Sunday, April 26, 2015

More Spring, Richardson's Point, and a Mill Stone

Couldn't help taking a few more spring pictures today when we went for a walk.

 Nauvoo Temple in the spring!
 The pictures below were actually taken in Quincy this week. What a lovely town!

Quincy with our friends, the Udahls.

See details: Charley's Run

Richardson's Point
All of the Nauvoo missionaries met at Richardson's Point this week. I had no idea what part it played in Mormon history so let me catch you up.

About 1,200 acres of this area was homesteaded between 1840-1845 by various members of the Richardson and Stewart families from Kentucky and Ohio, respectively. Benjamin Franklin Stewart was married to Polly Richardson, cementing ties between the families. Polly's brother, George, probably owned the actual land on which Richardson's Point is located. When Benjamin and Polly joined the Mormons in 1842, several family members also joined the Church and most eventually traveled West with the pioneers. They were all living on the land when Brigham Young halted the Mormon exodus at this location in March 1846 due to heavy rain. The travelers had been in route for about a month after leaving Nauvoo that winter.

 The Mormons in Nauvoo, Il, had planned to abandon their city in mid-1846 under mounting persecution, but violent mobs forced them to start leaving in February, when the Mississippi River was frozen- over. Thousands crossed into Iowa and camped for a time near the river before slowly moving west. On March 7th, they could go no further because their heavy wagons were sinking in the mud. They remained bogged down at Richardson's Point for nearly two weeks, but the absence of mobs gave the travelers a welcome measure of peace. While in camp, the Saints (as Church members are called) welcomed three babies into the world, set up a traveling post office, organized wagon companies, and worked on neighboring farms for food and supplies. William Pitts' brass band played for dances and also earned $55 by performing in Keosauqua, IA. The deaths of Edwin Little and James Tanner cast a pall over the camp, but the pioneers were determined to move forward. As rains lifted by the 18th of March, the main camp of several thousand people moved on, still others leaving Nauvoo would stop briefly at Richarson's Point for the next several months.

James Monroe Tanner 1845-46 was the son of Sidney and Louisa Tanner and descendant of Mayflower pilgrims, James died at 15 months from "inflammation of the brain." His mother died a few months later near Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Edwin Sobieski Little, 1816-1846 was Nephew to Mormon leader, Brigham Young. Edwin fell in an icy river helping his uncle with a wagon.. He became ill, likely with pneumonia, and died on 18th of March 1845. He left behind a wife, Harriet, and infant son, George. Both made it safely to the West.
 There was a beautiful and peaceful spirit about the place. An excerpt from the dedicatory prayer said, "Let this be a place of peace and tranquility, a place of meditation, a place for silent prayers to be offered and answered, a place where understanding of spiritual things may increase."
 Today, the Klodt Family has owned this land for generations, beginning with the first purchase in 1895. Brad Klodt now manages Klodt Family Farms, but his family and neighbors have long felt the importance of preserving local history by honoring this as a burial site. This area was cleared and prepared with the help of many friends for the benefit of all who visit.
 The Klodt Family joined with friends, neighbors, and special guests to dedicate Richardson's Point as a private historical site in memory of the pioneers who blazed a trail to the West. 

While Richardson's Point honors the dead, and while many pioneers died during their long journey, it would be a mistake to think the Mormon Trail was full of sorrow. In fact, the mortality rate for Mormon Pioneers averaged about 3.5% for the period 1845-68. compared to 2.9% in 1850 for the United States as a whole and closer to 6 % for travelers on the Oregon and California trails. When the cause of death was listed, cholera was the greatest culprit, followed by other illnesses or accidents. However, most pioneers wrote about their experiences with joy, hope, and faith in their future and faith in God. More than 60,000 people migrated West on the Mormon Trail.

Mill Stone
Remember what Christ said in reference to the state of a person who offends little children? 

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, it were better for him that a mill stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)
 This is a mill stone found in the Mississippi River during the Nauvoo restoration era. It is on display behind the Skovil Bakery here in Nauvoo. It's kinda big don't you think? Shows how much the Savior loves little children and how sad he must be when they are harmed.

May I invite you to look in the mirror? 
How are you treating others especially children?
What can you do better? 
Will you make those changes starting now?

Humanitarian projects are complete and we have turned our attention to preparing for summer guests. Here is our final count with Sister Susan Clement proudly holding the numbers.
 We have touched lives all over the mid-west! small and simple things are great things brought to pass.
See Alma 37:6

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Just breath in the beauty! Yoder's furniture

While Denver is still pushing snow around, this is what we're seeing!

