My understanding of the saints living here in Nauvoo has increased. When we first got here with all of the materials from the sites that we needed to learn we might have lost sight of the forest because of the trees. Now I see that we were learning the different stages. We learned the histories about the saints who lived and worked here in Nauvoo. Often we learned the dates they moved or joined the church and any other significant events in their lives. While these things were and are important in their lives, the big picture was missing. I believe that I am just starting to understand this principle. I am getting better about identifying the trials and experiences which refined and purified the saints of old Nauvoo. That spirit of the early saints is still here in Nauvoo, and when we look for it we can see it everywhere. We can appreciate in a greater way the trials, the conditions, the hopes and fears and appreciate the righteous desires of their hearts. The saints
of old Nauvoo were true and valiant to the faith. They carried on, even when they may have thought they couldn't and were true to the faith. We give key messages at each of the sites. These key messages are the teaching moments in our missionary work. This week my key messages have a greater impact because I have requested the guests to put themselves in the shoes of the saints. For example one of the key messages in the brick yard is to build your house on a rock, meaning the rock of Jesus Christ. That a brick home represents building a solid home on a rock foundation.
This is a great message and one that I use each day however I have expanded the message to relate to the brick making process. After explaining the process of making bricks with all of the various steps and time required and the conditions necessary to make a valuable product. I have received great spiritual experiences when I have invited the guests to put themselves in the shoes of the saints to think of their feelings, the heart ache of leaving their beautiful homes which they had worked so hard to build, to travel to an unknown place in the Rocky Mountains. Simply put the saints left old Nauvoo to follow a prophet of God. When the visitors think of these things I have seen the workings of the Spirit of God touch their hearts. My understanding of how the spirit works has greatly improved. I may have been trying to do too much, too much talking on my part and not enough silent time which allows the spirit the time to enter the hearts and souls of the guests. I am learning to be a better missionary just by getting the people focused on the principle or concept and then be quite and stand back and not hinder the spirit of the Lord from touching the hearts of the guests. I have also learned that many of my character assessments and judgments are not accurate. Some of the roughest looking folks are the most visibly touched by the Spirit. I think often how my son Bryan talks about his experience in the oil fields of Wyoming, working with a rough character and how he was so surprised to learn from him that he was a member of the church. This rough character told Bryan this because of the good example set by Bryan in living up to the principles of the gospel. We should all remember that we need to be extra careful with the judgments we make of people because we can't see their hearts and potential. I am very thankful to be a missionary. To have such a wonderful companion who I love and cherish for all time and eternity. I am thankful to work with so many missionaries who are true and valiant in the gospel. I am thankful for the blessings which the Lord pours out upon you and all of my loved ones. I thought that by going on a mission I would be able to repay the Lord for the great blessings which he has blessed me and my family with. I was wrong because I get more and more blessings.