Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nauvoo Week 24 (23 - 29 May 2016)

Nauvoo Week 24 (23 – 29 May 2016)

This week continues with the visit of Scott, Malia & Corban.  Monday morning Tom and Scott played golf again and had a wonderful time.  Later that day we visited a few more of the sites and learned much about the saints in their various difficulties.  
We visited the Mansion House, the Smith Family Homestead, the Smith Family Cemetery and the little Red Brick Store.  These are all owned and operated by the Community of Christ Church.  We enjoyed our visits and learned much about the Smith Family.

On Tuesday, Scott, Malia and Tom attended the Temple; enjoyed the session and then went on a little tour of the Temple.  We all did some “Shaw” family names and it was a wonderful feeling.  We ate lunch then went to “Annie’s” a favorite yogurt store in town.  Corban particularly enjoyed his chocolate yogurt as his face and shirt were covered with it.  Scott, Malia and Corb then packed up and left for Lake Zurich.  It was hard to see them leave, but it was great to spend some wonderful time with them.  They promise us they will be back following the birth of Ruby.  We served in the Temple later that day and had a wonderful experience in the Baptistry.

On Wednesday, it was a normal day; we served on the afternoon/evening shift.

Thursday, we served in the morning and had some great experiences with the people that we came in contact with.  Later we went shopping to prepare for the arrival of Peter Christensen (one of our missionaries from that served with us in the Marshall Islands).

Friday morning we served in the Temple and met Peter later in the afternoon.  Prior to his arrival we ate with Elder & Sister O’Brien and watched the season finale of NCIS (Denozo’s final episode).  We then left and picked up Peter who was waiting for us at the front of the Temple.  He had been looking around for a few minutes; we had just enough time to drive through the “Flats-where all the restored homes are” to show him some of the highlights, we then all went to bed.

Saturday, the weather was beautiful so we were able to feed Pete breakfast and then we began our visits to the many sites.  I think he was surprised at the condition of the sites and the spirit that exists here in Nauvoo.  He came with a few names of relatives that had lived here in Nauvoo.  We visited the Lands and Records Building (you can go in with names and look them up on a “Nauvoo Only” database) he found pages of information and the sisters gladly burnt him a CD with all of the “Nauvoo Only” information.  We visited some of the parcels of land that his ancestors had owned; I think this was a highlight of his trip.  We then left to serve in the Temple and he continued to visit additional sites. 

We had agreed to meet the next morning at 7:30am to go to the Mount Pleasant Branch; we were in charge of the Primary music that day.  Sharon put together a wonderful little program about Memorial Day and the children seemed to love it; they all took home a small American Flag and, of course, small candies treat.

Following the Sunday meetings we returned to our apartment, had a wonderful dinner and then took Pete to visit the Community of Christ Church’s restored homes.  Pete was really impressed with them, but mentioned that he didn’t feel the same spirit. 

We love each of you and want you to know how proud we are to be your parents and grandparents.  We love you with all of our hearts and can’t wait to see you as you visit us this summer.  We pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with you all.  Happy Birthday to Porter on the 27th, big #12.   We are proud that you were found worthy to receive the Priesthood, we look forward to seeing you pass the Sacrament.
Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Monday, May 30, 2016

Nauvoo Week 23 (16 - 22 May 2016)

Nauvoo Week 23 (16-22 May 2016)

This was an exciting week with many activities and an upcoming visit from Scott, Malia and Corban.  On Monday, Tom played golf by himself and shot his best round of the year…is there a message here or did he fill out the scorecard and then play the round?

On Tuesday, we traveled to Keokuk, IA to do some shopping for the visit of Scott, Malia and Corban.  We are really excited for them to visit Nauvoo!  Later that day we served as Baptismal Coordinators in the Temple, it was a rather slow evening but we are promised as the summer arrives it will be almost nonstop.  We had better enjoy a little peace and quiet now.  We soon hope to have our “permanent” team assigned so we can begin to train them in the duties and responsibilities of the position.  Late in the day Sharon became ill and returned home a little early, hopefully able to shake off what she had as we are leaving tomorrow on a tour that had been cancelled (tornado warnings, etc.) about a month ago to the Church sites in Missouri.

On Wednesday, we arose early to meet with the other couples going on the tour with Brother Craig R. Dunn.  As Sharon awoke this morning she felt it best that she not go and expose all the others to her “Nauvoo Crud.”  So, she stayed home and I went with the other 6 couples (we had paid for the tour a few months ago).  She assured me she would be fine and would just rest and get better for Scott, Malia and Corban’s visit.

We met in the Temple parking lot and headed off in a small tour bus to Adam Ondi Ahman.  I remember about 20 years ago a few us from the Guard were at a conference in Kansas City, MO and we took one afternoon and drove to what we thought was Adam Ondi Ahman…now that I have been there I am not sure we ever knew where we were?  The site is well marked now and there are plenty of signs directing you to the various landmarks (I know this was not there 20 years ago).  As we arrived we ate our sack lunches at a designated picnic area, then walked down to a site where you could see most of the 4,000 acres that the Church owns. 
It was a beautiful site; most of the acreage is being farmed by people on a lease.  There are also about 40 little ponds that dot the area and they are all connected via underground piping. There were 4x4 tractors with extending arms for spraying that were going over the ground spraying something…they were pretty impressive!

We then traveled to Spring Hill and Tower Hill within the acreage.  Zions Camp had passed through much of the Adam Ondi Ahman area and the Prophet Joseph had stopped and declared that at one certain point was the site of the altar that Adam and Eve had prayed at every day after being driven from the Garden of Eden. 
There is a small stone here without inscription.  We then walked to Preacher’s Rock we Brother Dunn did an experiment of the wonderful acoustics of this little valley.  Several of the brethren climbed upon the rock and I went down the hill and about another 120 yards.  They then spoke in normal tone and I was able to hear as if they were next to me…I spoke from my spot in a normal voice and they heard me clearly.  With nothing but a few trees and a wide open sky it was amazing to find such a spot where you voice could be heard for hundreds of yards. 
There were several trees planted in the bottom of the little valley, he stated there was a tree for each cabin that stood in this area.

We then proceeded to Far West to see the Temple site (cornerstones) and to hear of the trials of the Saints in that location.  It was told that following the “Driving out” of the Saints a few of the Apostles snuck back there at midnight from Quincy, IL and dedicated the Temple site. 
This was really risky, but they figured they could do it in the night and not be killed by the mob(s). 

We then continued on to Liberty Jail in Liberty, MO.  Boy how this town has changed!  It is now a huge city (basically a suburb of Kansas City).  The Visitor’s Center there is very touching and the spirit is in abundance.  The Church has reconstructed about half of the Liberty Jail inside the center and it is amazing.  It truly was a very bad situation particularly seeing that he and others were incarcerated unjustly…they kept them in the jail for sufficient time to drive all of the members out of Missouri and then they let them escape.  The jail itself was very cold, hardly any light at all and had a terrible odor.  It had been constructed just prior to his/their entering and was pretty much escape proof.  The walls were approximately 48” thick (16-18” stone walls, 16-18” of loose rock and finally 12” x 12” timbers for the inside walls.  It was dismal, dark, damp and some of Joseph’s worst days were spent here.  Even though this was a difficult time for him and the others, he grew much and learned much about who he was and what he was becoming.  Many people think this is where Joseph rebuked the guards following hours of bragging from the jailers about the atrocities they had committed with the saints.  This was done in a holding cell in Richmond, MO.

We spent the night here in Liberty and the next morning drove to Independence, MO.  We visited the Temple Lot and stood on the four cornerstones of the future #1 Temple.  Joseph described that in that area there would be built 24 Temples, but the cornerstones that were laid out were for the # 1 Temple where Christ will reign as King of Kings or of the government of the world following the second coming and during the millennium.  Jerusalem will be the headquarters of the gospel where Christ will reign as Lord of Lords.  Originally, the Church purchased 63 acres in Independence, but this property was all taken from them when they were driven out.  The Church has since repurchased 23 acres of the Temple site.

We visited the Community of Christ Temple (not used the same as our temples). 
Independence is the world-wide headquarters of this Church.  Their Temple is used as a Visitor’s Center and a place for daily prayer at 1:00pm for Peace throughout the World.  They have a large auditorium which holds approximately 1,600 people.  It is a beautiful building.  Across the street from the Temple stands the Community of Christ’s (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Assembly Hall that is used for their world-wide conference (held approximately every two years-this year June 4-11, 2016).  They hold many other events here and rent it out for other special occasions in the community.  We visited the “Old Stone Church” which was the Community of Christ’s first official meeting house…it was locked so we were not able to see the inside where we understand they have many beautiful stained glass windows.

We then traveled to the Kansas City Temple and attended a Temple Session.  It is a beautiful Temple and we enjoyed our time there and felt the spirit very strongly. 
Following this last stop we headed home, arriving around 9:00pm.  It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the history of the Saints; their trials and tribulations and yes, the blessings that came to them through their obedience.  As we continue to learn more about these faithful people and their willingness to leave all of their families, traditions and belongings to follow a living Prophet we are in awe of their sacrifice and willingness to forego many pleasures, a much easier life and to give their all to their God.  We are grateful to them for their diligence, strength, faith and love of their God; we now stand proudly and perhaps a little taller…but we are standing on their shoulders.

On Friday, I served in the Temple (Sharon is still recovering from her illness).  Early evening, Scott, Malia and Corban arrived from Lake Zurich; it was so good to see them and to get hugs from them.  Corban is growing and Malia is getting closer to delivering their little girl (Ruby). 
Later that night, following dinner, we attended the Nauvoo production of “Rendezvous.”  It’s kind of a play that depicts life in Nauvoo up to the exodus of the Saints.  They then went to Hotel Nauvoo and spent the night. 

On Saturday, Scott and Tom played golf in Hamilton, IL and had a great time.  They returned and we visited a few more of the historic sites in Nauvoo, went to dinner in Keokuk, IA and had a great time catching up on how things were with them.

Sunday, we attended Church in the Nauvoo 1st Ward and then headed to Carthage, IL.  We followed the approximately the same route that Joseph and Hyrum (along with others) took to Carthage.  It was about 18 miles one way from Nauvoo to Carthage. 
They left early in the morning and rode 14 miles to the Albert Fellows farm where they met Capt. Dunn and the militia with a written order from Governor Ford for all the state issued arms to be collected from the Nauvoo Legion-Joseph signs the order and returns with Capt. Dunn to Nauvoo (another 14 miles) where they collect all the arms.  They then begin again the ride to Carthage (18 more miles-a total of 46 miles that day on horseback, ouch!).  We took the tour of the Carthage Jail where the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum were martyred by a mob.  There is much to be said here, but perhaps it will suffice to say that it was not only a religious martyrdom, but an economical as well as a political one.

We are grateful for each of you; we love you with all of our hearts.  We know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and living Church here upon the earth.  We are led by a Prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ and was written for our day.  The Temple is the house of God, His spirit permeates it and as you attend you will find answers to your prayers and the spirit will testify to the truthfulness of the gospel and God’s eternal plan of Happiness.  We love you all, thanks for our love, support and prayers.

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

Week 22 (9 - 15 May 2016)

Nauvoo Week 22 (9-15 May 2016)

May is already here and we have been receiving a lot of rain lately.  Everything is so green and beautiful.  I had a wonderful Mother’s day, thank you all for your gifts and your phone calls.  Of course we have the most wonderful family in the world.

Monday we had a meeting with our new home evening group.  Since the new missionary couples have come they have given us groups to plan activities for home evening.

Tuesday was a special day for Bryant, he had his 6th Birthday.  We want him to know how much we love him and how proud we are of him.  Tuesday evening we were working in the Temple when some friends of ours came in.  They were here in Nauvoo for some family history training.  We met the Castleton’s when we were in the MTC for our Spain Mission.  We met in the cafeteria and ate with them almost every day.  They are a wonderful couple, and both of us have served missions since then.  We were able to have dinner with them to catch up with each other.  They live in Chicago, not too far from Scott and Malia.  

