Our Eternal Family

Our Eternal Family

Monday, May 8, 2017

     We have been home now for about 6 months,  We have been doing Jed and Annie, and Thomas and Elizabeth, and sharing Stories from the Sites for home-evenings and firesides.  And have really enjoyed remembering our experiences there in Old Nauvoo.    We loved our mission so much and are really missing Nauvoo, Carthage, and the Spirits of the Saints who lived and walked the streets of Old Nauvoo.   And of course, the Missionaries whom we love so much.

     This experience of serving a mission is more than we could have ever dreamt of, and we are so grateful to Our Father in Heaven, and those who had the confidence in us to serve in Old Nauvoo and Carthage.

Elder Horlacher as the driver of the team of horses for the Rendezvous play.  That was his favorite part I think.  The teamsters thought he was to mean to the horses.

We had just arrived in the mission field and were ask to try out for parts.
At the Nauvoo Visitor Center in front of the first vision Statue.
This is how it was after Renedezvuou
Heather making pottery with Elder Horlacher looking on.

Elder Horlacher with Christene at the Family Living Center working with the pottery

We loved our mission.
Ready to go to Renedezvous in our back yard.

Relief Society
Thomas and Elizabeth.  Thomas telling Lizzy we would need to build a pen for the chickens and buy a roster.
Thomas will be tripping over his whiskers before he sees Elizabeth sitting on a wagon, leaving Nauvoo.
Too Old, Too Old .......................There for a minute I Thought you might be to old.

And so Nauvoo, I say Farewell to you,
Where Prophets walked and talked with God,

Farewell Nauvoo, Farewell Nauvoo 
Because we have to ...........Because we want to
All of the Jed and Annies That were left when stopped doing the Part.

Fairy Godmother
Valentine Party, Family Living Center and Cultural Hall.

Carthage Jail

Practicing our Slap Dance.  We did preform one night a week in Sunset by the Mississippi.

Nauvoo Visitor Center,  Sister Horlacher working Guest Services

The Jonathan Browning Home, The small cabin in the back
Our MTC group,  Elder Doying Was sick and they had to leave for surgery, They had been out almost six months.   They did not return and bro Doying pasted away about 9 months later of something totally different 
The Valentine Party.   The Cultural Hall where Joseph and Emma Danced in their day.  What a wonderful experience.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Our Farewell to Old Nauvoo.

     We have been home for several months now, and finally are ready to finish our blog.   Our good-bye skit was interesting.  As Jed and Annie are no longer in Rendezvous we decide to lay Jed to rest.   We had about 12 or 15 couples leaving, (what is sad is that several months out I'm not sure).   Some of the Elders built a coffin.   The Elders sang Poor Jude is dead, only they changed it to Jed.   It was silly but a lot of fun.   After breakfast we left, said our good byes and went to our home to finish packing and were on the road.   It was labor day week-end so we hit traffic and travel was slow.   We thought we could get to the ranch, where we thought we would spend a few days resting.   We got to Denver Co and started up the canyon and hit massive traffic,  About 2 miles an hour.   After about 2 hours we turned around and headed back to the city to find a room, only to find there were no rooms available.   We finally found one of the real expensive rooms, but decided we were too tired to keep looking or drive on home.   We got to the ranch the next day and found everything in order.   Our family, kids and grand kids had been there and made the place wonderful.   The neighbors said the place was pretty bad and that our family worked so hard.   We are so grateful for our family and the love they have for us.  They were soo supportive of us on our mission and just simply in our lives.   We feel so blessed.

     We loved our mission,  we are so grateful that we did not miss our mission.  Now that we are home we are glad to be with our family and able to see the grandchildren in their many activities and just be with them in their homes.   We, however, do miss Old Nauvoo, and the missionaries  that we love so much, and the spirit of the early Saints who lived and walked the streets.   We thank Our Father in Heaven, and Joseph Smith, who trusted us enough to represent them on our mission.  Each of our children and their family came and spent a week with us and were able to feel of the spirit of Joseph Smith and the Saints of Old Nauvoo.   We are truly changed for having this opportunity.   We Thank each of you for your love and support.   Please take the opportunity to visit, your life will be changed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

