Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nauvoo Week 44 (10 - 16 October 2016)

Nauvoo Week 44 (10 – 16 October 2016)

We will finish our trip to Adam Ondi Ahman, Far West, Richmond, Liberty, Independence and Kansas City in this blog.  On Monday, we had stayed in Liberty, MO on Sunday night; we arose and visited the Liberty Jail Visitor’s Center. 
We were the first ones there for the day and had the entire center to ourselves.  We were met by sister missionaries and taken into the reception area.  Here we were walked through the adventures of the saints in Independence, MO their banishment to Clay County and then on to Caldwell and Davies’ Counties.  We were led into a hall where the Church has rebuilt a portion of the Liberty Jail (2 floors with a small attic).  It was basically escape proof (for those days), the walls were almost 4’ thick (2’ of stone, 1’ of loose rock and 1’ of rough-hewn timbers), the floor was dirt with a little bit of dirty straw and 2 small windows (there was no insulation, so it was very cold in the winter).  The attic also had a layer of loose rock that would fall on you if you tried to escape through the roof.  The jail was later deemed to be “unfit for human life.”  The basement (dungeon) level was not tall enough to stand in, so all those incarcerated would have to bend over if they were over about 68” tall). 
Joseph, Hyrum and the others were here during the coldest time of the year (Dec 1838 – April 1839).  While here the Prophet received revelations (D&C 121, 122, & 123).  Joseph spent 1 week out of jail while he was here meeting with his defense attorney (Alexander Doniphan), then returned to spend the rest of the time.  Joseph, Hyrum and the others were released (allowed to escape) near the Charlton River and immediately proceeded to Quincy, IL to be with the rest of the persecuted saints.  They were released when all of the saints had been driven from the state of Missouri.  There is a special spirit here, to know that the Prophet of the Lord was allowed to suffer here for so long (all the time giving him experience and preparing him for what was to come).  It brought tears of gratitude to our eyes to see the lessons the Lord teaches us each day of our lives.

Following our time at Liberty we traveled to Independence, MO to see the dedicated Temple site, visit the LDS Visitor’s Center, the Community of Christ Temple and the surrounding headquarters area of their church. 
It was fascinating to stand again on the dedicated site of the Temple and to reflect on what happened here and what will happen in the coming years.  The Church originally owned 63 acres of land in Independence, but following their forced exit they lost all (they now own about 20 acres of the original land).  Independence means the “Center Place” and where Joseph stated was the location of the Garden of Eden and will become the “New Jerusalem.”  The Temple Lot (dedicated August 1831) will be on the location of the 24 Temples that will be built-it will be the #1 Temple where Christ will reign as “King of Kings” (Head of Government) and Old Jerusalem will be (Head of the Church) where Christ will reign as “Lord of Lords.”  In the LDS Visitor’s Center we watched a short presentation of the plan of our Father in Heaven and the eternal nature of the Family.  It was very touching and strengthened our testimonies of being Families Forever. 
We then visited another exhibit of the early pioneers and their gathering in Independence and some of the trials that they experienced.  We then visited the Christus statue and the young sister missionaries and a couple of the older missionary sisters sang the song “How Great Thou Art,” it was a very fitting conclusion to our visit here.  Right next to the Temple Lot, there is a small church (Church of Jesus Christ-Hedrikites) established on April 6, 1837.  They have about 200 members, 12 Apostles, and use the Book of Mormon. 

Following our visit to the LDS sites we walked by the RLDS (Community of Christ) Stone Church, built in 1888. 
It served as the centerpiece of their church until the construction of their auditorium and later their Temple built in April 1994.  We entered their Temple and proceeded to visit their museum and meditation chapels.  We then entered the Sanctuary by the inclining walkway passing by many beautiful sculptures and modern artwork.  Here in the Sanctuary is a large pipe organ and where they hold a daily 1:00pm Prayer for Peace Ceremony (each day they pray for one country in the world).  As you look upward you can see up about 150’ into a cone shaped ceiling, it is very beautiful and well lighted.  There was an organ recital in progress; we had met the gentleman that was playing in the LDS Visitors Center earlier, he was a pilot that was overnighting in Kansas City and had requested and been approved to play this day.  It was very interesting and sounded very good. 
We finished our visit to the Temple and noted the difference in its’ use and how we use our Temples.  We then returned to the hotel and then went to eat.

