Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nauvoo Week 52 (5 - 11 December 2016)

Nauvoo Week 52 (5 – 11 December 2016)

The final week in Nauvoo was a very special experience filled with several spiritual and meaningful opportunities all of which added to the depth of our testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the saints who lived in Nauvoo.

On Monday, we traveled to Carthage to again experience the last days of the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum.  We were the only ones there and so we had some special treatment by Elder & Sister Stroud (brother of Sharon’s good friend Robyn Anderson). 
They showed us the video of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s testimony of the Book of Mormon then took us to the jail and spent some very special time with us – giving us more to the history of the martyrdom and the events of June 27, 1844.  In the bedroom, where they were killed, the spirit was so strong and we just sat there after listening to the recording of John Taylor singing “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.”  We could envision the mob with their blackened faces charge up the stairs threatening to kill everybody and force open the door, firing as quickly as possible at the four men (Joseph, Hyrum, John and Willard).  We left the jail with a much deeper admiration for their sacrifice and sealing their testimonies with their blood. 
We also took “Flat Stanley” around the Nauvoo flats and shot pictures with him for Phoebe’s school project.

Tuesday, we served in the morning shift in the Temple and trained a new couple in the Baptistry as the couple we had trained last week was reassigned due to health issues. 

On Wednesday, we served both in the morning and the afternoon shifts at the Temple.  Thursday we again served in the morning and then went to lunch with Elder & Sister Thompson (AZ).  They came last March and have another 4 months to serve.  They are wonderful people and bring a great spirit to the Temple.  They had served in the Mesa Temple.  We will miss them and their enthusiasm.

Later on Thursday Sharon had organized a special Sealing session for the names that we had worked on during the last several months.  Thomas Jackson and Mary Shaw and their 8 children were all Sealed together for time and all Eternity.  Sharon had arranged for other missionaries to come and act for the children; her and I were proxy for Thomas and Mary. 
Elder Peterson was the Sealer and did a wonderful job.  The spirit was so strong and we all felt that those people were all present in spirit.  Following this Temple session we all went to Keokuk, IA to “Angelini’s Restaurant and had dinner.  It has been and was great to associate and serve with all of these special people:  Brother & Sister Swing, Elder & Sister Despain, Elder & Sister Barrowman, Sister Udall and Sister Burgoyne.

Friday, we served both morning and afternoon shifts in the Temple.  In the morning we were subbing for Brother & Sister Droste, who were in Utah attending a marriage of their grandson.  They are also going to meet with many of the missionaries who returned home in November from many of the states surrounding Utah.  They will meet for a temple session in the Salt Lake Temple and then go to lunch.  We are sorry that we will not be there as of yet.

Saturday was a special day.  I was given the opportunity and privilege to Seal a Marshallese couple to their deceased parents.  There was a small delay in making sure we had the proper paperwork, but all went well.  I performed the ceremony in English and the son of the couple would translate the ordinance into Marshallese.  The spirit was strong and we all shed many tears.  This was a wonderful opportunity to perform this Sealing on my last day in the Temple.  Following the Sealing we went to Elder & Sister Marshall’s home and met with them and Brother & Sister Hart (afternoon coordinators) for lunch.  We had some ribs and all the trimmings…it was great.  We then served in the afternoon in the Temple and had some final, special experiences in the Nauvoo Temple.  We will never forget the spirit that we have felt here.  We have learned much from what we have felt and now will seek to deepen our knowledge through study and prayer.

Sunday, we did not travel to Mount Pleasant but attended the Nauvoo 1st Ward.  There we had the opportunity to say “goodbye” to a lot of the district missionaries (Spurgeon, Nelson, Krumperman, Sumner, Stevens, King, Hekking, Matlock, Swing, and many others to numerous to mention).  We were invited along with Elder & Sister Moon (UT) to dinner with President & Sister Irion in their home across from the Temple. 
It was a wonderful evening, sharing thoughts about our service in the Temple during the last year.  We concluded with pictures, hugs and well wishes.  We were hoping the evening would never end.  The Moon’s and us walked over in front of the Temple and took some final physical pictures of the Temple (we will always have a spiritual picture of the beautiful Temple).

We are grateful for the spiritual experience that we have had.  We know we have been about our Heavenly Father’s work as we have seen and felt His hand in all that we have done.  We realize how blessed we have been to have had this window of opportunity; there are many other couples that would give their right arms to serve here.  We pray that we have made a difference; the experience has made a huge difference in our lives…we will never be the same. We pray that our children and grandchildren will always remember their personal experience when they visited this past summer and that they will bring their children to Nauvoo to strengthen their testimonies. 