As We Count Our Blessings

   The preforming missionaries have gone home and the young Sister Missionaries are starting to go home and soon others will be leaving for their out bound missions.  It is getting quite here in Old Nauvoo.  The leaves are starting to show a bit of color and there is a feel of Fall in the air.   Many of the Senior Missionaries are getting ready to go home, we are included,  we have mixed feelings as we do want to come home and be with Family and Friends, but there is so much we will miss here.  We had our exit interview with Pres. and Sister Hall today, and we feel it is OK to come home.  We have served for 18 months and we feel we have done the best we could.  We have tried to do what ever we have been ask with as little complaining as possible. (maybe Elder Horlacher and myself complained a little to each other, ha)  We are glad, grateful, blessed to have not missed our mission.  When we think how long it took to finally get our mission call, we truly feel it a privilege to have been able to serve.

    There are many changes going on here in the mission.  I think that change can be hard for everyone, but when we are older it may be even harder.  ha   One of the parts in Rendezvous has gone away, Jed and Annie, one of the parts we were able to do.  We at first understood it was because Jed did say a bad word and then we heard they needed to cut something out to make the show shorter so we really don't know just why, but we feel bad as we felt it really did tell a story of the Saints here in Nauvoo.   Another change is at Carthage, we no longer play the film "Impressions of a Prophet".   I really liked the film as I felt it let people know who the Prophet Joseph Smith really was, a man who had been called by God to do something hard and he did it at all cost.  I think there is one thing we can always count on and that is change.  ha  Even tho it may be hard for some of us, it usually is for the best.

   Our son Bryan and his entire family were here the 2nd week of August.  His son Trevor arrived home from his mission on Thursday and they flew out here on Saturday.  Sister AhQuin, Tonya's mother came with them.  What a great time we had.  Again we didn't have much time with them but we did eat a few meals together and had a great visit.   We love our family so much and are so grateful all of our family were able to come to Nauvoo,   I think we will all be changed because of the visit here in this wonderful place.

   As I have been reflecting on the last 18 months, I came across something Pres. Gordon B Hinckley had said: "We are here to assist our Father in his work and his glory, 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39) 'Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere'.  Boy, did that ever hit home.  It doesn't matter what or where we are, if we are missionaries, primary teachers, Relief Society President, Priesthood leaders, we need to do our best to build the Kingdom of God.  This is a challenge for each one of us.  I know in todays world we really need it,  we always have but things just seem as if we can't wait to finally do what we know we need to do.  It will be good to come home and work together to build the Kingdom.  We love you all so much.  How blessed Elder Horlacher and myself are to be a part of your life.  Thank you for your support and love.

   We had our final performance at Rendezvous last night, our final "Thomas and Elizabeth"  and with Heavenly Fathers help and the angels help, it went really well.   President and Sister Hall had come to watch.   It was really nice.  Pres. Hall calls Elder Horlacher his body guard, Porter Rockwell.  He loves to tease him about it.   Anyway, I told you earlier that the vignette  'Jed and Annie" had gone away, but Pres. Hall had seen us do it when they first came to Nauvoo in January, so he requested that we perform on Thursday night at Rendezvous.  So, we had to get scripts, so we could practice.  We haven't performed it for 6 months or more.  I don't know what others will say when they find out, as no one is to know until Thursday at 6:30.  I hope we will be able to do it.

   We have most of the house packed.  Tomorrow and Thursday is considered our pack days and then Friday after breakfast we will be on the road.  We have been invited to dinner every night this week.  It is hard to say good by to our friends.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

What I've Learned

     The Summer is just about over.  We have appreciated the slight change in the hot muggy weather.  It is always a challenge with the heat and humidity to work in the blacksmith shop making horseshoes by the forge.  They had to shut down the wagons because of the heat index several times this year to protect the horses from the heat.  There have been a lot of changes in the mission which will make things better.  The health of the missionaries is a major concern for the mission presidency.  I have been blessed to have a very small part in this as I have been able to sit in council with President Hall and President Hyte and President Blair.  President Hyte and I were released last week from our callings.  I learned a great deal regarding the mission and what it takes to keep it running smooth.  With over 200 missionaries, young sister missionaries, young preforming missionaries, the Nauvoo Brass Band, the teamsters, facility management,  and of course the historic sites and the plays and pageants all take a lot of coordination and effort.  With only a few weeks left of our mission I find myself reflecting on the last 18 months.

     What have I learned and experienced.  I have enjoyed very much being with my companion. She works so hard and even when it isn't easy she has a smile for everyone.  I have enjoyed the missionaries.  Getting to know them has been a blessing.  We will always cherish these friendships with such wonderful people.  I have been forced out of my comfort zone with the performances in Sunset and Rendezvous.  We have done things on the stage which I never would have done especially at this stage of our lives.  We have enjoyed a measure of success.  I came so far out of my shell that I even volunteered to sing a solo for the  talent show.  I was not chosen to preform for Sunset but had a marvelous experience when I was asked to sing the song "Angels Among Us" at a going away social for Elder and Sister Angell This is the song with I sang for the mission talent show.  I didn't get discouraged because I had the experience of doing and trying.  At one point I thought I could sing a solo in church but was told that the policy was to only have groups sing in sacrament meetings.  I discovered that each  hymn can be sung with heart and the best of  my ability which would be my solo to the Lord.  The saints in Nauvoo had many ways in which to accomplish the tasks at hand and not to be discouraged.

     I have always felt that I could make quick and accurate judgment's of situations and people.  I have had to adjust my thinking because I have been so wrong in my thinking.  Some of my favorite missionaries are ones which I made an incorrect judgement.

     I have a more meaningful testimony of the early saints in the church.  I really appreciate and understand the trials and experiences.  They are not just names in a book but have become real to me.
Every site has a story that needs to be told, understood and remembered.  The deeper understanding of Joseph and Hyrum at Carthage will be a highlight of my mission.  How when telling about Carthage the visitors were touched by the Spirit.

     I have learned many practical skills of the saints.  How to make a brick.  How to make a horseshoe and a prairie diamond ring.  Making ropes and shoes, barrels and clay pots.  I even learned how to weave as well as making a gun barrel.

     The performances at Rendezvous gave us the experiences of doing Jed and Annie which is no longer in the Rendezvous.  The part of Thomas and Elizabeth required both a duet as well as a solo for us.  I will confess that my favorite thing to do in Rendezvous was driving the horses in the "Streets" segment.  I would always get a lot of comments and laughs from the audience as the driver is oblivious to the rough ride of the passengers.

     I have experienced what a Zion society is like as we have served with so many wonderful Elders and Sisters here in Nauvoo.  We will cherish their friendship forever.  I know this work is of the Lord and that He hears and answers prayers.  I know that He knows me and this gives me great comfort and hope as I want to see Him again and express my love to Him for all the blessings which He has been so good to give me and my family.  Having two grandsons (Trevor and Richard) being missionaries while we have served has been a great blessing and honor.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Our Adventure moves right along. . . .

     Our time at Carthage is coming to a close.   The last 4 months have been a treasure.    The growth that Elder Horlacher and I have grown is beyond measure.   Perhaps we could say the crowning jewel.   This is where Joseph finished his work.   How grateful we are to have learned and shared those final days with those who have come to visit.   Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum did give their lives so that we could have the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ on earth today.   Just as our Savior, Jesus Christ had to go on the Cross at Calvary for each of us, Joseph had to shed his blood so we could have the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.   Just as millions go to Calvary to pay homage to our Savior Jesus Christ, I believe the people who come to Carthage come to remember him, and his brother, Hyrum.   When you consider that the Jail is 175 years old, it has been around 171 or 172 since the martyrdom, and thousands still come each year to remember. Many of the guests come yearly because of the spirit and peace that is found here.   The McReys, who over saw the Restoration of the Carthage Jail wrote a book as they were restoring the jail.   They tell in their book that the quality of the building is a higher standard than other building in Illinois at that time.   They feel that Heavenly Father had a hand in the building of the jail.   I love to think that he did and wanted the jail to be here in our day so we can visit the place where Joseph and Hyrum gave their lives to seal their testimonies in blood.   We are grateful to our Father in Heaven for the privilege of serving 4 wonderful months at the Carthage Visitor Center and Jail.    When we were called to serve here in Nauvoo, my desire was to know the man, Joseph Smith, the Prophet.  I truly feel that I know him better than when I came.

     We have now been back in Nauvoo for 6 weeks.   We live in the flats this time, we live upstairs in a very small apartment,  So we are not able to have friends and family stay with us, other than that we find it to be very comfortable.   We have learned we can do without many things and we can do hard things.  I tease when I say we only come home at night when we can stay in, so we don't have to do the stairs more than once.    Actually they are good exercise.  ha

     Our son Charles and his family were here last week,  They were here a full week.   They gave us the energy to carry on.   We had such a wonderful visit.   We weren't able to do many of the tours with them but we had some meals together and just visited as we had time.   We love our family so much,  they are our joy and happiness.  We have our son Bryan and his entire family, and Tonya's mother coming the 6th of August.   Our whole family will have visited us here in old Nauvoo.   We count our Blessings each day.  What did we do to have been blessed this much?

    This summer has been hot, humid and dry.   This last week and a half we have had a little rain so every thing is green.   It took a half inch of rain to turn things around.   Some of the farmers did use their sprinkling system to save their crops.  Last summer was a wet and mild summer.   Elder Horlacher and I have done our share of perspiring this summer.  The pageant is half over, the month of July is half over,  we find it hard to realize how fast the time is going.

     I have served in the Heber C Kimball home several times since I have been back in Nauvoo.   In the tour I share a story of Heber just after they arrived here in Nauvoo.  He had purchased an old stable and took it apart and then built a crude lean to for his family to live in.  He was called to serve a mission in England with Brigham Young.   At this time Heber was sick, his children were all sick and his wife Violet was deathly ill.   When the appointed time came Brigham Young, also sick, was helped in to a boat to cross the river to meet with Heber, so they could began their mission.  They   stayed a short time at the Kimball home, hoping to get well.   As Heber and Brigham left they were both helped into the wagon, as the driver began to leave Heber ask him to stop, he said to Brigham, " My heart feels like it is melting to leave my family in the arms of death, Bro. Brigham, even tho it will be hard to do lets stand and give a hurrah to our families,"   They stood and called," Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for Isreal."   The wives hearing the call did get  out of bed and came to the door to wave good bye.  Heber and Brigham were on their way to England, not knowing where they would spend the night or where they would eat their next meal.   They understood how important it was to spread the gospel throughout the world.  I was thinking what would I do,  would I tell the brethren that I would go when I was well.   They had such faith, how grateful I am for their faith and dedication to the gospel and the Lord.   I will truly come home a different person.  It is good to be back in the sites to share the Saints stories once more before we leave.    We are getting acquainted with the new missionaries, as we were in Carthage when they arrived and really didn't get to know many of them.  They are getting ready to take over.  how I remember last year when many of the missionaries left.  I didn't know if we could do all that was ask but I now know that it is possible and that they will even be better.

   I had an experience 2 nights ago.   I have been having some trouble with dehydration.  I'm pretty sure this  is why this experience happened, but I had gone to bed around 9 o'clock.  I had been a sleep for around an hour when I suddenly got cold.  Really cold. I got a couple of blankets and added to the covers.  I could not get warm, this went on for about 3 hours when it hit me, this would have been how the Saints would have felt when they were crossing the plains.  They would have been wet, no place to dry their clothes and to warm themselves.  The reality hit me so strong.  They probably didn't get warm.  My heart hurts as I think about how cold they really must have been.  I also realize I can do hard things.  I am so grateful to know the things I have learned here in Old Nauvoo, and I am grateful for the lessons the Saints have taught me.   I love my Father in Heaven,  now comes the hard part, and that is to endure to the end living as I know I must to be with my Family, my Friends, and with Heavenly Father.   May we all "Cherish one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction that we may all sit down together in Heaven."   Lucy Mack Smith

   We love you all so much.   Thank you for all of your love and support.   I am grateful to call you all family.  Know that you are each Special, and a Son or Daughter of a Father in Heaven who loves you and wants only the very best for each of us.

 We started to watch the corn grow but before we knew it, it was full grown

The Angells, they left early to care for her parents,  wonderful people
 Remember the turtles of last summer, well they were slower this year.  We counted 30 on this log.   They are so fun to watch.

