The first thing Daniel Gestewitz (9) wants to do when he grows up is serve a mission for the Church. And he doesn’t care where he goes!
The Gestewitz family has a great love for missionary work. In early 1987 the missionaries knocked on the door. Daniel’s mother, Tracy, answered it and was very curious about the young men and their message. She had seen the young men walking up and down the street in front of her home and had often wondered who they were and just why they were out on foot in the middle of the winter. So she invited them to come back when her husband, Kenneth, would be home. At the end of April Daniel’s parents were baptized and became members of the Lancaster Pennsylvania First Ward. A year later, when he was four years old, Daniel’s family was sealed in the temple.
Daniel knows that he can be a missionary now, too, by being a good example at school. He is the only member of the Church at his school. For reading time at school, he read his Book of Mormon. Being curious, his teacher asked him about the book. He was very happy to tell her all about it. Later, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told his parents how impressed she was with their son and his willingness to read the scriptures at school.
Besides reading, Daniel also likes art, recess, and chorus at school. He is a talented artist and has won a poster designing contest for voting awareness week. Soccer and Cub Scouts are two other activities he enjoys in the community.
The Gestewitz family lives in one of the very first homes built in the area. Their farmhouse was built in 1741 by a family who belonged to the Mennonite religion. One unique feature of the home is its two front doors. Originally, one door was for the women to use, the other door was for the men. When religious services were held in the home, the men sat in the living room and the women in the kitchen. The meals for the men and women were also served and eaten in separate rooms. The home has a summer and a winter kitchen as well as a smokehouse in the attic.
Living on a farm keeps Daniel very busy. He has chores in the house, barn, and garden. He has raised sunflowers, Indian corn, sweet corn, and gourds. He even set up a roadside stand to sell some of his crops. In addition, Daniel has several pets to care for. You can tell he has a great love for animals by the number of pets he has—a dog (Ace), a rooster (Willie), three cats (B.C., Kitkat, Hobbes), a fish (Spot), five rabbits (D.D., Cozette, Floppy, Babs, Thumper), and a pony (Lucy).
In his spare time, Daniel likes to play video games, collect coins and seashells, and create his own original models instead of buying kits. He also likes to draw and paint.
Daniel loves doing things with his parents too. Camping, playing games, reading the scriptures, and having family home evening are all enjoyable. The family likes to invite friends over for family home evening. In the winter, Daniel’s favorite family home evening activity to share with others is ice-skating on the pond across the street and then coming home to make popcorn and hot chocolate.