On Tuesday, we awoke, ate and went to the Kansas City Temple and participated in an Endowment Session.  It was a beautiful session and a very fitting end to our trip.  The Temple was dedicated in 2012 and appears to sit on quite a bit of property owned by the Church.  We then began our trip back to Nauvoo (about 4.5 hours).  It was a great time to get to know Elder Chris and Sister Laurene Brown, they are wonderful people and we are sure we will be able to stay in touch with them as they live in West
Valley City and work in the Jordan River Temple.

On Wednesday, we again had the opportunity of listening to Brother and Sister George Durrant.  Sister Durrant spoke on Life in Nauvoo, we then served out afternoon/evening session in the Temple.

On Thursday, following our morning service in the Temple we traveled with Elder and Sister Garff (CA) to Camp Point, IL to the home of the Saturday afternoon shift coordinators (Brother and Sister Victor Hart).  Mapquest took us a round about way and consequently we were about 20 minutes late arriving.  They have a very nice home (out in the country) and there had a wonderful meal of smoked pork, potato salad, cole slaw, rolls, beans and a wonderful dessert.  We talked and laughed a lot and got to know each other a lot better.  They directed us to a more direct route home, thankfully.

Friday, we served in the morning shift and then met Sharon’s friend, Robin and Gary Anderson along with Robin’s brother (Roger & Joyce Stroud) who are site missionaries in Nauvoo at Angelini’s Restaurant in Keokuk, IA.  It was good to see them again and to get caught up on what is going on in Utah.  Following the dinner we took off for New London to watch Dallas Bell and Corey Jacobs play football.  It was a cold night and they lost in the last three minutes.

Saturday, we served in the afternoon/evening and had some more wonderful experiences.  It was also the Nauvoo Stake Conference.  Sunday, we attended the 10:00am Stake Conference Session.

We love each and everyone of you, you are in our daily prayers.  We are realizing just how fast time is passing and we want you all to know that we love you and will be home with you before you know it.  We look forward to your hugs again. 
Thanks for your support, love and kindness to us.  We know what we are doing is what we should be doing at this time of our lives.  We know we are involved, as you all are, in the work of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.  We love you.

Tom & Sharon/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw    

Nauvoo Week 43 (3 - 9 October 2016)

Nauvoo Week 43 (3 – 9 October 2016)

The weeks just fly by here!  Sunday, October the 2nd was cute Kenzie’s Birthday.  She turned 4, and she is quite the chatter box now. 
We love you sweetie and we are anxious to spend time with you.  She also started preschool this year.

On Monday, we went to dinner with Elder Larry & Sister Becky Curtis who are also temple missionaries.  They live in Day Break and they were serving in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple before coming out.  They are one of the six month couples who will be leaving on or about 29 October.  We have become good friends and we are excited that they will live so close to us that we will be able to continue doing things together.

We get together every Wednesday with all the Temple Missionaries and have some training or lectures.  This week we had some of our Temple Missionaries who are converts to the church tell about their conversions.  We have some wonderful couples we serve with who have some special stories. 

On Friday it was Phoebe’s Birthday and she turned 8. 
She is so fun, she has texted us occasionally and called us.  She is full of energy and we love her so much.  This is her special Birthday and we will just miss her baptism.  We hope you will feel us close as we will be thinking about you on our special day.  We saw your pictures in your white dress, you look beautiful.

Saturday, we took two young missionaries Elders Failor and Bigelow to lunch in Hamilton, IL to their favorite Mexican Restaurant.  They come to the Baptistry on Tuesday evenings and help with the baptisms.
Sunday, we attended church in the Nauvoo Site Missionaries Ward as we were leaving to go to Adam Ondi Ahman, and other Missouri Church sites.  Tom had taken this tour with other missionaries but I was sick and didn’t get to go.  Elder Chris and Sister Laurene Brown, who we serve with, came with us, they also serve in the Jordan River Temple.
We didn’t work on the same shifts, but they looked familiar to us.  They live in West Valley and so we will be able to get together with them as we return.  We drove to Adam Ondi Ahman first.  It consists of 4,000 acres almost surrounded by the Grand River.  Most of the acreage is leased to farmers.  There are approximately thirty to forty ponds on the property all connected together with underground piping.  Thirty to forty couples serve on the grounds as grounds keepers and President Monson is their Mission President.  There are two prominent knolls, Tower Hill and Spring Hill.  There is a place called preachers rock there.  If you stand on it many people for quite a distant can hear you, as you talk in a normal voice. 

There is a marker indicating where the prayer alter of Adam and Eve’s daily prayers took place.  Near this will be the place where authority will be transferred from Satan to Christ and where all who have held keys will report on his stewardship to father Adam and then he to the Savior. 

We next traveled to Gallatin where Mormons voting in bloc was not received well.  It led to fisticuffs and two men were hurt.  Members of the Mob reported to Governor Boggs that the Mormons were trying to take over their county.  The extermination order was then ready to be signed.

Davies and Caldwell counties formed in 1836-1838 for the Mormons to live in.  Far West became the headquarters of the Church for a period of time; there were around 5,000 strong and the largest settlement.  They were assisted in obtaining these two counties through Senator Alexander Doniphan who was an attorney.  He later saved Joseph’s life, and was a great friend to the Mormons.  He also threatened to charge General Lucas if he shot Joseph in town square.  The Mormon war ended here with the capture of Joseph, Hyrum, and others to General Lucas and were taken to Independence Missouri.  Joseph walked freely here until they were taken to Richmond for trial, then to Liberty.  The final Far West Temple stone was laid and dedicated at Midnight on April 26th 1838, by seven apostles.  Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were ordained Apostles while sitting on the southeast stone then dedicated.  Kingston is where the grave of John Whitmer is.

We passed by where the battle of the crooked river took place.  The mob had crossed the boundary and kidnapped 3 Mormons to see if other Mormons would cross the boundary.   They came to boundary and battle began.  It was reported to Governor Boggs that all of their men had been killed at which time he signed the extermination order.  This was not rescinded until June 25th 1976.

In Richmond (this is where Joseph rebuked the guards) Joseph and 50 others were taken for trial.  Joseph had kept the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon.  It was placed in a time capsule in the Mansion House but was almost destroyed due to time, humidity and weather, the Community of Christ Visitors Center now holds the remains and the original cornerstone.  The printer’s manuscript copy was kept by Oliver Cowdery.  It was used to print the Book of Mormon.  Oliver later married a Whitmer daughter, and was later excommunicated.  On the day of Joseph’s martyrdom, Joseph received a letter from Oliver requesting rebaptism.  He later joined the church in Omaha.  He entered the Kanesville Tabernacle during a meeting of the church, in which he was welcomed with open arms by Brigham Young.  David Whitmer gained access of the Printers copy and kept it in his house.  In 1878 his home was destroyed by a tornado, all but the room with the Printers Copy and it was not touched. 

We went to a Pioneer Memorial cemetery where there is a stone to the 3 Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. 
Oliver Cowdery, (Martin Harris is buried in Clarksville Utah) David Whitmer buried in a different cemetery.  Jacob Whitmer and the (8 witnesses) were buried here.  The balance of the trip will be written in next week’s blog.

We are grateful for the opportunity to visit these sacred sites and to feel of the spirit.  We are forever grateful for the pioneers and their courage and sacrifice to establish the church.  We are honored to carry the pioneer spirit in our service here in Nauvoo.  We pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with each of you.  We love you all.

Tom & Sharon/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Nauvoo Week 42 (26 September - 2 October 2016)

Nauvoo Week 42 (26 September – 2 October 2016)

This was another incredible week in Nauvoo.  On Monday, we played golf and had a wonderful time.  Mom hit a few up in the air and promised to take some lessons next spring?  Later in the day the Sister Missionaries (Sisters Meza & Beach) from Mount Pleasant came to the Nauvoo Temple and then we took them to lunch at a Mexican Restaurant in Hamilton, IL for lunch.  The food was great; Sister Meza stated that transfers were coming up next week and that she would probably be transferred (she’s been here for 3 transfers).  That evening we attended a fireside/Family Home Evening where President Durrell C. Nelson was the speaker.  He spoke about his favorite things in Nauvoo; it was an entertaining evening with many stories of the construction of the Temple, the people of Nauvoo and some of his personal life.

Tuesday, we grabbed a bite to eat and went to one of the riverside picnic tables and read the scriptures.  The weather was perfect and the scenery beautiful.  We enjoyed the messages that we read that day.  We returned home and served in the Temple that afternoon/evening.

Wednesday, we attended the weekly missionary training meeting then continued on with testimonies of some of the missionaries that were converts to the Church.  The spirit was really strong as we listened to some of their conversion stories.

On Thursday, following our morning service in the Temple, we drove to Quincy, IL with Elder & Sister Massey (Farmington, UT).  We went shopping at Sam’s Club and ate at Texas Roadhouse.  It was a fun evening and great to get to know the Massey’s a little better.