Sister Cluff,  she helped teach us how to sing for Thomas and Elizabeth.  Number one cheerleader.
Charles, Christene, Nicole, Travis, Heather, Jeremy
Sister Cluff

 Our last home here in  Old  Nauvoo, 920 Hotchkiss Street.  We are upstairs. Our entrance is in the back.  The picture of Elder and Sister Horlacher in our back yard.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Wonderful 4 Months come to a Close. . .

     We will be moving back to Nauvoo.  We will have been in Carthage for four months.  We had hoped to be able to stay for the remainder of our mission.  Everyone is getting prepared for the peak time of the year.  Now we take between 100 to 200 visitors a day but in July we are prepared to take over a 1,000 a day.  This is quite a challenge because we try to limit the groups to 30 with up to 3 groups in the Jail at a time.  With so many missionaries wanting to serve in Carthage we feel blessed to serve and feel the great spirit which is here.  We have had an adventure in moving back as we are trading apartments with our replacements the Waltons.  They need  a place to stay while we move out and we couldn't move in until they move out.  So they are moving their stuff into a trailer.  We will be moving June the 6th and 7th. to Nauvoo.

   We will miss Carthage and have learned a lot about the power of the spirit which is here.  We have witnessed the spirit touching the hearts of so many members and non members who visit.  The drive however will not be missed!  The extra hour needed for the round trip to Nauvoo (6 days a week) will not be missed and we like to drive!  Our new home will be a block away from the pageant stage. We are moving into an up stairs apartment.

Brother and Sister Bowlingbroke from
Idaho Falls by way of Sparks, Nevada
     I have been given a new responsibility in Nauvoo.  President Hyte first councilor of the mission presidency has been real sick and needs some help in his assignments.  I have been called to help with his assignments as well as other special projects.  I will be spending two days a week in that capacity and the rest of the week I will be working in the sites.  I will attend all of the presidency meetings. Monday our meetings started at 7:30 and ended at 1:30 pm. This might not be a typical week as we have had visitors from Salt Lake.
Bushnell home for 3 Senior couples
and 6 YSM's
    Our daughter- in- law, Christene's friend, Kasie Newman.  Bowlingbrokes know Elder Horlachers brother Fred.   Carol and Mel Lowel were here in Nauvoo the 5th and 6th.  What a treat.  We played games, had a great visit.  They treated us to dinner, for Elder Horlachers Birthday on the 7th.  We really needed their visit.  They are so wonderful.  There aren't many wheat fields close to us, but this one was beautiful.  The wheat is so high and is almost ready to harvest.  The geese, and their babies.  They grew so fast we almost missed getting a picture while they were still small.

The sweet young Sisters who are serving at Carthage with us.   Sister Chappman, from California, Sister Schenck, from San Diego, Sister Nelson, from American Fork, now St. George.  Sister Farrell, Clearfield Utah.   We also have Sister Wood and Sister Goble.

    Sometimes we even color coordinate,  It was so wonderful to work and get to know the young sister missionaries.   If only their mothers could see and hear them teach.

    Brother and Sister Slaugh came from St George and looked us up.   They were our home teacher and visiting teacher before we left  on our mission.  We look forward to seeing each of our friends and ward family again.

This family is from the Philippines, the area where our grandson Elder Miklich is serving.
What an honor to meet them.

   Our bird feeder at Bushnell,  a squirrel trying to eat the feed.  It was fun to watch how he climbed down the small rope, really it was more of a string to get the food.  We finally took it down because we couldn't keep food in it for the birds. ha

    Our Stephen Markham District, as well as the Elder Missionary couples who are assigned to the Carthage Visitor Center.    E/S Hutchinsons,  Elder Horlacher,  E/S Bowler, E/S Metcalf,  E/S Johnson 2.  They are all so special.  It was so wonderful to work with them.

   Carthage was so wonderful.  We truly feel that we know who Joseph and Hyrum really were.  They were men who loved life, their families, their fellow men and wanted to live, but knew to bring the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ back to the earth, they had to seal their testimonies with their blood, just as our Savior, Jesus Christ had to go on the cross at Calvary.  We love you all so very much.

Elder Johnson