Sunday, February 8, 2015

Commemmorating the Exodus of the Mormons in 1846 leaving Nauvoo--out of the US and into the unknown, Nauvoo Mission Anyone?

First of all Happy Birthday and congratulations to our granddaughter, Avry Johnson. She turned 8 years old today and was able to be baptized on her Birthday in Florida. We love you and are so proud of you!!!!

What an amazing week we've had. So amazing that I'm going to only give you a taste of the excitement and then post again midweek in order to give the topic justice.

Saturday, February 7th and Sunday the 8th were big days for us. People from the surrounding community came to help us celebrate. The other big state we heard mentioned often was guests coming from Utah.

We started with a continental breakfast in the Family Living Center which was our home away from home this week.
 There must have been 300 people crammed in the site. I'll give you an accurate number after our training meeting on Wednesday.
After feasting on free food provided by the missionaries, we had a short program. Elder Johnson and I sang with a choir.
Then the Shultz's and the Brinley's gave us the history on what transpired during those trying days starting February 3, 1846 and ending with the Nauvoo War in the fall of that year and the final expulsion.

From the Family Living Center, we paraded down Parley Street. Elder Johnson marched with a brigade representing the Nauvoo Legion. We didn't quite have 3,500 men, but perhaps 35.
Horse drawn wagons carried some guests but primarily we walked the mile or so to the Mississippi River where the families in 1846 waited to cross the river.

Some famlies were pulled by their fathers in a handcart.
We passed by the blacksmith shop where many of the 3,000 wagons were assembled.
Most of us wore tags with names and stories of ancestors who walked these very roads. I wore three names: Charity Arms, Eleanor Kountz, and Lodes Ann Roberts. There were others but we were limited to three. Elder Johnson walked for his great great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Johnson. I'll talk more about him later too.
At the end of the trail, President Gibbons talked and we sang, Come, Come, Ye Saints.

Today, Sunday, we ended the celebration by reciting untold stories. Approximately, 25 of the missionaries prepared and memorized a story of one of their ancestors who lived here in the 1840's. I'll relate some of their inspiring tales in a few days.

Elder Johnson and I were selected to sing, "Gather to Zion", a beautiful song recommended by my Aunt Mary Marble written by Kathleen C. Waite quoting her relative Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt who was part of the Nauvoo exodus. The song was recently written for the Daughter's of Utah Pioneer song writing competition. It was a very nice addition to the program, but I'm grately relieved it is over. Elder Johnson has a beautiful and mesmorizing voice. I just sing--mostly on key, but nothing special. Therefore, I will sleep well tonight. There weren't as many people tonight as at yesterday's events, but there was probably 275. I pretended that they were all my grandchildren.

So, until I finish the story in a few days, here is something to think about. Have you ever thought you'd like to come to Nauvoo on a mission but assumed you'd never be chosen? Well, President Gibbons told us at our training meeting last week, that there are still about 15 slots open for missionary couples-- two of which need to be teamsters. Is that you? We're having an amazing experience--exhausting, but sooooo fun.

We never dreamed that our life could pull together long enough to make this happen but if you trust in the Lord and show some faith, it's amazing what can transpire.

Here's all you need to do. Apply with the availability date of April of this year. You'd also need to commit for 18 months. Mention Nauvoo in the notes but of course, you'll be called according to inspiration. Anyway, you'd have a good chance of getting in if you applied right away. 

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