Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nauvoo Week 40 (12 - 18 September 2016)

Nauvoo Week 40 (12 – 18 September 2016)

This was an exciting week with many activities.  On Monday, Sharon and I played golf at the Deer Run Golf Course and had a great time. 
Later that evening we had a Family Home Evening with all of the Temple Missionaries; it was a going home party for five of the couples.  Elder & Sister Fellows (AZ), Elder & Sister Ludwig (WA), Elder & Sister O’Brien (TX), Elder & Sister Russell (ID), and Elder & Sister Segers (CA).  There was a lot of great food and sharing of experiences during their service.  Following the dinner we heard from Robert Wright, author and historian of the Nauvoo area, about the symbols of the Temple (previously reported in a previous blog).

On Tuesday, before our service in the Temple we went to lunch with Elder (Tim) and Sister (Debby) O’Brien.    They are completing their mission about 4 months early as he has been called to be a counselor in the Dallas Temple Presidency beginning 1 November 2016.  They have been a fun couple and have a wonderful conversion story to the gospel.  He was a non-believer (atheist) until he met a member couple (relation to President McArthur) and they befriended them and provided an introduction to the gospel.  They have seen a wonderful change in their lives.

Wednesday, we had our usual scheduled training meeting.  Sister Shurts, a local resident of 35 years) gave a lecture on the history of Steamboats on the Mississippi from about 1850-1880.  It was a very interesting presentation; the life span of a steamboat was only 3-5 years due to onboard fires, boiler explosions or running aground.  She quoted Mark Twain, a riverboat captain and author, as saying “One can never see too many sunrises or sunsets on the Mississippi.”  We then served our shift in the Temple.

On Thursday, we served in the morning and then drove to Burlington, IA with Elder & Sister Curtis (UT) to see the movie “Sully” and then to eat at a new place called “Uncle Ronnie’s.”  The movie was a great story based on the emergency landing of a US Airways flight on the Hudson River immediately following take-off.  All aboard were saved through the actions of the pilot and crew.  He really was a hero.

Friday morning found us in the Temple during the morning hours.  Later that evening we traveled to New London High School to watch a couple of the young men (Corey Jacobs and Dallas Bell) in our Mt Pleasant Branch play on the high school football team.  We saw several members of the branch and they won in the last few seconds of the game.   Dallas caught a pass near the goal line and ran it in for the winning score.  It was great to see a live football game again.  The guys/fans were really excited.  We hope to go to their next home game in a couple of weeks.

On Saturday, we served in the afternoon/evening shift and had some wonderful experiences.  We had cooked some pork roasts and baked some rolls to take to the “pot luck” dinner at the church tomorrow.  The reason for the dinner was a change in the Branch Presidency that happened last week.  Released were Jorge Sanchez-President, Dale Akers-1st Counselor and Mark Lance-2nd Counselor.  They served very well in their responsibilities.  As previously mentioned, the Sanchez’s are being transferred to Chicago for his job.

On Sunday, we traveled to Mt Pleasant for church and then ate a wonderful dinner following the meetings.  There were many people there today and the spirit of the proceedings was wonderful.  Everyone pitched in and made it a wonderful event.  The weather was hot, but when there is food, it’s always a good time.  Following the dinner we traveled to East Moline to be in place for Monday when I had an appointment to get a new military ID card; turning 65 in November and needed it updated for Tricare for Life and Medicare.

We are grateful to the Lord for allowing us to serve in this historic place and to learn more of our early ancestors. 
We are grateful for their sacrifices and hardships in creating this wonderful area.  We are proud to be descendants of them and pray that we may bring honor to them by doing our best and becoming more like our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  We love each of you and want you to know that we know what we are doing is the work of the Lord in these latter days.  Thanks for your prayers, love and support.
Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Nauvoo Week 39 (5 - 11 September 2016)

Nauvoo Week 39 (5 – 11 Sep 2016)

On Monday, Scott and Malia were here until 2:00pm then returned home to Lake Zurich, IL.  Scott and Dad went golfing in the morning, and we just lounged around until they were finished.  We then met them at Dairy Queen for lunch. 
Corban was so good and Ruby is pretty much always great.  I couldn’t hold her enough!  It’s hard to believe she is all but three months old already.  That evening, which was Labor Day, we had a barbeque at the Nauvoo State Park for all of the original missionaries that we started with.  It was a fun time.  Not all of us work on the same shifts anymore so it was fun to catch up and hear how everyone is doing.  We have four couples leaving next week; the Russell’s (ID), O’Brien’s (TX), Segers’ (CA) and Ludwig’s (WA).  We will miss all of them and hope to have some reunions when we return.

We are so excited for Hallie; winning all those ribbons at the County Fair.  She really went to town this time and will show her goods in the state fair.  In the county fair she won the blue ribbon for her pajama bottoms in her age group and a purple ribbon for her cookies for best of show.  She then went on to the state fair and won the blue ribbon for her pajama bottoms and the purple ribbon for the best of show for her cookies.  Way to go sweetie!   

On Saturday, Brother and Sister Sanchez, the Mount Pleasant Branch President’s parents, wanted to feed all of the senior missionaries assigned to the branch and the Temple Presidency; we ate at President and Sister McArthur’s house. She made Popusas; they were delicious.    She had cooked for us before and she is so sweet to do it.  That evening we watched an exciting football game, however, it didn’t quite end how we wanted it to!

Scott and Malia blessed Ruby on Sunday, September 11, in their Lake Zurich, IL Ward-Buffalo Grove. The pictures were adorable, in her blessing dress.  The pictures you took on that day were all sweet as well.  I think I can speak for all of the family when I say we wish we could have been there.  Also, Sunday, was Jenacee’s Birthday; the big 14!  You are all growing up too quickly!  We love you Jen and we hope your shopping trip was successful.

In the branch that we attend they put in a new Branch President.  President Sanchez is moving to Chicago, so he needed to be replaced. 
We have loved getting to know his cute family.  They have seven children and we have got to know them through our Primary calling.  The new Branch President just moved in a couple of months ago, he is Brother Zachery Mayo (his mother’s favorite movie is “An Officer and a Gentlemen”-this is the name of the main character.  He has a sweet wife and a cute little girl who is about 10 months old.  He moved there to work at nearby Wesleyan College.  We look forward to getting to know them better; we know he will do a great job.  We will miss the Sanchez’s as will their parents (both sets) who both live in the branch.  The weather has started to feel like fall, and we hear that it is beautiful here as there are so many trees; the leaves should be beautiful. 

We love the Lord and the blessings he keeps showering us with.  This mission is so wonderful and we feel so privileged to be here.  We feel of your prayers and thank you all for your support. 

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Nauvoo Week 38 (29 Aug - 4 Sep 2016)

Nauvoo Week 38 (29 Aug – 4 Sep 2016)

This was another fun and busy week in Nauvoo.  On Monday evening many missionaries from Nauvoo traveled to Burlington IA to watch the premiere of the new movie “Singing with Angels.” This is based somewhat on a true story.  The main female lead was born in a very delicate condition with the doctors saying that she would only live a few short hours/days.  She had an older brother who desperately wanted to see her but was told “no.” Finally, just before they were going to disconnect all the tubes and monitors they let him in the room; he began to sing “I am a child of God” to her soon they detected movement and eventually she was taken off everything and sent home.  She grew into an adult and had a family of her own.  Eventually, she was successful in being admitted to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (movie showed all of the intense tests required to become a member of the choir).  It continued with her life as a mother, wife and choir member; going on tour with the choir and touching many lives for the better.  It shows the love she eventually gained for her “know it all” mother-in-law and the decision to leave the choir, move her family to another city and to care for her in her older years and frail health.  It was well done and we all enjoyed it (the theater was sold out and clapped when it concluded).

Tuesday, we went with Elder & Sister O’Brien (Dallas, TX) and Elder & Sister Seger (CA) on a tour of the “Mounds” in and around Nauvoo with Brother Cal Christensen. 
This tour began near the Temple and concluded across the Mississippi River near Montrose, IA.  Cal is one of those who have a firm testimony that the Book of Mormon took place here in the “Heartland” of America – their evidence and story is very convincing.  He took us where they suppose one of the fortified cities of Captain Moroni once stood, you could see earth banks that would/could have been built up for protection and a narrow entry way into a fortified city.  He took us to another mound on the Iowa side of the river that is a present day cemetery, but he believes that it was built by the Nephites where they buried their dead following an intense battle in the area.  It is shaped much like a turtle (they used to build things in effigy to sacred things).
  The last stoop was the most inspiring.  Across from Nauvoo he stopped at a place that has been purchased by several people where they believe the Zarahemla Temple was built.  They had done some excavation and found the pure white sand which was used to mark the spot of sacred buildings.  As we know the city of Zarahemla was sunk into the earth.  It was a very interesting thought; as you stand on the spot of the Temple you look across the river with a perfectly clear view of the Nauvoo Temple.
  The was a copy of a diary written by an early member who stated that he was standing outside of the Nauvoo Temple with Orson Hyde and he, Orson Hyde, stated that one day in the future another temple would stand in place of the Zarahemla Temple; a very interesting tour. 

On Wednesday, the sister missionaries (Sisters Meza & Beach) from Mount Pleasant came to Nauvoo to attend the Temple and we invited them over for lunch.  It was fun to get to know them a little bit better.  They seemed to like the food and then went to see some of the sites.

Thursday, following our service in the Temple we went to Lomax, IL to a restaurant called “The Pink” with Elder & Sister Curtis (So Jordan, UT).  It is popular with the locals and you can’t miss it…it is painted the brightest pink you have ever seen.  Three of us had the shrimp plates and Sharon had pizza.  It was fun to have been there once, the food was okay.

Friday started off “Grape Days” in Nauvoo.  It is an annual celebration of some of the oldest vineyards in America.  When the saints left the area in Icarians moved in and planted some of these vineyards and today still produce some excellent grape products. 
The event had music (bands), car show (200-300 cars), a carnival with small amusement park and rides.  Scott, Malia, Corban and Ruby also arrived this day.
Scott then left us and went to sleep with and coordinate about 40 youth and 13 adults that came from his ward in Lake Zurich to Nauvoo for baptisms for the dead, a handcart trek, history tours, firesides, church and a visit to Carthage, IL.  Malia and the kids stayed with us in our apartment.  The kids were really good and it was so good to see them again.  We took Corb and Ruby to the carnival and he rode a couple of rides, bought some cotton candy (“this disappears in my mouth” was Corb’s comment).  The youth and leaders stayed at the Nauvoo House in bunk beds.  This is really an historic building that is owned by the Community of Christ Church.  It had enough beds to sleep about 80 people, an area in the basement for a gathering of about 80 and a kitchen that was good size. 
The group left for Lake Zurich on Sunday afternoon and Scott remained with us in the apartment.  We had a good dinner, played some games and slept.  Tom and Scott played golf on Monday morning.

We are grateful to each of you for your love, support and patience with us.  We hope that we can set a good example for all of our children, grandchildren and friends by our service to the Lord.  The Temple is a Holy Place where you can leave behind the problems of the world and concentrate on what the Lord would have us do.  We are proud of our ancestors, particularly our dear parents and the sacrifices they have made for us.  We stand taller because we are standing on their shoulders and we love them more each and every day.  We do not know everything but we do know the important things in life; our Heavenly Father lives and loves us (He knows us by name), our Savior, Jesus Christ is our exemplar and loving brother, we have a living Prophet on the earth today, the Book of Mormon is true, the Church is true and we have been given a plan to return and live with our Heavenly Father, His Son and our loved ones.

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

Nauvoo Week 37 (22 - 28 August 2016)

Nauvoo Week 37 (22 – 28 August 2016)

This week was packed with activities.  On Monday, a temple missionary had set up a golf scramble tournament.  I was just going to ride around in the cart with Dad, but then I decided to play.  I have never played 18 holes before!  I was terrible but we had a lot of fun.  We had 3 teams and we all tied.  Afterwards we went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant and had some great fajitas.

Tuesday, our friends the Lasher’s, who were sight missionaries, came to the temple for the last time before leaving.  I think all of you met at least him while you were here.  We went on the session with them, and then showed them around the temple afterwards. 
Brother Lasher actually asked President Mc Arthur if we could go in the tower, something we hoped to be able to do before we are released.  He said yes, and so an engineer took us up.  It was a pretty sight to see all of the valley, and the Mississippi river from that view point.

On Wednesday we went to lunch with the Castleton’s, a couple who we met when we were in the MTC before going to Spain.  They have come here before, and this time they came because the Chicago temple is closed for cleaning.  They are a great couple. 
We also had our weekly meeting where Brother Bob Wright came and talked about the Battle of Nauvoo.  Many people don’t know that it even happened. 

On Thursday we attended the play Rendezvous.  This was the last time our friends, the Lashers, would be performing and he had the main part.  We have seen it two times before, but we really felt the spirit and the sacrifices that were made by the Saints.

Friday we had a dinner with 3 other couples.  The Smith’s, the Marshall’s, and the Russell’s.  We also went to the show Ben Hur.  The reviews for the movie had not been very good, and but we really liked it.  These couples are golfers and Tom has golfed with them quite a few times.  We have become friends with so many of the temple workers here; we have had a wonderful group. 

Tom was able to perform some Sealings in Spanish on Saturday.  One sister was sealed to her deceased parents and another couple received their own endowment, and then was sealed afterwards to each other and then their two daughters, who were young teenagers.  I had the opportunity to witness the marriage and sealing of children.  It was done in Spanish which I didn’t understand, but the spirit was very strong.  The people were so gracious and humble.  I love having these opportunities.

Sunday was our primary program.  Tom and I have been doing the music every other week in primary.  The Primary President had asked us to do the music for the program.  We have enjoyed being able to do that even though we have never done anything like that before.  I think I have mentioned before that half of the primary is the branch Presidents children.  During our practice the week before two of their children were running all over the place, and 3 children from one family who had parts, did not attend any practices.  We had asked one of the senior missionaries Sister Hafen to play the piano for us.  They were “barged” – meaning the bridge was opened for the river barges going up or down the Mississippi so cars could not pass until it closed- over the Mississippi river which takes a minimum of twenty extra minutes to get to where you are going. 
They were not there when sacrament meeting started, and we were doing some serious praying that they would arrive.  Thankfully during the sacrament they got there!  The Grandma of the two active kids sat with them, which helped a lot.  We witnessed the miracle of the primary program as everything worked out and the kids who hadn’t been to practice were there also.  I love the primary songs, and the sweet faces of the children looking at me.  We are so blessed to serve here.  We have loved every minute of it.  We are anxious to see the fall colors as they say that is a beautiful sight here.  We love all of you and pray for each and every one of you constantly. 

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