We pray that the Lord will bless each of us with His spirit at all times, that we will do our best to become, through our trials and tribulations, what He needs us to become.  This is the gospel of Jesus Christ; it is the only true and loving church on the face of the earth.  May God bless us all to endure to the end.

Mom  Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Nauvoo Week 51 (28 November - 4 December 2016)

Nauvoo Week 51 (28 November – 4 December 2016)

Paul’s Birthday was on the 28th.  He spent the day traveling to California, for Thanksgiving with the Beames and Disneyland.  They had a great time, and it’s hard to believe that our baby is getting so old!

This week was full of training at the Temple.  We trained three couples in the Baptistry; they moved us from Tuesday evening Baptistry to Thursday morning.  The new workers are having to take over positions that were held by others, who left in November.  We also trained a couple to take over our Wednesday night Initiatory assignment.

The Droste’s were going to go to Utah the week before we finished our mission, so we went to dinner with them.  We may see them when we get home.
  They are district workers who are from Iowa, who live on the grounds and work full time. 

On Thursday, following our morning service we went to lunch with Brother & Sister Morgan (Hannibal, IL).  They are wonderful friends that have served in the Temple for many years.  He was recently changed from an Ordinance Worker to Veil Worker due to his call to the branch presidency.  They come to the Temple every other week for the entire week…they are amazing!

They have decorated the grounds for Christmas, it looks great. 
I had picked up some Christmas decorations from the Missionary DI after Christmas last year, so I decorated our apartment so we could enjoy them before we come home.  The Christmas tree and manger scene were beautiful. 

Saturday was Grandpa Pearson’s Birthday, he turned 94!   The Lord has blessed him with good health and we are anxious to see him soon.  We love you Dad.  We worked Saturday evening in the Temple.  Our assignment included officiating the final session for the evening.  A couple had come from Texas and just missed the 5:00pm session.  So they did some Initiatory while waiting for the last session.  They were Spanish.  Tom was able to do Initiatory in Spanish for the husband.  They were the only ones there for the session and so we asked if they would like to have it presented in Spanish.  They happily said yes and they had their own special session and we were blessed to be the officiator and follower.  We talked to them afterwards in the Celestial room and they told us that they had just been sealed in the Temple last September.  This was her husband’s second time through.  The first time was in English and he had not understood it very well.  It meant so much to them that they could have it in Spanish and that he understood it so much better.  Tom was the only one that evening who could do it in Spanish which was such a tender mercy.  The Lord is in charge and He is in the details. 

On Sunday we went to church in Mt. Pleasant.  It had started to snow a little bit in Nauvoo.  As we traveled along the snow started to really come down.  The main roads were being plowed but the side roads were not.  It was fast Sunday and we were able to bear our testimonies and express our love for the members.  We have really enjoyed being able to serve in that branch.  We did the primary music every other week for a while, and the primary program, which was fun to be a part of.  We decided to leave after Sunday school because of the weather.  The main road was okay but the side roads were quite slippery, but we made it back safe and sound.  We had “Break the fast” dinner at the Elder & Sister McBride’s apartment, with Elder & Sister Lawson and President & Sister Smith, who is the second counselor in the Temple Presidency. 
We then went to the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center to see a live nativity scene that the site missionaries had put together.  It was wonderful and we really enjoyed it. 

We have only one week left and it is bitter sweet.  We will miss being here as the pioneer spirit is so strong here.  We have met and worked with many wonderful people and have learned so much more about our Prophet Joseph Smith and those who lived here.  We are excited to be back with our family and look forward to spending special time with all of you.  We love you and thank you for all for your support and prayers. 

Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Monday, November 28, 2016

Nauvoo Week 50 (21 - 27 November 2016)

Nauvoo Week 50 (21 – 27 November 2016)

This was another exciting week!  We continued with the training of the new missionary couples throughout the week.  On Monday, we had a special Temple Session to facilitate their training and then had a wonderful luncheon at the Arrival Center. 
The new couples then had the afternoon to finish moving in, shopping and getting acquainted with the area.  We helped the Borrowman’s get set up with their internet modem and DVR which they greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, started the new week and the first day following the semi-annual close down for cleaning; there were quite a few people, but not as many as we had expected-the weather was somewhat unsettled.  We worked both the morning and evening shifts as the training of the new missionaries continued.

