Nauvoo Week 11 (22-28 February 20160
This was an exciting week; filled with a lot of activity. On Monday, a group of missionaries traveled to Quincy, IL “City of Mormon Refuge” to see the sights and to be guided around the area by Brother Gentry (long time resident of Quincy and Temple Worker). We started out visiting the LDS chapel in Quincy; it was built about 10 years ago. Previous to the construction the saints had been meeting in another denomination’s chapel where there was a beautiful stained glass window.The members said, “You can build it, but we will not attend unless the stained glass window is incorporated into the construction.” The blue print was not changed, but the members agreed to move into the new building when this interior adjustment was made (stained glass was brought in from the other church and placed at the front of the chapel on a back lite, free standing wall. It is very beautiful. We then passed by the “other” chapel from where the stained glass was removed. We then traveled to a cemetery where there are many members of the Church buried (as they died from exposure, etc. as they returned to Quincy from Missouri).We then visited the Veteran’s Hospital and Care Center for all of the eligible “Illinois” veterans who need a place to live and or medical care. It is a large 200+ acre retreat for veterans of all wars. We then traveled to the river front where most of the Missouri Expelled Saints crossed the Mississippi from Missouri into Illinois. They crossed by canoe, small boat or walked across on the ice as they arrived in the winter of 1838-1839. Most all of the refugees were forlorn, starving, frozen and had nothing as they had departed Missouri under a threat of Extermination. We then drove passed Al Capone’s summer home in Quincy; it is said to have underground escape tunnels in several directions that extend up to 200 yards long for any needed get- aways.
Perhaps this is a good place to explain a little more about the residents of Quincy and the surrounding area. During the arrival of the starving Mormon refugees, the 1,600 residents of Quincy and Adams County opened their homes to the nearly 6,000 saints. Their kindness and hospitality undoubtedly saved the lives of many of the exiles and made possible the establishment of Nauvoo shortly thereafter. The Quincyans knew little of the Church and its people prior to their arrival. Through the public lectures of Elder Erastus Snow and personal with the refugees themselves, understanding and goodwill was established between the Quincyans and the Saints. Eventually, many of the residents of Quincy joined the Church. Following the “allowed” escape of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum from the Liberty Jail in Missouri, they arrived in Quincy and remained until they moved to Nauvoo IL. President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, “In the annals of our Church, the city of Quincy and its citizens will always occupy a position of the highest esteem. We shall always be grateful for the kindness, the hospitality, the civility with which your people met our people who were exiles from the state of Missouri.”
Many of the saints were initially stationed in Washington Park where a tent city was formed and soon many of the saints were invited into homes of the residents of the surrounding area. They provided food, shelter, clothing and other necessities to the saints. John Wood was very instrumental in the care of the saints; he later went on to serve as Governor of Illinois and was influential in the Saints well-being. Following the tour, as a group we went to Applebee’s in Quincy and enjoyed a wonderful meal. Followed by a stop at Sam’s Club.
Monday evening, we had the special opportunity to hold a dance on the third floor of the Cultural Hall (formerly the Masonic Lodge in Nauvoo).This building was originally a three story building, but had been sold and purchased and the third floor made into part of the roof (eliminating the third floor). When the Church obtained the property, it wanted to restore it to its’ original plans; as they tore off the roof they found the original floor boards that had been covered by the roof. They tore off the roof, and built the walls up then put on a roof; restoring it to its’ original plan.
On Tuesday, we traveled to Keokuk, IA to have passport photos taken and to mail our passport renewal paperwork to the processing center. On the return to Nauvoo we stopped at the Stone Bridge (where Joseph and Emma used to meet for some privacy). The bridge was part of the process they used to drain the previous swamp land of the City of Commerce (now known as Nauvoo).
Wednesday, was a great day in the Temple. Thursday we had a change in our schedule and consequently did not work a double shift. However, we did have a fireside in the afternoon with a wonderful presentation from Bishop Cluff (Physical Facilities Manager of the entire Nauvoo Restoration Project) and great grandson to many of the well-known residents of early Nauvoo and later Utah settlements.
Friday, we worked a double shift to assist with the larger crowds on Friday evening. It was great to have so many patrons in the Temple, we were busy the entire evening. Saturday, was a busy day in the Temple. Also, a Marshallese couple was Sealed in the Temple. President McArthur performed the marriage/Sealing through an interpreter. He told me that I would be doing any others that happen. It was good to see some of the people that we learned to love from our service in the Marshall Islands. They tell us that there are about 200 members in the Temple District. Hopefully, one day we can go to their areas and visit with them.
Sunday was an exceptional day. We went to Church in Mount Pleasant where we did our first “Primary music assignment.” It was a little tense at first, particularly for Tom who doesn’t really know a lot about music. We had fun and we think it went pretty well. They sang the songs we had prepared and we treated them with candy Valentine Hearts. We were supposed to do the music two weeks ago on Valentine’s Day, but the weather was too bad to travel that day, so we treat them today. As we arrived at Church, our Temple President and wife were there and stayed for all of the meetings. Previously, we had been invited along with the other assigned missionary couple (Nauvoo Site Missionaries, Elder & Sister Winn from Nephi, UT) to eat dinner with the Branch President’s parents (Brother & Sister Sanchez) – it is this sister that I had Sealed to her deceased parents the previous Saturday in the Temple (Spanish). Anyway, when they saw the President and his wife, they asked me to invite them to dinner as well as the Public Relations Missionary Couple (Porter’s) that had come. It was quite a group, but we all went to the Sanchez’s home and they fed us and they fed us.They were very tasty and they made enough for an army. They also had two flavors of refresco (punch); one was pineapple, orange and banana the other was made from soaking a type of flower in water and the juice, sweetened with sugar was served. Both were very tasty, but my favorite was the pineapple, orange and banana. We all ate like pigs! Dessert was a lemon pastry which was delicious. When we told our son Paul what we had eaten, he was really envious. He said that was his favorite food on his mission. I ate enough for him, hope he enjoyed them?
Later Sunday night, we met with our committee: Elder & Sister Gammell (Sandy, UT), Elder & Sister O’Brien (Dallas, TX) and us to plan the Easter Dinner on March, 27th. . We will be feeding about 50-55 other Temple missionaries. The dinner will probably be held in the President’s garage. It will be a great event.
We want each and every one of you to know how much we love you. We also want you to know that we have a testimony of this Church and the Father’s plan that provides us opportunity to return and remain with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ in the Celestial Kingdom for eternity. We are blessed to have a living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ, and this work is the most important work that we could be doing at this time of our lives. We miss you, but know that our Father in Heaven is blessing you more than we could if we were at home with you. Stay firm in your beliefs and faith. God bless you til we meet again.
Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw