Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hannibal and Quincy again, Cast party at Pioneer Pastimes, A happy ending/beginning

 See President and Sister Gibbons below
 What an amazing man and sweet wife. We can't say enough about them.

Guests are sparse now-a-days after our Nauvoo sites accommodated over 55,000 guests in the past 12 months.

Did I mention that we had almost 11,000 guests at Pioneer Pastimes for the month of July 2015? The numbers may seem a little off, but keep in mind that if guests leave and then come back, we count them again. What we don't count is how long they stay. Sometimes they play with us for hours.

 We took one last trip to Hannibal, Missouri, this time taking some of our friends with us who hadn't yet been there.

 We also went to the cave where Mark Twain had explored as a child. 
Many historians think that this is the cave that inspired many of his books. 
You'll be relieved to know that we saw no sign of Injun Joe.

 We also hiked up to a light house here in Hannibal.
What a view!
 There's a statue of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn at the base of the hill.
 There were 440 steps from the base of the hill to the top.
 We also stopped in Quincy on the way home and showed the other missionaries the monument that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints erected in gratitude for the hospitality that the residents of Quincy showed the LDS people in 1839. The good people of Quincy, Illinois literally saved their lives after the Mormon Extermination Order in Missouri. 

Important to note that it was in Quincy that the whole country was blessed only a few decades later. Remember the Abraham Lincoln/Douglas Presidential debate in Quincy was when the tides turned in Lincoln's favor. What would have happened to America had Douglas been at the helm during the Civil War? I shudder to think about it. 

Our Rendezvous cast had a social at Pioneer Pastimes.
 The game of Fox and Geese was a hit.

 Check out the tongue action below. All this time I have been working on my technique for good bowling, but never thought of correcting my facial expression.

Best story yet...
 So, here's a fun story. Sister Sharon Watkins came to Nauvoo with us April 2014. Her first husband died many years ago when Sharon was expecting their first child. Her married life after that has been a rocky road to say the least. Her assignment here in Nauvoo as a missionary has been public relations the past half year or so and her office was right next to a widower, Elder Larry Nicholl who has been in charge of computer support for all missionaries. 
(How would you like the job of computer support for hundreds of senior missionaries? Did I hear you say that would be your worst nightmare? Hmmm! You're probably not alone in your sentiments.)

 Anyway, you might have guessed, the two became good friends and then fell in love. They got married yesterday just a week after Sharon was released as a missionary. Elder Nicholl owns a home here and they will continue their life living here in Nauvoo. Rumor has it that Sharon will most likely continue her public relations... not as a missionary but perhaps, in politics. We'll see where these two go. I suspect they will have a big influence on the community here as both of them are well known and loved.
 They were pulled in a buggy up to the women's garden where the guests waited.
 A couple of Sharon's granddaughters were flower girls. (Check out their cute pioneer dresses...They were custom made by someone named Sister Amy Johnson.  Remember I made pioneer dresses for Pioneer Pastimes? Well, you never know what other uses might pop up. )

 They were not married in the temple since both of them had been sealed to their first spouse.
 There were plenty of guests. This picture gives you a taste.
Whenever there are five Sundays in a month, the adult men and women meet together instead of splitting up for the last hour of church. I took a few notes today.

See Why Would Anyone Want to Join Such a Church?

My questions for you:
1. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
2. Do you believe that Christ was resurrected and is alive today?
3. Do you believe that Christ is capable of restoring His church as it was originally organized with apostles and prophets and proper Priesthood authority?

Well, it happened! Christ Himself came to earth and restored His gospel beginning with Joseph Smith. Of course, it's not all about Joseph Smith...It's all about Christ. Everything in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is about our Savior. Come and find out for yourself.

What is the  "doctrine of Christ"?
See 2 Nephi 31-32 and 3 Nephi 11

Will you take the next step to finding Christ?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Avry, is that you? Sewing crew heading home, last home evening with the Shaw family, and Bishop's Hill

This little girl visited us at Pioneer Pastimes last week. She is related to us a few generations back. She looks so much like our granddaughter, Avry, that I had to take a picture. For those of you who know Avry, look into her eyes...what do you think?
Avry Johnson below.

 We had a little breakfast commemorating our sewing days together. The first of the group leave this week. The rest will follow within the next couple of months. From left to right, Sister Hatch, Udall, Jones, Toomer, Wilkes, Dalton, Boyle, and me. What a team we were.

 Our Nauvoo friends, the Shaws, were going to bring dinner over last night and we were going to provide dessert and a little lesson for the kids. The main cook, Stephanie, and mother of the group is expecting a baby and found herself too sick to perform any major tasks. So Daddy pulled out frozen pizza and sheepishly brought the family over without his wife. After pizza, we taught the kids about how every member of the family is important, and has an impact on the others. For an object lesson, we had the kids help us make cookies. Then we secretly took a portion of cookie dough and added  extra salt. We compared the terrible results of the one spoiled cookie to how negative behavior can affect the whole family. On the other hand, cooperative work can bring about yummy cookies. Of course, cherry pie and chocolate ice cream added a nice touch to the cookies.

For preparation day this week we went to Bishop's Hill, Illinois. Bishop's Hill was founded in 1846 the same year the Mormon's left Nauvoo heading for the Salt Lake Valley. Eric Janson is the founder. He along with about 1,500- 4000 Swedes left Sweden in search of religious freedom. They wanted to be able to read the Bible and worship in their own way rather than what was being forced upon them in Sweden at that time.
 Only about 600-700 people actually settled here. Of the original group, some died while others got distracted and settled elsewhere. The town was run as a commune with all property and belongings considered community owned. In 1861, Eric was shot by a disgruntled husband whose wife refused to leave the commune. Two years later without their leader, the commune failed and the property and belongings were equally divided by its occupants.

The similarities between Bishop's Hill and Nauvoo were striking to me. Both Eric and Joseph claimed to be inspired by God which created enemies with other religious organizations. They were born about the same time (1808 and 1805). Both Eric and Joseph left their native land and inspired others to follow.  Both Eric and Joseph were fairly young when they were killed--Eric 42 and Joseph 38. 
 Bishop's Hill like Nauvoo is deemed a historical site and restored as a museum town. Too bad Bishop Hill doesn't have a crew of 250 volunteer missionaries to keep it up and make it beautiful. Despite that fact, it was a darling little town.
 The difference is that there is no such thing as Jansonism anymore while there are almost 16 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 185 countries around the world. 
By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I served in the Sarah Granger Kimball home where the Relief Society women's organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was first inspired. A small group of women wanted to organize their efforts in helping to take care of the poor and assist in building the temple. Today it is the oldest and largest women's suffrage organization in the world providing service to millions world wide.

Which brings me to another point. Today in church, we studied in Acts Peter takes the gospel of Jesus Christ to the gentiles. God loves all his children and all have or will have the opportunity to accept or reject His gospel plan. 

Sometimes, it seems otherwise. There is a great deal of pain and suffering around the world. We don't usually understand the workings of deity. Young Sister Uata quoted a poem today at church:

"And God Said No!"

I asked God to take away my pride, and God said "NO".
He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said "NO".
He said her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience, and God said "NO".
He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation,
it isn't granted, it's earned.

I asked God to give me happiness, and God said "NO".
He said He gives blessings, happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain, and God said "NO".
He said suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow, and He said "NO".
He said I must grow on my own, but He will prune me to make me fruitful.

I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me,
And God said "Ah, finally you have the idea"!
 Author: unknown
Will you accept the plan of happiness set up by our Father in Heaven? It is the way to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Illinois State Capital, The Crumpley's from Colorado, Touring Nauvoo with my Sister, Verena, and family

For preparation day last week, two of the young sister missionaries wanted to go with us to Springfield, Illinois. We stopped at the Illinois capital building before going to the Abraham Lincoln museum.

 It's a beautiful building don't you think?

 We also enjoyed the Lincoln museum. What a great man... loved his sense of humor. During one of the presidential elections, Lincoln was accused of being two-faced. His reply was, "If I had two faces, why would I use this one." He has a point. :)
 We went to Olive Garden for lunch, but forgot to take a picture so this will have to do. (Eating at franchise restaurants is a real treat when we're isolated in small town America.)
 Robert and Ruann Crumpley from Arvada came to Nauvoo. They report that Colorado still exists. 
Is that true? We miss all of you, but it won't be long now.
 My sister and three of her children came to Nauvoo.
 We went on an oxen ride with them. Amazingly, all this time has passed before we finally took time to experience this part of Nauvoo.

 Below are a few of the reader boards that accompany the oxen ride.

 Since we worked at Pioneer Pastimes in the morning, we had a few hours in the afternoon to take the Beckstrands touring through some of the sites.
 Elder Johnson hasn't lost his touch at the barrel making demonstration.
 This view is outside the Jonathan Browning Gun Shop. I didn't get the best picture, but if you look close, you'll see the temple peering above the trees. In the front you see the fenced off grave sight of little Emma Eliza Browning. Emma died here in Nauvoo, but what comfort Jonathan and Elizabeth Browning found knowing that with temple blessings, their family can be sealed together beyond the grave and into the eternities.

 We got a picture of one of the steepest stairs in Nauvoo below. Lucy Mack Smith, mother of Joseph Smith, was given this home in 1846 before the saints left Nauvoo. She was too crippled to endure the long trip to the Salt Lake Valley and remained in Nauvoo for most of her remaining years. She was forced to leave during the Nauvoo War in the fall of 1846, but returned a few years later when the enemies stopped harassing them.
 Rope making... fun for all.
 Nauvoo blossoms as big as a child's smiling face.
 This is the grave sight of Lucy Mack Smith and her husband Joseph Smith Sr, parents of Joseph Smith Junior. Note the Mississippi River and beautiful blossoms in the background.
 The trip wouldn't be complete without including Carthage.
 Our preparation day was spent taking the group to Quincy.
 Gotta love this story too.

We ended the day with lunch from one of our favorite franchises. Elder Johnson and mine was Panda Express. The Beckstrands chose KFC.

In Sunday School today, Mormon's all around the world studied the story of Saul who later changed his name to Paul in the New Testament. Remember the story?  
See Acts 22:6-16 or Acts 22 (scripture form)

 I was struck with the thought of how alarming it would be to wake up one day and realize that you had been working passionately for years on the wrong team. It seems obvious to me that Saul truly thought that Christ and His followers were wicked blasphemers who should be eliminated from off the face of the earth. We know the rest of Saul/Paul's story of course and many of Christ's teachings are recorded from Paul's teachings as he embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ and worked just as passionately to defend His word.

So, my invitation to you is to learn for yourself which is the Savior, Jesus Christ's gospel and work to be on His team. It doesn't matter what choices you've made up to this time in your life. There is enough power in the atonement to heal and change even Saul so why not each of us.