Our Eternal Family

Our Eternal Family

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.