I think spring is my favorite time of year here in Nauvoo or at least one of the top four favorite seasons. :)
In church today, some of the new missionaries talked. One of them compared being in Nauvoo to her experience with new born kittens. She remembers watching many batches of baby kittens stumble around with their eyes closed until that magical day when they grow up enough to open them. She said, "Here we are in Nauvoo singing and having lines in Rendezvous, giving tours in historical sites, and teaching Sunday school, and we still have our eyes closed. So true!
Other funny comments I wrote in my notes today are:
1. Having a memory is really over rated. You can get along just fine without it.
2. You don't need to have a memory to become one.
3. Now that I'm getting close to age 70, I'm thinking that in another decade or so, I'll not be middle aged any more.
4. Never allow your birth certificate to expire. We need to stay active in the lives of family and friends, take pictures, record experiences and make memories.
Most important concept that I took notes on can be found in it's entirety. Check it out!
Lastly, we went to Yoder's furniture store this week. It was incredible seeing beautiful wood products made by the Amish people without the use of electricity. 

I wanted to buy something...anything. Elder Johnson suggested something edible so we wouldn't have to pack it up and take it home next fall. Well....I found brown eggs collected on an Amish farm. They are actually pretty tasty and won't take up any space.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Awe Struck New Missionaries, and the Parable of the Sower

More new missionaries:
When walking the streets of Old Nauvoo, it's pretty easy to tell who is new. We recognize and connect with that overwhelming look of..."WHAT HAVE WE GOTTEN OURSELVES INTO?" expression worn with full vigor by the newbies.

"Not to worry", we tell them. You get to be new for a full week before the next set of missionaries arrive. Then you'll be the trainers- so pay attention. Elder Stroud, a new arrival as of three weeks ago, said today that he's already done many things that are far outside of his comfort zone. We answer, "You haven't seen anything yet! Welcome to Nauvoo!" The director of Rendezvous In Old Nauvoo said that so many of us need a badge of courage for doing all we've been asked. Almost all of us are doing things we've never done nor dared do in our entire lives, (and we're not exactly young.)

We've gone from 104 missionaries to 175 the past few weeks. They all need to be outfitted. I've been sewing up a storm and even taking items home to keep up. This week I've graduated to three days in the sewing room. The pressure is on.

We've also lost the title of Family Living Center Site Leaders because we're getting ready to head up Pioneer Past-Times Site Leaders. School tours will start in a couple of weeks. We currently have about 25 schools scheduled to visit Old Nauvoo in April and May. Lunch is usually spent at Pioneer Past-times so we open it just for schools. It will be open full time after Memorial Day.

Why do we, LDS missionaries, pay our own way and put ourselves in terrifying situations? Elder Faust said it best,"Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands... A major reason this church has grown from its humble beginnings to its current strength is the faithfulness and devotion of millions of humble and devoted people who have only five loaves and two small fishes to offer in the service of the Master. They have largely surrendered their own interests and in so doing have found 'the peace of God, which passeth all understanding'.

 After Buchei's last Rendezvous (their mission of 18 months is finished), we met at Annie's Custard for pie and custard ice cream.

 I'm not sure what I think I'm going to do with Sister Olsen's head...
 ...but as you see, it came out alright.

Parable of the Sower:
One of my favorite talks in General Conference this year was given by Dallin H Oaks called "The Parable of the Sower". It is up to each of us to set our priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful.

We saw this beautiful prepared garden spot on our walk today. 

Please see the full talk at Parable of the Sower by Dallin H Oaks

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter, Prairie Fires, Departing Missionaries

 Happy Easter!
We went for a walk after General Conference today. Look at what we found!

 We can still see the temple from our little house but when the trees leaf out, it will be hidden from view.

If you haven't seen the church's Easter video. Do it now!  

If you'd like to check out what a General Conference is for the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

or the quick version see

Prairie Fire!
Every year, the missionaries sponsor an experience with a prairie fire. We let an acre of open space grow grass all summer and then dry out all winter.
 We invite the community to join us with a free hot dog dinner.
 Then the burning begins.
 It only lasted for 3-4 minutes.

 We're told that prairie fires can move as fast as 70 miles per hour.

My advice: If someone yells fire.... move.

Goodbye to three more missionary couples... some of our favorites that we'll miss dreadfully.