On Wednesday we served in the morning and the Temple was closed in the afternoon to allow all to prepare for Thanksgiving.  The Presidency held a training meeting following the morning shift in the Arrival Center.  Following the meeting we traveled to Burlington, IA to eat dinner and go to a movie.

Thursday was THANKSGIVING; and we are so grateful for all that we have been blessed with.  We have been born of goodly parents, have wonderful brothers and sisters, have eternal companions, have been blessed with beautiful and faithful children and grandchildren and have loyal friends and neighbors.  What more could you ask for! 
We love our mission in Nauvoo and feel privileged to serve here and to walk where the Prophet Joseph and our ancestors walked.  We have been blessed beyond our wildest expectations in spite of our natural man desires.  We are grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who loves us.  We are grateful for a loving and selfless elder brother, Jesus Christ, who gave His life that we might live.  We are grateful for the Holy Ghost and the inspiration, comfort and patience He shows to us.  We know more by what we feel than what we know by what we know because of its’ promptings and testifying to us.  We know the President Thomas S. Monson is a living Prophet of God and as we listen and follow his council we will become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.
 We know the Book of Mormon to be true and we are members of the one and only true church on the face of the earth.  We love life and the many, many blessings that have been showered down on us.  We give all credit of who we are to our Father in Heaven.

Friday, we served in the afternoon/evening shift and had another wonderful experience.  Also, Peter Christensen (a former Assistant and missionary in the Marshall Islands) visited us. 
We had a great lunch with him and then he attended the Temple in the afternoon.  It was great to see him again, he works in Missouri with the US Government Bureau of Land Management.

Saturday, Pete came over and we went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Hamilton, IL.  The food was great, we then served in the Temple for the rest of the day.  Pete returned home.

Sunday, we went to church in Mount Pleasant, IA and enjoyed the meetings.  Following the block meetings we visited two less active families: Luis & Elizabeth Lugo and Clarence & Cindy.  We let them know that we missed them at church and invited them to attend.  We then returned home and talked with Scott & Malia and Paul & Kellie.

We are grateful for each of you.  We love you with all of our hearts and look forward to again giving you all hugs.  Thanks for your patience, support and love. 

Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Nauvoo Week 49 (14 - 20 November 2016)

Nauvoo Week 49 (14 – 20 November 2016)

Monday was our last day with Scott and Malia.  We packed up our things and for lunch we went to Portello’s, with Malia and the kids. 
Scott came from work and met us there.  Then it was time for goodbyes, which are not ever easy.  We had such a good time with them and we will miss them immensely this Christmas.  The former Branch President of Mt. Pleasant has moved to Chicago.  They had given us there address, which was only 14 miles from Scott’s.  So before heading back to Nauvoo, we stopped to see them.  The kids were still in school so we saw the younger kids and the mom, Diana.  They have a nice home and she said that everyone had been so friendly and helpful.  The branch is sure going to miss them.  We have this week off as the Temple is still closed for cleaning.

We were invited to eat at the new Temple Presidents house with Elder & Sister Thompson who are also temple missionaries. 
President & Sister Irion are wonderful.  They are so easy to talk to and we had a great evening.

Thursday the Temperature was 75 degrees!  Elder & Sister Marshall asked us if we would like to go golfing with them.  It was crazy that in November we could be playing golf without even a jacket.  That evening a few other couples and us went to dinner at a Chinese place in Fort Madison.

Friday was Tom’s 65th Birthday.  He can now draw Medicare.  We went to Quincy with Elder & Sister Moon to eat at Texas Roadhouse then to a show afterwards “Jack Reacher”.

On Saturday ten new temple missionary couples arrived throughout the day.  We have been hosts for two couples; Elder & Sister Barrowman and Elder & Sister Sorenson.  As they arrived we would take them to their apartment and help them unload their cars.  Both the Borrowman’s and the Sorenson’s worked in the Jordan River Temple.

Sunday they were set apart by the presidency and then we had some training afterwards in the Temple.  We went through the endowment rooms and had training in each room.  We then had the Barrowman’s Sorenson’s Sister Udall and Sister Burgoyne over for dinner. 
We are looking forward to getting to know all of the couples better through our last weeks.  We love serving here in Nauvoo and have felt so privileged to have such a special mission.  We will have many wonderful memories that will stay with us forever.  We are also excited to be returning home to our family, we love you all so much. 

Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw