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

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