Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nauvoo Week 52 (5 - 11 December 2016)

Nauvoo Week 52 (5 – 11 December 2016)

The final week in Nauvoo was a very special experience filled with several spiritual and meaningful opportunities all of which added to the depth of our testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the saints who lived in Nauvoo.

On Monday, we traveled to Carthage to again experience the last days of the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum.  We were the only ones there and so we had some special treatment by Elder & Sister Stroud (brother of Sharon’s good friend Robyn Anderson). 
They showed us the video of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s testimony of the Book of Mormon then took us to the jail and spent some very special time with us – giving us more to the history of the martyrdom and the events of June 27, 1844.  In the bedroom, where they were killed, the spirit was so strong and we just sat there after listening to the recording of John Taylor singing “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.”  We could envision the mob with their blackened faces charge up the stairs threatening to kill everybody and force open the door, firing as quickly as possible at the four men (Joseph, Hyrum, John and Willard).  We left the jail with a much deeper admiration for their sacrifice and sealing their testimonies with their blood. 
We also took “Flat Stanley” around the Nauvoo flats and shot pictures with him for Phoebe’s school project.

Tuesday, we served in the morning shift in the Temple and trained a new couple in the Baptistry as the couple we had trained last week was reassigned due to health issues. 

On Wednesday, we served both in the morning and the afternoon shifts at the Temple.  Thursday we again served in the morning and then went to lunch with Elder & Sister Thompson (AZ).  They came last March and have another 4 months to serve.  They are wonderful people and bring a great spirit to the Temple.  They had served in the Mesa Temple.  We will miss them and their enthusiasm.

Later on Thursday Sharon had organized a special Sealing session for the names that we had worked on during the last several months.  Thomas Jackson and Mary Shaw and their 8 children were all Sealed together for time and all Eternity.  Sharon had arranged for other missionaries to come and act for the children; her and I were proxy for Thomas and Mary. 
Elder Peterson was the Sealer and did a wonderful job.  The spirit was so strong and we all felt that those people were all present in spirit.  Following this Temple session we all went to Keokuk, IA to “Angelini’s Restaurant and had dinner.  It has been and was great to associate and serve with all of these special people:  Brother & Sister Swing, Elder & Sister Despain, Elder & Sister Barrowman, Sister Udall and Sister Burgoyne.

Friday, we served both morning and afternoon shifts in the Temple.  In the morning we were subbing for Brother & Sister Droste, who were in Utah attending a marriage of their grandson.  They are also going to meet with many of the missionaries who returned home in November from many of the states surrounding Utah.  They will meet for a temple session in the Salt Lake Temple and then go to lunch.  We are sorry that we will not be there as of yet.

Saturday was a special day.  I was given the opportunity and privilege to Seal a Marshallese couple to their deceased parents.  There was a small delay in making sure we had the proper paperwork, but all went well.  I performed the ceremony in English and the son of the couple would translate the ordinance into Marshallese.  The spirit was strong and we all shed many tears.  This was a wonderful opportunity to perform this Sealing on my last day in the Temple.  Following the Sealing we went to Elder & Sister Marshall’s home and met with them and Brother & Sister Hart (afternoon coordinators) for lunch.  We had some ribs and all the trimmings…it was great.  We then served in the afternoon in the Temple and had some final, special experiences in the Nauvoo Temple.  We will never forget the spirit that we have felt here.  We have learned much from what we have felt and now will seek to deepen our knowledge through study and prayer.

Sunday, we did not travel to Mount Pleasant but attended the Nauvoo 1st Ward.  There we had the opportunity to say “goodbye” to a lot of the district missionaries (Spurgeon, Nelson, Krumperman, Sumner, Stevens, King, Hekking, Matlock, Swing, and many others to numerous to mention).  We were invited along with Elder & Sister Moon (UT) to dinner with President & Sister Irion in their home across from the Temple. 
It was a wonderful evening, sharing thoughts about our service in the Temple during the last year.  We concluded with pictures, hugs and well wishes.  We were hoping the evening would never end.  The Moon’s and us walked over in front of the Temple and took some final physical pictures of the Temple (we will always have a spiritual picture of the beautiful Temple).

We are grateful for the spiritual experience that we have had.  We know we have been about our Heavenly Father’s work as we have seen and felt His hand in all that we have done.  We realize how blessed we have been to have had this window of opportunity; there are many other couples that would give their right arms to serve here.  We pray that we have made a difference; the experience has made a huge difference in our lives…we will never be the same. We pray that our children and grandchildren will always remember their personal experience when they visited this past summer and that they will bring their children to Nauvoo to strengthen their testimonies. 

We pray that the Lord will bless each of us with His spirit at all times, that we will do our best to become, through our trials and tribulations, what He needs us to become.  This is the gospel of Jesus Christ; it is the only true and loving church on the face of the earth.  May God bless us all to endure to the end.

Mom  Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Nauvoo Week 51 (28 November - 4 December 2016)

Nauvoo Week 51 (28 November – 4 December 2016)

Paul’s Birthday was on the 28th.  He spent the day traveling to California, for Thanksgiving with the Beames and Disneyland.  They had a great time, and it’s hard to believe that our baby is getting so old!

This week was full of training at the Temple.  We trained three couples in the Baptistry; they moved us from Tuesday evening Baptistry to Thursday morning.  The new workers are having to take over positions that were held by others, who left in November.  We also trained a couple to take over our Wednesday night Initiatory assignment.

The Droste’s were going to go to Utah the week before we finished our mission, so we went to dinner with them.  We may see them when we get home.
  They are district workers who are from Iowa, who live on the grounds and work full time. 

On Thursday, following our morning service we went to lunch with Brother & Sister Morgan (Hannibal, IL).  They are wonderful friends that have served in the Temple for many years.  He was recently changed from an Ordinance Worker to Veil Worker due to his call to the branch presidency.  They come to the Temple every other week for the entire week…they are amazing!

They have decorated the grounds for Christmas, it looks great. 
I had picked up some Christmas decorations from the Missionary DI after Christmas last year, so I decorated our apartment so we could enjoy them before we come home.  The Christmas tree and manger scene were beautiful. 

Saturday was Grandpa Pearson’s Birthday, he turned 94!   The Lord has blessed him with good health and we are anxious to see him soon.  We love you Dad.  We worked Saturday evening in the Temple.  Our assignment included officiating the final session for the evening.  A couple had come from Texas and just missed the 5:00pm session.  So they did some Initiatory while waiting for the last session.  They were Spanish.  Tom was able to do Initiatory in Spanish for the husband.  They were the only ones there for the session and so we asked if they would like to have it presented in Spanish.  They happily said yes and they had their own special session and we were blessed to be the officiator and follower.  We talked to them afterwards in the Celestial room and they told us that they had just been sealed in the Temple last September.  This was her husband’s second time through.  The first time was in English and he had not understood it very well.  It meant so much to them that they could have it in Spanish and that he understood it so much better.  Tom was the only one that evening who could do it in Spanish which was such a tender mercy.  The Lord is in charge and He is in the details. 

On Sunday we went to church in Mt. Pleasant.  It had started to snow a little bit in Nauvoo.  As we traveled along the snow started to really come down.  The main roads were being plowed but the side roads were not.  It was fast Sunday and we were able to bear our testimonies and express our love for the members.  We have really enjoyed being able to serve in that branch.  We did the primary music every other week for a while, and the primary program, which was fun to be a part of.  We decided to leave after Sunday school because of the weather.  The main road was okay but the side roads were quite slippery, but we made it back safe and sound.  We had “Break the fast” dinner at the Elder & Sister McBride’s apartment, with Elder & Sister Lawson and President & Sister Smith, who is the second counselor in the Temple Presidency. 
We then went to the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center to see a live nativity scene that the site missionaries had put together.  It was wonderful and we really enjoyed it. 

We have only one week left and it is bitter sweet.  We will miss being here as the pioneer spirit is so strong here.  We have met and worked with many wonderful people and have learned so much more about our Prophet Joseph Smith and those who lived here.  We are excited to be back with our family and look forward to spending special time with all of you.  We love you and thank you for all for your support and prayers. 

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