“Horsefly Heaven,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 56
If your description of heaven includes living happily with your extended family in a beautiful place, you might agree that Reed Pitcher has found heaven—one element of it, anyway.
Reed and his wife, Bernice, live on a ranch in Horsefly, a small town in British Columbia, Canada, amid lakes, forests, wild animals, and plentiful wild berries. What makes the setting even more heavenly is that eight of their ten children live there, too.
“I’m experiencing the best of what I can imagine heaven to be,” says Reed, surrounded by his more than forty grandchildren. Bernice remembers looking at a map with Reed several years ago, while living near Cardston, Alberta. Knowing no more than the map showed them, they decided to move to Horsefly, B.C.
When they arrived in Horsefly, they found an untamed wilderness—just what Reed wanted.
“I enjoy a challenge,” he says. “In fact, I need a challenge to learn, grow, and stay happy.” Reed, whose father died when he was five years old and whose mother died when he was fourteen, explains that since responsibilities came early to him, he has found his greatest happiness in meeting them.
Reed recalls an experience that strengthened his already-firm testimony of prayer. When he was out on the range rounding up some workhorses one day, a nearby horse kicked him, breaking his leg and throwing him from his horse. The horse he had been riding was particularly difficult to catch and mount under normal circumstances, but now that Reed’s leg was broken, doing so seemed impossible.
“That horse was my only way home,” he recalls. “So I bowed my head in prayer and very humbly asked the Lord for help.” He then crawled towards his horse. The great creature snorted and shook its head, trying to escape. But it couldn’t move its feet; it was as if they were fastened to the ground. Reed was able to pull himself up—painfully—and make it home on the animal’s back.
The Pitchers’ challenges in Horsefly have not been limited to taming the land and animals. For a long while, they were the only members of the Church within a sixty-mile radius. But now Horsefly is blessed with a chapel—the first and only chapel of any denomination to be built in the area. Church membership in Horsefly has grown and remains strong. Twice Reed has served as district president, and twice as branch president.
His warm interest in people makes others comfortable when they are around him. His gentle manner is a large part of what makes Horsefly a heavenly place to be.—Laurie Hirschi, Pocatello, Idaho