would not only have a chance to pick up where they left off, but they also had a stronger hold on their beliefs. Eliminationists believe that the United States of America was formed out of the original 12 tribes of Indians which were removed from the original settlers’ path. The original settlers were removed due to the violence caused by Native Americans, which was instigated by greedy government policies.
When the United States government enacted the Trail of Tears Removal Act, the government removed all the remaining tribes from the path of the railway. Many Native Americans who were not removed from the path of the railway still lived on the territory that the railway ran through. As an elder in the church, Carlton and I were planning on attending the unity candle ceremony which is conducted when the United States Congress passes laws recognizing all American Indians who have been removed from their land. The Native American corporation land restoration project was started by a man named Richard Simms who needed some money to pay for the land restoration.
We had spoken to many people who have participated in the restoration projects but had not yet gotten the funds to start the project. Richard was a member of an elim native corporation that had donated funds towards the land restoration and he was the one who asked the church for some donations. We knew that the land would need a lot of work, mainly improving the railroad to help travelers get through more easily and also needed to be repaired and made to look as good as possible so that a tourist could also come in greater numbers.
After soliciting our advice, we had recommended that they contact the National Park Service so that they could send someone out with some drawings of what needs to be done. They also wanted to make sure that they reported their findings to the National Park Service so that they could have some type of follow up investigation. Having done that, we are happy to see that they have reported their findings and that Richard Simms is using the funds for land restoration.