Our Eternal Family

Our Eternal Family

Monday, November 16, 2015

It Is A Time To Be Grateful And Show Our Gratitude For All We Have

    Where do the weeks go.   We are in our 9th month here in the mission.  We have had some very cold days, but over all we haven't even needed a jacket.   They, those who know, say just wait, it will get cold.   They smile as they say it.   Anyway, all is good.   Most of the leaves have fallen and many times in the early morning there is a lot of fog.  It can look very much like winter.  One night I did pull out a heavy coat.

    I have several stories that I would like to share.   A few nights, or Rendezvous' ago Sister Johnson from  Parowan  told about her 12 year old son, Jake.  They have and love horses, they actually bought a team of horses from here in Nauvoo, who have finished their mission here and needed a place to retire.  Elder Johnson had a horse that he loved and had trained and trusted very much.   Jake in the early afternoon ask if he could take his dads horse and go for a ride.   Sister Johnson said that he had gone like this many times because he loved riding and there wasn't always someone that could go with him.  Well this afternoon he went to far and when it started to get dark he had lost his direction.  He headed home but was confused as to what direction he needed to go.  Of course, as parents we would be concerned if our son didn't come home,  Elder Johnson was sure he was alright because he knew his horse and trusted him.  Jake had gone up on the mountain above their home.  There was no way they could go to find him until morning because it was to dark.   At 5:30 am Elder Johnson got up and told Sister Johnson he knew where to go.   They had a cabin about 35 miles from their home and he headed there.   When he got there, the horse was tied up and Jake was in the cabin asleep on the couch.   Jake said that he just gave the horse his head, let go of the reins, and the horse headed to the closest  place he knew. He had actually fallen asleep on the horse.  She likened this to our Heavenly Father,  sometimes we need to give our Father in Heaven the reins and let him guide our life. We need to trust that he will guide us to do that which is true and right.

     Another sweet story was told by our choir director, Sister Hansen.  She told about her 3 year old grandson who has some challenges.   It was his mothers birthday and he heard the word birthday and got excited and ask if he would get a gift, and his mother explained that no he would not, but she would be getting the gifts because it was her birthday.  The little boy began to cry and said, but I don't have a gift for you.   She explained that he had cleaned his room and helped her put the dishes away in the kitchen and that  was the best gift she could get.   He ran away to play content that he had given his mother a gift.  Sometimes the gifts of the heart are the very best gifts of all.

   We had a great surprise Friday afternoon.  Jimmy and Becky Armstrong came to Nauvoo to see us.  We had dinner, soup and sandwiches, and then they attended our Rendezvous.  We didn't have a lot of time together, but it was so fun to see them.

    We have our Christmas Walk coming up, Dec. 4th.   It starts at 4:30 pm and goes to 10 pm.   Elder Horlacher will be a shepherd in the Nativity, and I get to be one of the stage managers.   Tell the shepherds and wise men, etc, when to enter the stage, and then encourage the guests to go to the other places. ha ha   There will be wagon rides, a tree lighting at the visitor center and caroling,  stories and singing in several of the sights, at the family living center they will have food and visiting, etc, there.  There will be big open barrels with fire in to keep warm with and caroling on the streets of Old Nauvoo. Then around ten the wagons will be ready to take everyone back to there cars at the visitor center.  On the 23rd we start to decorate the sights and will be finished by Thanksgiving Day.   For Thanksgiving we will be having dinner as a Zone.  We have 4 Zones in our mission.  So that will be nice, I believe there are 38 in our Zone and we will be sharing the cultural hall with another Zone.   This coming Saturday we are helping with a Thanksgiving Dinner for the members of the Stake who are investigating the church, who have recently been baptized, or who are inactive.  We are looking forward to the season.  We would like to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving.    There is so much to be thankful for even when we see our world turning upside down.   We are all children of a Father in Heaven who loves us and wants only the best for each of us.  We are all  brothers and sisters who are trying to do what is right.

   We continue to have wonderful experiences in each of the sites that we serve in.  Life is good, even when we have disappointments, heart breaks, etc.  We must always count our blessing and know there is a bigger plan that we may not see at the moment.   We just received word that one of our dear friends just passed away.  How we would love to be there to support and love his family.  Comfort only comes through the knowledge that we will see him again and that his family can be together again for eternity.  Lets always remember that we are all our Father in Heaven has, to do his work on this earth.  He is counting on each of us to love and comfort each other.   We love you all so much...   Words can't express how much you all are in our lives.  I invite us all to strive to be better than we think we are.  To make sure that our families know and understand the gospel, and the plan our Father in Heaven has for each of us and that we are never alone even when it may feel we are. 

   On our last P-day we went with three other missionary couples, we drove to Springfield, IL to see the Lincoln Memorial.  We had a very nice time. The presentations are so well done as they present the various historical aspects of Abraham Lincoln from boyhood to his death.  I have always respected President Lincoln and now have a greater appreciation of what he went through in his presidency and his personal life.

  Well this is our report for the week.  The mission is getting geared up for the holidays and I send you a Happy Thanksgiving Greeting.  We love you all so much and want you to know our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Book of Mormon is the Keystone to our religion

   Booooootiful Nauvoo has come and gone. It was fun to be a part of it all.  We carved pumpkins and handed out pamphlets for the Christmas walk, on Dec. 4, and then we became part of the Dragon.   By the time the parade  was over we had to leave, Elder Horlacher's legs were hurting so much that he wasn't sure he could get home, we had walked.
President and Sister Gibbons
He had been standing all day at the Brick Yard making bricks and then most of the evening.   We tried to get pictures of the pumpkins all lite but the wind was too strong and they wouldn't stay lite.  I am trying to find someone who got a picture later when they were lite.   It was a fun night and well attended.   The missionaries handed out bags of candy to everyone, not just the children.  As we handed out the fliers for the Christmas Walk most people accepted them and said they had been to it before and would definitely be back.   Folks came from as far as 60 miles away not counting guests who had come from all over to see the Historical Sites of Nauvoo.    It is amazing the different things the mission does to try to bring the communities from all around Nauvoo and the different churches together, after all we all believe in Christ.

   We took a tour around the area to see the different mounds, by the Mound Builders.   There are several areas that are protected by the different States where these mounds are located.   Some believe that this is part of the area where the Book of Mormon took place.   We also went to see where they think Zarahemla   may have been.  They are doing digs and ground ultrasound.   They said they will take their data and study it.  It was very interesting.   The Mississippi River may be the Sidon River.   A lot to think about and research.
The land of Zarahemla
across the river

The Book of Mormon--Keystone of Our Religion" in the Ezra Taft Benson, Teaching of the Presidents of the Church.   In his first general conference address as President of the Church, President Benson shared one reason for the urgency of this message.
The site of the temple of Zarahemla
a bridge to the mound
 "Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings," he warned, "the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: 'And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all'.  'And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.'
Our dearest Family and Friends we invite each of you to read and study more fully each and every day, the Book of Mormon.   Many of the trials that the early Saints suffered was because the Book of Mormon was not valued and read and studied as it should have been.   Our homes and families will be stronger if we will make the Book of Mormon a daily part of our lives.  We are learning that there is so much more that we as Missionaries need to do.   We devote much of our day and time to serving our Father in Heaven and we fall short.  Our world and country is falling apart  and we need our Father in Heavens hand to be in our lives.  Each and every one of us has to step up and do those things that we know to be true and right.  Remember, we are all our Father in Heaven has to do his work.  This is the promised land and he needs each of us to try harder.   We love you all so very much, and remember it is our greatest prayer that "we will cherish one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in Heaven together."  Lucy Mack Smith.

   Today at Guest Services I meet our daughter, Cheri's,Visiting Teacher Companion, Trish Albreckson. What a fun thing to meet those who know our loved ones and friends.