Written In My Heart: Lay Up For Yourselves Treasures In Heaven (#5)
Moving on in chronological order, I am going to share an event that happened within a month of God calling out my name the first time in March of 2001.
It was in early April, I decided to check out the back yard of the historic W. W, Mayo House to begin organizing for the opening day of the tourism season. As I walked across the lawn, something caught my eye. I saw what looked like the telephone wires going into the home had been cut. I went over to the corner of the house and sure enough the lines were cut. I then went to the back door and it was not locked. As, I opened the door, I was totally shocked. The little historic home had been broken into and almost all of the smaller artifacts were gone. The burglars had broken a window pane and crawled through the opening to gain entrance into the home.
In the living room, every small artifact, a small folding chair, along with the books in Doctor Mayo’s desk had been taken. In the kitchen, all of the items except the dishes were gone. Into the parlor, it looked like the items were being prepared to be taken. A few items in that room were gone. On the second floor, the little doctor’s office was missing every medical instrument, artifact and books that had been on display including a human skull. The same thing in the three small bedrooms. Toys, hats, dolls on display. Everything that was not too big had been stolen.
I cannot explain how devastated I felt. This Minnesota State Historic Site opened to the public in 1974. Dr. William Worrall Mayo hand-built this small Gothic-style home in 1859. It was the birthplace of Dr. William James Mayo in June of 1861. Dr. Mayo set up his first medical practice in Minnesota from this home. Later in Rochester, Minnesota, Dr. W.W. Mayo and his two sons William James and Charles Horace founded what became the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.
Between 1874 and 1920, it was the home to three generations of the Carson Nesbit Cosgrove family of Green Giant Company history. Seven children from the second and third generations of the family were born in the home including two Green Giant Company Presidents. From 1936 to 1967, the home served the community as the first Le Sueur Public Library.
I had the privilege of being hired as a guide when the site opened in 1974 and went on to serve as site manager and when the burglary took place, I was both site manager and executive director of this historic home and adjacent history center. My working with the Mayo Home extended from 1974 to 2009, when I retired after 35 years.
Over the course of time, I said to myself, I have given all of my heart and half of my soul to this little home. I loved the Mayo House. I planned, researched and executed all educational programs and events as well as giving guided tours to thousands of people. My heart sunk and I suppose I was in a state of shock as to what had happened.
However, something very strange occurred. In mid-May, about one month later, I got a call from the local police informing me that boxes of what looked like Mayo House furnishings had been found alongside a road leading to a park at the north end of our town. A couple were on their way home from church, when they decided to drive down a road leading to Mayo Park to see if the water from the major spring flood had started to recede. As they went down the hill, the wife noticed boxes sitting in the ditch and told her husband she wanted to see what was in these boxes. They stopped and looked and she came to the realization that the items in the boxes were artifacts from the Mayo Home. Because it was starting to rain, they loaded the boxes into their car and trunk and took them home with them. They then called the sheriff’s department.
I was invited by the sheriff to come to look over the items, and, yes, they were artifacts from the historic home. They were later released to me and the Minnesota Historical Society instructed me to not return the items directly to the house. But, instead lay the items out on tables in the history center in case they needed to dry out.
As I looked over the artifacts and inventoried them, what they looked like were just a bunch of old things. In the house, when I gave tours, I used these near sacred artifacts to help in sharing and interpreting the history of the Mayo family, the history of Minnesota and the lifestyle of the period. Now, laying out on the tables they looked like old things that you might find at a garage or estate sale. The bindings on the books were all damaged. It is so interesting that of the artifacts that had been stolen, about 95% of them had now been recovered. However, to this day, no one has been arrested for the burglary that took place at this little pioneer home in April of 2001.
As I reflect upon this strange and heart wrenching experience, I cannot help but think of this scripture passage:
Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV) 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The passage that follows also comes to mind. When I decided to retire after 35 years with the Mayo Home, the reason I retired is because I wanted to devote more time to God. To grow the ministry I had founded, Gariel Ministries, and spend time getting to know God even better and to give all of me to serving and following Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:8 (NKJV) 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
I had given all of my heart and half my soul to the Mayo Home for years. Now, I give all of my love, all of my heart and ALL of my soul to Jesus Christ.
How about you!!
Next week, I will begin sharing how the Holy Spirit courted me and worked within to draw me to becoming born again in Jesus Christ.
Personal Testimony of
Dorothy von Lehe
Thanks for sticking with your series!