Sunday, June 21, 2015

Handcart Pioneer: James Gordon Bleak Sr., 26

James Bleak (pronounced Blake) had a childhood.  All of his siblings and his parents died when he was young.  He lived with an aunt, and she also passed away.  However he remembered bowing to Queen Victoria when she would pass by.  When he visited a Mormon meeting, one of the Elders noticed that his eyes were weak.  He admitted he could scarcely see anything.  He received a blessing, and never had this problem again.  After joining the church, he became president of the White Chapel Branch in London.  As he was being released to travel to America, a sister spoke in tongues.  James understood the meaning, but did not respond.  Another sister did, stating what he already knew, "Notwithstanding he shall see the angel of death laying waste on his right and on his left, on his front and on his rearward, yet he and his family shall gather to Zion in  safety, and not one of them shall fall by the way."  He traveled with his wife, Elizabeth Moore Bleak and their four small children.  This prophesy was tested on the trail.  Most of the family became ill and the fell behind.  James was so weak he asked his wife to leave him behind.  She tucked him in a blanket and got the children into camp.  She then repented and went back for her husband.  They got him into camp and nursed him back to health.  Another occasion was even more nerve racking.  Two women were caring for one of the boys at night.  One very cold morning, they came bearing sad news, the boy had passed away.  Thomas had stopped breathing, but James, remembering the promise delivered begged upon Gd to not forget this promise.  .James went to work on the child, rubbing his limbs and anointing him with oil.  He thought he saw a glimmer of life, and continued to rub and administer.  By God's power the child opened his eyes and was able to continue thr journey, becoming a father of nine children.

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