Nauvoo, Weeks 1 & 2 (13 – 27 Dec 2015)
Today, following Sacrament Meeting (where we spoke) and a family get together we headed downtown to the Raddison Hotel to prepare for our Temple training that would begin Monday, 14 Dec at 8:00am. The weather was cold and it was snowing but we arrived with our little suitcase to begin the three days of training at the Salt Lake Temple.
Monday morning we reported to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, meeting the other nine couples that would be in training with us: E/S Angle (Cochabamba, Bolivia), E/S Covarubuis (Quetzaltenango, Guatemala), E/S Foster (Washington DC), E/S Hurst (Guatemala City), E/S Jeppson (Kiev, Ukraine), E/S Larsen (Copenhagen, Denmark), E/S McKenna (Manhattan, NY), E/S Moon (Nauvoo), and E/S Wallace (Quetzaltenango, Guatemala). As you can see we are serving throughout the world. Training would continue through Wednesday afternoon.
Later that day we returned home to load our car then returned to the hotel. Loading the car was a challenge – many, many suitcases and bags…it just barely fit with a few choice words. Sharon Shaw 1:1 was totally ignored! Tuesday morning we began our drive to Nauvoo. The weather was dry up through Rawlins, Wyoming there the I-80 Eastbound Freeway was closed for a little while. We ate in Rawlins and as we checked the Wyoming Road conditions we saw several dozen big rigs start to pull out of the parking lot, so we followed. The distance from Rawlins to Laramie is about 50-60 miles; the first 20 miles were good and dry, then we hit the blowing, drifting snow and black ice. The next 15 miles were covered in 3.5 hours due to the poor conditions. Suddenly, about 20 miles from Laramie and the late hour we broke free of black ice and “white out” conditions and greater speeds were possible. We cancelled our reservation for Cheyenne and booked a room in Laramie, arriving about 7:30pm. The next morning we arose, ate breakfast and started out for Council Bluffs, Ia. About 10 miles out of Laramie we were again met with “white out” conditions and black ice, the next 10 miles were at about 20 mph. We finally reached Cheyenne, ate lunch then proceeded to Nebraska. The roads were good for the most part and we made it to Omaha about 8:00pm. The city streets were snow packed, but drivable. The next morning we arose, ate breakfast and departed for Nauvoo, IL. We made it to Des Moines, IA, there we ate lunch, washed the car to remove the salt and snow, talked with President McArthur (Nauvoo Temple President) telling him we were about 3 hours from Nauvoo. We had kept in contact with E/S Moon from Layton, UT who was traveling to Nauvoo also; we had departed Salt Lake Valley a couple hours before them…they got stuck in Rawlins for two nights, but drove hard and arrived in Nauvoo about 10:00pm on Saturday.
Around 3:30pm we arrived in Nauvoo and were greeted by the President and his wife, our sponsor couple (E/S Allred) and the Temple Engineer (E/S Fellows). We were shown to our apartment (given a choice of upstairs or downstairs), we chose upstairs (#860 Kimball St, #3). It is across from the Brick Yard. They had some food in fridge and a few things for us to make it through the weekend until Monday morning. We started to unload our suitcases and put things away, but went to bed early.
Sunday we attended church in the Nauvoo 3rd Ward. We then ate dinner with President & Sister McArthur and E/S Moon at the President’s home; followed by our setting apart in the Temple as Temple Ordinance Workers. We then attended the annual Community Christmas Pageant that night in the Stake Center…it was a multi religious celebration. The weather is cool to cold, but not a drop of snow on the ground.
Monday we finished putting our things away then went to Keokuk, IL to a Super Walmart to buy our major purchases. We had the car almost as stuffed with food, etc. as we did suitcases. We put everything away, remembered a few things we had forgotten and called Scott/Malia to send us a few things. It’s nice to know that if you have forgotten something that there is a store down the road where you can buy things.
Tuesday we arrived at the Nauvoo Temple for our orientation. It began about 8:30am and went until 3:00pm. We went home to eat lunch, and then returned for more training at 5:00 – 9:00pm. The Temple is beautiful and there is a really strong feeling within and on the grounds. Although, it has been rebuilt the spirit is really strong and you are humbled to walk where these wonderful ancestors walked. We came home, ate and went to bed as we have a full day tomorrow in the Temple.
Wednesday we assumed our schedule at the Temple arriving at 9:00am – 1:00pm, home for lunch then back again 5:00 – 9:00pm. Our experience has been rich and rewarding each and every day. Between our morning and afternoon assignments we drove to Carthage, IL to see if there was a special presentation with today being the 210th anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smith's birthday - there wasn't, but we participated in the tour and were touched again to see, hear and feel of the prophet's final day.
The Temple was closed both Thursday (Christmas Eve) and Friday (Christmas Day). We had Christmas Eve dinner & social with all Temple Missionaries in the Arrival Center (building where large groups of people meet when they arrive at the Temple). We ate, went caroling on the steps of the Nauvoo Temple (very cold & windy), then returned to the Arrival Center to sing more songs and sip hot chocolate and eat goodies.
Christmas Day we got together with the Nauvoo Site Missionaries (those that give tours, etc. on the grounds). It was a large gathering, around 200 people. It was great food and beautifully decorated with some good entertainment. We had the opportunity of Skyping with all of our children/grandchildren as they gather at Jeff’s and Amanda’s house for a lunch.
Saturday was another opportunity to serve in the Temple. We officiated in one of the Endowment Sessions (a little different as you move into four different rooms during the session), then had other responsibilities in other areas of the Temple. We have visited some of the homes, sites and stores in the area.
Today we attended the Mount Pleasant Branch in Mount Pleasant, IA (about 45 miles one way from Nauvoo). We have been assigned to attend & assist the members in this branch. There is a pretty large group of Spanish members there which we will work closely with. It’s funny, we cross a toll bridge over the Mississippi River from Iowa to Illinois in our travels ($2.00 for a car if coming from Iowa to Illinois – nothing going from Illinois to Iowa). Tonight we have been invited to have dessert at one of the other Temple missionary’s home. All of the couples are really nice and it is a pleasure to serve with them.
We love each and every one of you. We wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. We look forward to sharing our mission with you and pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with you now and forever.
Mom & Dad, Elder & Sister Shaw