Our Eternal Family

Our Eternal Family

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

Monday, May 2, 2016

April showers bring May flowers . . . .

    Life is good. . . .   Busy is good. . . .   Knowing that Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ know each one of us personally and love us is a true blessing. . . .   We, Elder Horlacher and myself love each one of you and are so grateful for your love and support.   You are all the best.

    Here in Illinois it is Spring,  the tulips have come and gone, the leaves are now on the trees, the grass is green, much of the corn fields are planted and up about 3 or 4 inches.   It is beautiful.  The turtles are active on the river, sitting on the logs to dry and warm, until we drive by and then they drop back into the water.   So fun to watch.  The geese have hatched their eggs and the little goslings are growing about as fast the corn.   It really gives a new lease on life. . .   What a wonderful time in life.  Spring really gives a desire to do better and try harder to do the things we want and know we should do.

     We had an experience at Carthage that I would love to share.   It was about closing time and because the Carthage grounds are so groomed and beautiful, many people come and take pictures.  The High School Students and their families were coming to take Prom pictures.  These students were coming from all around, as far as Quincy, 30 miles away.   Everything was fine until some of the young men, 5 or so, decided to take a picture with the Joseph and Hyrum statute. They were acting up and pulling faces and really being disrespectful.   What to do.  Sister Schenck, a young Sister, decided to talk to them about how they were acting.   When you walk on the grounds here at Carthage you can feel that this place is special, and can feel the peaceful feeling, the wonderful spirit that is here.  The spirit was gone, it felt almost cold.  She asked if they knew who these two men were. Joseph and Hyrum.   They started to make fun and guess who they were.  Sister Schenck ask them to move away from the Statue, which they did.

The parents rolled their eyes and acted about as disrespectful as the young people.   About this time a little family came to see the Jail.  Mom, Dad, and 6 Children, all with special needs.   They were all about the same age,  6-8ish.   We had just closed the Visitor Center and Elder Horlacher was in the Jail with the last tour.  We had told the family that we were closed for the day, as we usually have to leave to go to Nauvoo to sing and dance.  However, this night we did not.  The family had came to Carthage from Oklahoma and this was there only day here.  They said it was OK, they would just stay a little while on the grounds.   The children sat around the statue and their parents said, "lets sing like we do before we go to bed."   They sang "Oh, how lovely was the morning"  and then other songs.   The spirit returned to the Carthage ground.   The sweet Sisters ask if they could take this little family through the Jail.  The parents had prepared these little children to see and feel the spirit that is in the jail.  And so they did.  The children were so reverent and ask some wonderful questions.   The group taking pictures finally left and the spirit and peace returned.   How we love our young Sister Missionaries.

   Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia talked about a contest he was asked to judge.  The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.  The winner was: "A four-year-old child, whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman, who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there.  When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy just said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."   The things we can learn from children.

Jim & Carrie

Women's Garden

Brother and Sister George Durrant
Sister Susan Easton Durrrant presented lectures twice a week
last Fall and this spring  on church history

Sister Lowe

Sister Apperson and Cluff

The Fields Amaze me!  This will either be Corn or Soybeans

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Carthage and Life

     It is astonishing to me to see how the Spirit touches the people who come to Carthage.  We had a small group of 5 people from Brazil and China.  The two men from Brazil married women from Shanghai.  The night before Carthage this group attended our Rendezvous with the mission president.  We were told that they were  VI P's.  ("A rumor did Fly")  At Carthage each missionary takes their turn giving the tours as the groups come.  It was my turn for the tour when this group arrived.  I thought everything went well.  The questions which they asked were all answered and I felt good about the experience.  After the tour the group talked among themselves in Chinese for quite some time in the visitors center.  I provided some information about the pioneer trail and additional church historic sites.  The men from China was writing his doctorate thesis regarding the Mormon Church and its adverse treatment in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. The group was going to Salt Lake for Conference Weekend.  Today in our training meeting President Hall told our mission that when this group got to Utah the two non-members asked to be baptized. The baptism was preformed by a member of the 70.  It is so wonderful to see and be a small part of  this great work.  President  Hall explained that the Chinese culture need to have every piece of the puzzle fit, that a missing piece of the puzzle creates a great stumbling block for them.  I have no idea what pieces came together but I do know that the Spirit is the answer.  I believe that in the days to come that through these folks and others that the church in China will expand greatly.

     I had a older brother and sister on a tour of the jail.  In the martyrdom room with just the three of us there and with plenty of time,  they shared some very special things with me.  They are both converts.  The first time that the brother come to Carthage as a non-member he said that he felt and saw something very special.  He said that he saw the room June 27th, 1844, and the events which happened there.  He could see the smoke from the black power guns and how it filled the room.  As he told me I was able to understand better how Willard Richards could have been overlooked by the mob being yet alive due to the smoke filled room. Also Joseph had prophesied the day would come that Willard Richard would see balls or bullets fly on his right and left side and his friends would fall, but Willard would not receive a hole in his garment.  He did receive a nick under his left ear.  He realized that that prophecy had been fulfilled.  I am learning as I see and witness how the spirit touches the hearts of people.  Everyone is different and what I see or feel is not how others see or feel as we receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost.  It is a blessing in my life to witness this in the lives of others.  We play a 4 minute audio tape which describes in detail the events in that room.  I've heard the tape many times so I now take this time to study the folks which are in the room.  I watch how they are touched by the spirit which is there.  This is a remarkable experience for me.

     The Talent Show has been an experience.  The show its self went very well, all 26 numbers!  We have a lot of talent in our mission.  Sister Horlacher was part of our Lucy Mack cast sisters singing "Sugartime".  All 10 sisters sang the song and then had a hand slap routine which was fun to watch with their white gloves.  I was plenty nervous as I sang the song "Angels Among Us".  Sister Cluff played the piano and Elders Reimen, Hombs and Apperson completed the stage band and backup singing for the chorus.  It went well because I didn't pass out; I received a lot of complements.  I feel so relieved that this experience is over!

     I had to give the thought and prayer a week ago in Rendezvous, and I had heard this story which I love so I shared it with our cast.   "Who Packs Your Parachutes"   Charles Plumb was a Navy Jet pilot in Vietnam.  After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface to air missile.   Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.   He was captured and lived 6 years in a communist prison.  He survived and is now giving lectures on things he learned from this experience.   One day he and his wife were eating lunch at a resturant.   A man walked up to his table and said, "You are Plumb, a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam, and was shot down."   Plumb was surprised and ask, "How did you know that?"   The man replied,"I packed your parachute."   Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.  They shook hands and the man said, "I guess it worked!"    "It sure did or I wouldn't be here today."   Plumb thought about the man all night.   He wondered what the man looked like in uniform.   How many times had he seen him, and not even said 'good morning' or 'how are you?'  Because he was a pilot and the other was a sailor.   He thought of the many hours he had spent at those long tables folding each parachute just so.   Holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn't know.    Now he asks his audience "Who's packing your parachutes?"    We all have someone who provides what we need to make it through the day.   There are many kinds of parachutes,  Plumb used them all when he went down.   Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parachutes.   Sometimes in our daily challenges that life gives us we miss what is really important.   We may fail to say hello or thank you, congratulations on something wonderful that has happened to them.   Give a compliment or say something nice for no reason at all.  I want to thank each of you for your part in packing my parachute.  I love you all.  You all are so special in my life.

    Elder Horlacher's brother Jim and his wife Carrie came to visit us.  They are so wonderful.  They are our first guests here at Carthage.   We had such a nice visit with them.  It's hard to spend much time together, but they came to see us preform in Rendezvous and to see our Sunset practice.  Jim even danced a little with Elder Horlacher.   I think they are about ready to come and preform.  Ha
They are such a support to us.  We love you both so much.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Lots of Events

     We are getting up to speed, increasing our endurance for the active spring and summer months ahead.  Spring is here as we see the trees bud, the winter crops getting green, the tulips are about 4 inches above the ground and even the Canadian geese are nesting.  The weather hasn't quit got the message as there are still some cold days and nights.  The river is thawed and the huge river barges are operating on the Mississippi River.

     The Relief Society Re-enactment was held at the Community of Christ's Red Brick Store.  The sister missionaries attended in there best period dresses and bonnets.  From the visitors center they rode in the wagons to the Red Brick store.  I was asked to be in the program to play Willard Richards, The 1st and 2nd councilors of our mission participated.  President Blair was Joseph Smith and President Hyte as John Taylor.  Our mission president, President Hall also attended.  I had the best speaking part possible...when Joseph asks Willard to take the minutes, I said "thanks".  They said I did very well.  I was suppose to pretend to be taking notes with a feather quill pen.  There was a ball point pen attached to the feather so I decided to take the minutes of the organization of the one of oldest women's organization in the world.  Many were interested in what I was writing.

Sister Perazzo from Fallon, Nevada along with President Hyte and Blair in front of the Red Brick Store along the Mississippi River.
    The Carthage visitor's Center has gotten busier. For the month of March we have had _347 tours of 2,782 guests compared to last month of 45 tours and 367 guests. Things are just starting to get busy.  The Carthage Visitors Center on a busy day this Summer will see over a 1,000 guest per day.  Many families have taken advantage of the school breaks and have come to Nauvoo and Carthage.  Each tour takes 45 minutes to complete.  We have really been blessed as we have witnessed the Spirit touch those who come.  Carthage truly is a special place.  There is nothing routine about the tours.  When you are in the very room where Joseph and Hyrum gave their life's blood for the work and cause of the Lord.  How they were able to endure to the end.  I invite the guests to imagine and ponder about being here in the very room June 27th about 5:15 PM when the mob murders Joseph and Hyrum.  We testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  My understanding and appreciation has grown so much more deeply.  Last week as I was bearing my testimony a woman asked me how being in the Martyrdom room strenghtened my testimony?   I'm  not sure what I said as I answered her.  It was like the words were not mine as I testified with a very real and powerful spirit how this knowledge of  Joseph and Hyrum's sacrifice of their life's blood for the cause of truth.

When ever we have guests which need an interrupter I am amazed at the strong spirit which is there.  It is like the communication is spirit to spirit.  When the folks are speaking Spanish I think of Elder Trevor Horlacher in Mexico how he is testifying and teaching or Elder Richard Miklich in the Philippines as we have had guests from those countries.  When the weather and time of day is just right you can see a reflection of the paintings of Joseph and Hyrum.   Joseph in the window and Hyrum in the open door way of the summer kitchen.

     We have preformed our new parts of  Thomas and Elizabeth, the Rendezvous play now a number of times.  We still get keyed up (I sweat) because of nerves. As we ask for strength we are able to do amazing things which are totally out of our comfort zone.  For both of us to sing solos on stage is something that I would have never thought possible.  I am so proud of Cheryl.  When she says her lines and sings  on stage I have to be careful not to forget my parts because she is that good!She has become my coach as I am singing a solo for the mission talent show in April.  I felt that I might as well go for it!  Some of the numbers from the talent show will be selected to preform on the Sunset Stage for the summer shows.  I honestly don't care if I don't make the cut, what matters to me is that I tried.  The song is "Angels Among Us" by Alabama.  The last time I practiced on the stage with a mike sister Horlacher told me that I wasn't singing loud enough because when I sing louder my voice sound more raspy and better.  So I will belt it out even with the mike in my hand.  I have excellent coaches.

     Last Saturday I attended the temple with Brother Nick Kennedy.  He gave me the honor of being his escort as he received his endowment.  He has truly grown in the gospel.  This October he and his wife are planning to be sealed in the Las Vegas Temple and then attend the St George temple with a short visit to the ranch as they continue on to the Salt Lake Temple.

     Other events which have kept us busy.  The Multi denominational Easter Program which was held in the Nauvoo Stake center.  This is the second time we have attended this special event.  We also attended the Prairie Grass Fire again.  It is amazing how fast it burns.
The Annual Prairie Grass Fire..From start to finish is just a few seconds

This is the Cox family from Star Valley, WY.  They are good friends of the Waltons which we served with.

The Reed family from Sparks, Nevada.  They are in the same ward as Fred R.
      We have new missionaries.  18 couples arrived two weeks ago and we will have an additional group coming the end of this week.  We have to admit that we are now the seasoned missionaries now in the Nauvoo Illinois Mission. Elder and Sister Hutchinson have been assigned to the Carthage Jail visitors center straight from the MTC.  They have done so good they are experts now at giving the presentation which takes 45 minutes per tour.  We just got another couple assigned to Carthage, Elder and Sister Johnson 2.  They are from Mesa, AZ We haven't been able to work with them yet because the have been training in Nauvoo.  They will be taking care of the grounds.   The picture with Joseph in the window is a reflection of the picture of Joseph in the Visitor Center.   At certain times of the day and if the weather is just right it looks like Joseph is looking out the window of the Jail.   At times we can see Hyrum standing in the door way of the summer kitchen.   It is really cool.

The picture of the Mississippi River, early morning fog, and a fisherman in a boat was so beautiful.
The picture of the Sunset was taken out in the prairie.  It looked like the whole west was on fire.   A little different than the sunsets on the Mississippi but just as beautiful.

Monday, March 21, 2016

We must have Courage and be Kind. .

     We are always reminded about keeping the Sabbath Holy, and it does way on our minds as we try to keep it holy.   Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley said:  "If you have and doubt about the wisdom, the divinity of observing the Sabbath day, stay away from the stores on Sunday, stay away from the markets, stay home and gather your family about you.  Teach them the gospel, enjoy yourselves together on the Sabbath day, come to your meetings, participate.   You will know that the principle of the Sabbath is a true principle which brings with it great blessings."

     As Elder Horlacher has been talking about Carthage and our new assignment, I am so grateful for this opportunity to talk about Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.  There is a quote from Joseph, it is found in Joseph Smith History 1:25:  "So it was with me.  I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth?  I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen?  For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it,  neither dared I do it, at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."  I share this with our visitors at the end of my tours each day.   And I bare testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.   I truly feel of his spirit each day as I serve at Carthage.   Joseph Smith is a prophet of God in the latter days, or he is not.   It is as simple as that. . .

     As we serve our mission we have many opportunities to learn about enduring.  ha ha    There are some days when we are concerned about doing that one more thing.  Here is a quote from Pres. Thomas S. Monson:  "What does it mean to endure?  I love this definition:  to withstand with courage.  Courage may be necessary for you to believe: it will at times be necessary as you obey.  It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence."  We must all have courage.   Have any of you seen the new movie Cinderella from Disney?  If not you must see it,  her mother tells her she must have courage and be kind.  What a wonderful concept.

     We love you all so very much,   You are our family and friends and " we must cherish one another, comfort one another and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together".   Lucy Mack Smith

Not Spring Yet, But Just Around The Corner

     We are enjoying the assignment of being in carthage.  Working together each and every day is a special experience for us.  Sister Horlacher also enjoys not having to wear the site cloths as an extra benefit. I wear a suit and tie each day now which isn't as comfortable.  We are always on a time constraint the tours of the Nauvoo historic sites range from 10 to 15 minutes while here in Carthage the time for the complete tour is 45 minutes.  A special film of Joseph Smith takes 18 minutes and the rest of the time is taken in the jail.  Our Key message is that Joseph was a prophet.  The spirit which is here is powerful and our experiences are phenomenal.  A well dressed man came for a tour of  the jail.  He had the time for the complete tour.

     His legal case was completed and had a little time before returning to Northern Illinois.  He was interested in the legal aspects.  The what, where, why and how of the charges of the case.  While I have read and studied the historical aspects I didn't have all of the details.  This was good because we exchanged email information so that I can provide the information he desired.  He likes history.  He also told me that "America could have had a wonderful president if they had elected Mit Romney.  I have never meet a Mormon who wasn't a good.  James Patten is his name.  I will send the material and if I can get a mailing address I will include a history book of God's dealings with the people of ancient America's like He's dealings with the people of  Holy Land.  The Book of Mormon is the tangible hold in your hand key to know if the gospel is true and has been restored and that Joseph is a true prophet.  By the way we have seen the fellow which we had wrote about before has been back to the jail two time that we have seen.  We saw him on the sidewalk just looking at the jail through the fence for a few minutes.  The other time he was in a pick-up doubled parked looking at the jail. We believe and hope that we will be able to talk with him again.  It is clear to us that he is deeply interested and maybe a little troubled regarding this place.  We meet many of your friends that come to Carthage as well.      
 The Hammer Family from Santa Clara, Utah.  We had a very nice tour with them.  It is fun to visit about our families in Utah and Arizona.

We meet the Skinner Family from Arizona but unable to get a photograph.  The Skinner's are friends of Charles and Christine and family.

The Needham family from St. George.