Friday, we served in the Temple in the morning and then drove to New London, IA to watch a couple of the young Priests in our branch play football again. 
The weather was pretty cool and there was a mist that filled the air most of the night.  They won by the score of 42-0, so the boys were pretty excited, they are tied for first in their conference.  It was homecoming and there were a lot of people there considering that the entire number of students in the high school is 160.  They had people there from as early at 1966.  It was a fun atmosphere!  Tom also stayed up until 1:15am to watch the BYU versus Toledo football game…it was an ugly win, but a win!

Saturday the Temple was closed for General Conference and we were able to listen to all three sessions in our apartment.  We are grateful for those that lead, inspire and love us.  It was good to hear the messages that we all need in our lives at this time. 

Sunday, another wonderful day of General Conference.  The talks were outstanding and encouraged all of us to become better people and to prepare ourselves for those things which are to come.  It was good to hear from all of the Apostles, Seventies and General Officers of the Church.  We add our testimonies to those that were borne that this Church is the Kingdom of God here upon the earth, we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows each of us by name, His Son, Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and He will come again to redeem His people. 
We have a living Prophet (Thomas S. Monson) on the earth today, the Book of Mormon is True!  We love the Lord and are grateful for the opportunity and privilege to serve Him as missionaries.  We pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with each of you now and forever.  God bless us to become more like Him each and every day.

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

Nauvoo Week 41 (19 - 25 September 2016)

Nauvoo Week 41 (19 – 25 September 2016)

Last Sunday after our meetings in Mt. Pleasant branch we left to go to Rock Island Arsenal.  Tom needed a new military I.D. now that he will be 65 and can go on Tricare for life.  We then headed for Dyersville, Iowa where the movie “Field of Dreams” was filmed. 
We watched the movie beforehand.  We also watched a segment on what it was like as they filmed it.  That particular summer it was extremely hot without much rain.  Many of the farmers lost their corn crop because of the heat.  But because they needed the corn for the movie they watered it and it produced a good field of corn.  They talked about all of the bugs they encountered which all of you and us can testify to as you came to visit!  They talked about the lightning storms and clouds that would appear.  They also talked about the fog that would set in at times.  They especially talked about how hot and humid it was, something else we can attest to. We were worried that they might have already cut the corn down, because they have already been cutting fields down around here.
When we got there it was so pretty and green and so well kept.  The little white house is still there, but someone lives in it so we couldn’t go inside.  We took a baseball to throw around, and Tom wrote on it the date we were there as a keepsake.  We took a lot of pictures, as we disappeared into the cornfield!  Dad bought a baseball hat to remember it by.  It was a fun little trip of about 400 miles.  It was still in our Temple district so we did not have to get permission to go.  Some of our senior couples travel three hours to get to the Branch they are assigned to every Sunday.  We had a great time.

On Wednesday our 1:30 meeting was about those in our group who are converts-there were about 22 who are converts (in the traditional sense).  We have two new couples who have come. One is the engineer and his wife, who is the McBride’s, and the other couple is the Brohem’s.  Those that told their conversion stories which was about four, all were converted in 1978.  We will probably here more of the stories this Wednesday.  I am always so grateful to have been born in the Church and hope if I were not that I would have recognized the truth when I heard it.  We are so blessed to have the gospel in our lives.

On Thursday, we went with Elder & Sister Robb (UT) to a store called Iron and Lace.  It is a very popular store and most all of the senior missionaries have been there.  A couple named Bill and Betty Printy own the store and their house is attached to it. 
Betty is the potter and has been doing this for 40 years. She uses the Queen Anne’s Lace wild flower.  This flower is a white delicate flower and is very prevalent in this area.  Each piece has its own flower pressed into the clay, which burns away, leaving the unique impression of the blossom.  Her husband does the blacksmith work, and uses early American forge and tools.  He makes kitchen tools, pot hangers, wine racks, and other things.  I bought a pottery piece of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus and it is beautiful.  Each piece is unique.  She makes bowls trays, ornaments, vases, and more.  It was in a fun little town with a very beautiful river running through it.

We taped the Women’s Conference and we watched it on Sunday.  We understand that Kellie, Hallie, and Maddie got to go to the conference center.  There were some great messages given and we look forward to watching general conference this coming Sunday.  We love the Lord; he has blessed our family so much. 
We are grateful that we have been able to share Nauvoo with you.  This mission is amazing and we feel so blessed to be able to serve here.  We love and miss all of you, and know that the Lord has showered blessings on all of you.
Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw