Shonebarger

On the outskirts of a small village in Ohio is a rural countryside known as the Welsh Hills. Many settlers of the village are buried together in the Welsh Hills Cemetery, which dates back to the 18th century. These hearty immigrants from Wales pioneered this gorgeous region of fertile ground and rolling hills in Central Ohio. Together they consecrated a community entrusted to faith, education and farming.

As with other American pioneers of that era, they shared a passionate vision of a prosperous future, being motivated to plant deep generational roots. Back breaking labor was invested to guarantee a happy life for their families. As you stroll through the cemetery surrounded by tall old maple and oak trees, the gravestones spell out familiar names from the village’s history. Their legacies are engraved in the annals of village lore.

A stone slab marks the location of the first Baptist Church built in the Hills. The church would serve many functions for the pioneers. They would worship on the Sabbath, conduct school for their children during the week and host community meetings throughout the year. The building was their first construction. While that building is long gone, the stories of this bygone century are well documented for curious historians to read.

As you stand at the location of the landmark that marks that spot of decades of special moments, you begin to reflect on the marriages, baptisms, funerals, child playing at recess and the community business meetings held.

That centerpiece of community vibrancy is now reduced to a documented transcripts and a stone marker.

Carefully, looking through one’s mind’s eye of imagination, you can envision the carriages carrying the ancestors to this spot. You can hear the voices echo through the trees and you can feel the warm vibrations from the occasions that brought the folks together.

You then look down at the ground once stood upon by people living their lives hundreds of years ago. One can only wish to be transported back in time to experience the life of those vibrant souls who settled this consecrated ground. In a mere existential moment, I captured the ambiance of yesteryear.

I am proud to say, these are my ancestors and their fellow sojourners. As a sentimental individual, I am captured by the history of those in my genealogy. Their accomplishments can be traced back through numerous generations. The names Williams, Jones and Price all have a legacy in my life. They are inspirational and serve as motivation for me to continue in their legacy of civic duty, ministry and humanitarian service.

We are all leaving footprints in the sands of time.

Will those who come behind us find us faithful? Will the generations that follow us be grateful for our sacrifice and good will? Will our descendants be motivated to emulate our example? The annals of our history are being written today. Let it be a significant one.

Let us endeavor to impact our community today as we invest in tomorrow. Together, through hard work and love for our neighbor, we can truly make a difference that will be appreciated in decades to come.

Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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