On Friday, we went to Quincy to go to dinner with the Russell’s.  They are temple missionaries and are fun to spend time with.  The dinner was for our Mother’s day and it was great.  We also went to Sam’s club.  You know you are hard up when you are excited to go to Sam’s or Walmart! 

On Sunday, we had a great day we went to church and I gave the Relief Society lesson.  I hadn’t been in there for a while, because of our primary duties.  They have now assigned two more couples to our Branch so we will almost double the attendance!  We really like the branch and have got to know the people a lot better.  We went visiting after church with the Sister Missionaries who are assigned to that branch.  They are teaching a couple of children and wanted us to be there.  Unfortunately they were not home when we got there. 

We love you all.  We know the kids are getting anxious about getting out of school.  We can’t wait to spend time with all of you here in Nauvoo.  It will be hear before you know it.
Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nauvoo Week 21 (2 - 8 May 2016)

Nauvoo Week 21 (2 – 8 May 2016)

This was a very busy week as we were involved with training the 33 new temple missionary couples.  We started Sunday evening and continued on through Thursday morning.  We were involved with preparing lunches, dinner as well as performing our usual daily assignments.  We worked double shifts on Tuesday and Wednesday as well as performing some Sealer experiences for all of the couples. 

On Tuesday, we served as guides in the morning for the new missionaries and then coordinators in the Baptistry in the afternoon.  Although it was not very busy, it was different because they had changed a few things in the Baptistry during the maintenance shutdown and you had to reacclimate to the procedures of the area following an already long day in the Temple due to training in the morning session.

On Wednesday, we served as coordinators in Initiatory; it was fairly busy for a week night and again it followed a busy morning shift.  We will begin next week having a weekly Temple missionary meeting between shifts from 1:30-2:30pm; this will make the morning shift a little longer for some and an earlier start for the afternoon shift.  These meetings are usually really informative as speakers are invited to come and speak to us concerning their expertise in the gospel, Nauvoo area or church history.

Thursday was a normal day.  We served in the morning and the coordinators tried to let all of us (winter missionaries) attend the final day training for the new (summer missionaries).  It was kind of hit and miss, but we were able to take in most of the main events while maintaining all the ordinances in the Temple.

Friday we worked the morning shift again with some of the newly trained missionaries.  At this time we have plenty of missionaries available as the summer crowd has not yet arrived.  Following our service we invited Elder & Sister Dalling to go to Keokuk, IA with us to see the town and to eat dinner.  We called this our Mother’s Day dinner as we work Saturday afternoons starting this week.  It was a good meal and it was fun to get to know the Dalling’s a little bit better.  They are cattle ranchers from Sugar City, Idaho.

Saturday was a fairly normal day; Tom had the privilege or performing a live Sealing for a couple who had been married a little more than a year ago.  They had met on their mission in St. Louis, MO a couple of years ago.  She is from Canada and they now live in Arizona. 
They both had wanted to be married in the Nauvoo Temple since it was rebuilt in 2002.  It was a great experience as usual.

On Sunday, we traveled to Mt Pleasant for church.  We invited Elder & Sister Gentry to go with us as the new missionaries have not received their ward/branch assignments as of yet.  We taught the Primary Music again and had fun with a Mother’s Day theme.  Sharon had planned on inviting the Branch President’s wife to be the honoree, but she was sick; the parents had taken their family to Wendy’s for dinner on Saturday night, mom and dad had shared a hamburger and they were both sick…so Mother’s Day was not a fun day for her/them.

Sharon had the opportunity to speak with all of you; she really appreciated this privilege.  She was so grateful for the wonderful wishes she received. 
We are also grateful for our mothers and the impact they had/have on our lives.  They are great women of strength, compassion and love and have taught us the important things in life.  We pray that each of you will recognize and speak adoringly of your mothers and the wonderful, caring, loving people that they are.  We want Amanda, Kristy, Malia and Kellie to know how much we love you and the example you are setting for our grandchildren.  You are magnificent women who know who you are and what you are becoming.  The gift of Motherhood is the greatest blessing that you could have received; through your Temple ordinances and covenants you have received Priesthood power which allows you to become Queens and Priestesses to our Father in Heaven.  We pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with you each and every day. 

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