What a difference 50 years of goodness makes...


Over the last 50 years many lives and situations have been blessed because of the lives of Joe & Isabel Free. They will tell you it is the Lord that has blessed them, and that is true. However, they have lived their lives for others and that results in great blessings because they are doing His work. How appropriate that on this 50th anniversary they find themselves on the other side of the world and equator in South Africa on their 3rd mission.

Help us show them how much of a difference the Lord has helped them make in so many lives. Please click on "add new comment" once or twice or as many times as you want to record memories of a difference you are aware of. (if you don't see "add new comment" please choose "register")

We also need your help to spread the news far and wide so that on the 9th of September it will take all day for them to try to read the impact they have had.

Come back often and read of what others have shared, it might prompt some more memories to share.

Please include who you are and how you came to know them as you share your memories.


ps-Some have asked if they could give something. It is not necessary, but if you feel that you would like to give a gift, beyond your memories, we have set up a fund where you can donate. This fund will be used by Joe & Isabel to "make a difference" in the lives of some wonderful friends in South Africa. Just click on the "donate" button to the right.

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What are your goals?

Congratulations! Isn't this great! What an amazing accomplishment and yet you guys made it look easy every step of the way. At such a significant milestone as this, I have only one question for you: what are your goals? Though we've joked about that a lot through the years, that simple question as well as countless other things you did, and do, have had a significant impact in my life.

As I've thought about it, it comes down to this: I have always known that if I followed your examples I would be happy. What a great blessing it is to have parents that you can follow without hesitation knowing that if you do what they do you will be happy.

As I reflect on my childhood a few things stand out that become more amazing to me as I attempt to be a father. Your patience was amazing. If one of my sons were to hit me in the head with a rotten squash or light my pants on fire I'm certain I would do more than call them a "knothead." Your ability to maintain a peaceful spirit in the home is also a wonder to me. I know mom that that was largely your efforts in keeping it clean and well ordered and always good food on the table, but you did more than that. You invited the spirit there with your consistent and determined scripture study and temple attendance. Our home was the best place on earth to be. That's why I cried my eyes out my first day of kindergarten and got homesick on my honeymoon. There was no place better than home. Enthusiasm and love for learning has to come next. What a great characteristic. Every obstacle becomes an opportunity with enthusiasm and a desire to learn new things. Dad, you not only teach but embody both of those characteristics.

The thing I am most grateful for is your testimonies of the restored gospel and the Savior. I'm grateful that you were willing to share your testimonies on a daily basis with us as your children and that you now share them with our children and with many, many others. The testimony that you helped me start and nurture now brings me every joy, every happiness, and every hope. You not only taught me the only way to be truly happy you showed me.

Thanks for everything. Love Dave

PS-if you need help on your goals I think you should go for another 50!

Intreat me not....

Dear Mom & Dad, It is such a remarkable accomplishment in this day and age to reach such a momentous occasion. But knowing you two does not make it hard to imagine at all. I am realizing that you have been a part of my life as much as you haven't. I have almost been in the family 20 years and I wasn't much older than that when Dave and I were married. There has been such a difference in my life because of you two. The obvious is just being married to your wonderful son who you taught to be a gentlemen, to care deeply for his family and wife. I will always be indebted for such a noble soul to lead us in our home. I, of course, have learned so much at your hands as well. You have taught me the very basics of food storage and preparation that I am so grateful for but more than that of what it means to be emotional and spiritual mature. An example so noble and so unwavering that it wasn't hard to imagine how you would behave in a given situation when I might not know how to act. These have been critical to my own development and therein to the development of our family. I am so grateful for the examples of charity and kindness that you two have been always. You have also made your family your highest priority and your children and grandchildren feel of that love and want to be part of that great feeling. Thank you so much for who you are and how you have lived your lives. They have been examples that have been watched and followed in more arenas than you perhaps comprehend--at least in my world! I love you and can't help but think of the words of Ruth to her mother-in-law: Intreat me not ...to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and thy people shall be my people and thy God my God. You have made it so easy to follow. I love you with all my heart. Kristin

gma and gpa's 50th anniversary

hey guys well happy 50th anniversary! wow that is a long time to be married. i cant wait till im able to do thaT! well you guys are the best im just kinda sad i really havent seen much of you lately and i miss the campouts with grandpa and the shopping with grandma. but when you get home we are definately going camping grandpa for another one of those three day trips or something fun! and grandma i cant wait to be able to see you and play some yahtzee and some other games. I cant wait to be able to see you again i miss you so much!! I hope you have a great anniversary and i love you so much!! love jake

happy anniversary

my name says that i am nancy (which i am according to brett-a new nickname) but it is really jess. 50 years is a long time to be married, an amazingly long time, and someday i hope to be having a wedding anniversary with grandkids that love me as much as i love you. you are both such an inspiration- all of your kind birthday notes telling me that i am a princess and a daughter of god, your hugs and loves, and all the times you told me i was your favorite granddaughter have made my life alot easier and given me encouragement to go on. everything you have said to me or done has made me want to be a better person, to work harder and to reach it to the celestial kingdom with my eternal family. i love you both so much and i am so thankful you are my grandparents. it must be hard to celebrate away from family and friends, but the sacrifice you are making means alot to me because i don't know if i would do it. i hope all is well in africa, wish i was there!!! i love you and can't wait to see you!! happy anniversary and remember someone in arizona loves you! mwah!xoxoxoxoxox

Ich liebe euch!

Like Rebecca, I remember that fun trip to visit you both in New York. It was a special time that I will always remember…going to a branch with about 30 people, being in a VERY small Sunday School and Young Woman class (where my attendance practically tripled the number of people there). I remember taking a day to visit church sites close by: the Whitmer Home, the Printing Press, Smith Log Cabin, Smith New Home, Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah, etc. I remember you encouraged us to go off on our own and pray/ponder about the 1st vision. I still have the leaves that we took from those sacred spots. I will always remember the feelings I had that day. I also remember Grandpa catching some fireflies for us so we could see them glow. I remember the day we arrived, we passed “Big Marshmallows” (I think it was hay or something in white bags placed at the edge of the field) and a peacock, both of which we took the time to stop, get out and look at. I love how you both take the time to enjoy the wonderful things we come across. That is one lesson I have learned from you both.

I remember flying up to Utah with my Dad and getting to spend time with family while he worked. On one of the days, we were up in the small attic type room (you know the one I mean…oh, that place is full of memories in and of itself!) and we found several squares of fabric (I think you told me they came from when some of your daughters worked at “Mini World” or something like that). We decided to make a quilt out of them. By the end of the day, we had picked pieces, sewn them together in a pattern, gone shopping for fabric for the back, sewn it all together and tied it! That was such a fun day and I will never forget the time I got to spend with you. I still have that quilt (though it is quite faded and definitely very worn…). Not only did we have a great time together, but you taught me that you can accomplish great things if you put your mind to it...and you can have fun at the same time!

I also have another blanket from you. This is a smaller one that you crocheted for me. When I turned 8, I asked you and Grandpa to speak at my baptism. You spoke about the Holy Ghost and gave me this beautiful blanket you had made to help me remember about the Comforter. Thank you!!!

One of the greatest gifts you have given me is the desire and ability to see Heavenly Father’s hand in all that is around me—both in nature and in people. I also love how you can turn practically anything into a gospel object lesson. It truly brings to mind the scripture that talks about how everything testifies of Christ.

For example, I remember story of the rock we found together just before I was baptized. You and I (and I think someone else…it may have been Jopes) were going on a nature walk the day before my baptism. We were walking up on a dirt hill behind the grassy hill behind our old church building. I found this beautifully shiny rock about 1 1/2 in. in diameter. I dug around it for a bit, but was having trouble getting it out. So, I asked if you would help me get it out. Well, the rock ended up being about 7 inches long, and 5 in in diameter! I was quite pleased with this new rock for my collection and I was glad you had been there to help me. Well, the next day, you spoke at my baptism, talking about Baptism and our relationship with the Lord. You told the story of us finding and obtaining the rock and likened it to each of us wanting something but not being able to do it on our own. When we ask for help, He is there and will help us. That talk has stuck with me for a long time now, and I will probably always remember it.

Thank you both for many happy memories and for being good examples! I am honored to be a part of your family and I love you both so much!

Happy Anniversary from Elena!

Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
Happy 50th anniversary! Thank you for all that you do for me. I wish you were here so that I could hug you. I love you. I love coming to your house and going to the park to play. You make me feel good when I am around you because you are always happy. I remember going to a stream with you and Lauren was with us. We got little pieces of wood and sent them down the stream like boats. It was so fun!

I love you! Love,Elena

Madison wishes you a "swinging" 50th!

Madison Swinging

Beijos from Nane

First of all, I´d like you guys to have a very Happy Anniversary, because for sure you deserve it! I love you so much!!!!
I have so many memories of you, that it´s hard to choose one for this moment, but I think that the one that I liked most, was when both of you came here to Brazil to visit us and meet this wonderful place. We had lots of fun eating the goodies that you brought, and then we had even more fun showing you all the beaches, cities, parks sand dunes, exploring the forests in our "sitio" and everything else. It was really fun having fun with you guys.
The other day I was looking at the Free Family Calendar 2001 (I can´t remember the year, but I think it´s 2001...!) and reading everybody´s thoughts and memories, and then I looked at some other books of the Free Family and read lot´s of things and I just sat on the couch for a long time thinking of all the fun and hapiness that we used to have all together (not that we don´t have all that anymore), camping, at your house, at any other person´s house, in a park or at any other place on this earth. We always get along and have fun no matter what. I guess we´re just a really, really blessed family.
You two are a great influence in my life and in my family´s life. Because of you I´ve got so many blessings that I lost count of, and you are just wonderful people that you can´t find anywhere else in this world. I love you a lot and hope that you guys live forever so that there will be a difference in this world, so that it will be a better place.
I wish you the best!
'Milhões de beijos' (millions of kisses)
Eliane - goofball

Happy Anniversary from the Cutest Flower in the Bunch!

jeremy flowers


Uncle Joe & Aunt Isabel,
Congratulations on 50 years!
As a child, I remember making boats in the basement with the scroll saw, then floating them in the ditch in front of your house with the rubber band paddle wheels. You also helped us make whistles out of willows. Most importantly, I will never forget how good you make me feel, Uncle Joe, as you always greeted me with a hug.
Aunt Isabel, I will never forget the flour mill. It intrigued me as a child. And especially the results of hot homemade bread and cinnamon rolls. (And the homemade jam that went on it.)
I remember the fun we had on the fishing trips and many family reunions.
After we were married, we appreciated your love and hospitality on our visits to your home.
We enjoyed the Sunday visits at Grandpa & Grandma Worthen's when you were in town.
But most importantly, we appreciate your love and example. We hope to be doing what you're doing in the future.
We will miss you at Mom & Dad's 50th celebration. You will definitely be in our thoughts and prayers.
We love you!
Duane and Norma Henrie (Natalie & Kyle)