Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas in Nauvoo!

Christmas in Nauvoo was wonderful! We've never received so many Christmas cards and goodies ever before - and all from the Senoir missionaires we love and serve with!

After the many wonderful Nauvoo Christmas activites that we enjoyed participating in - Christmas Walk, Handel's Messiah, and The Miracle of Christmas program -  it was nice just sitting at home cozy and warm on the 24th (our Prep-day) and Christmas Day. Then, because of technology -  our kids and grandkids were "face to face" with us!  We watched the kiddos practise walking, open their gifts, do tricks and be goofy! Almost like being there but without the mess and the dishes! (Blatant plug for you senoir couples out there to go on a mission!)

The mission hosted a wonderful ham dinner on Christmas Day followed by a short program. Bryce was the MC of the program and he wrote a poem for the occasion. Hope you all enjoy it! 

All in all, this was a Christmas to be fondly remembered! 

The Rescue                 December 2015                                   by Elder Bryce Walton

Santa’s sleigh ‘s on outside of town, Completely broken down.
And Rudolf’s crashed the whole team so they’re tangled on the ground.
If Rudolf had just seen the lighted Temple on the hill,
He wouldn’t have hit that silo where all the gifts would spill.

Oh glory goodness, what a mess, now what would Santa do?
He’d have to get them out of there before the night was through.
And what of all the children who lived in Nauvoo town.
He could not bear to see a single face that had a frown.

Now not to far away President Gibbons watched the sky
He thought for just a minute he’d seen Santa’s sleigh go by.
Yes, there was a trail of stardust but it suddenly took a dip.
Oh what if Santa Clause had crashed and couldn’t complete the trip.

He tried to use the Internet but that thing never worked.
I guess I’ll use the telephone he nodded with a jerk.
President Venkeer and President Hyte got quickly out of bed.
It sounded like the President thought Santa Clause was dead.
His counselors soon got to work to notify the troops.
Have the District Leaders gather them in groups. 

We had better wake the teamsters and get them out of bed,
And we’ll need the sleigh and horses especially Mic and Ned.
By now all lights in houses were on in town and flats
And all were grabbing tools as they donned coats and hats.

Zone leaders called the Districts and they called every one
The Senior Missionaries were all moving on the run.
But oh when they arrived upon the crash site what a start.
Packages were everywhere, all harnesses torn apart.
The reindeer were exhausted; they lay as in a daze
And all the reigns and traces were tangled in a maze

When all the sewing room sisters arrived upon the scene
They saw that Santa’s great big bag was torn from seam to seam.
Quick, grab your threads and needles; we’ll fix up that old pack
Then everyone pick up the gifts and help us put them back.

There’s no time now to fix this mess the Teamster boss cried out

Now Santa’s sleigh is broken so he’ll have to use our sleigh
We’ll hook it to the horses then he’ll be on his way.

Now the Belgians did not know that it would be a busy night
It would be somewhat difficult without the gift of flight.
To speed them on their way we will need to say a prayer
But Santa sprinkled stardust and they rose into the air.

Whoever had seen 8 Belgians adrift upon the sky.
Mythical beasts I hear you say but I see them flying by
Now off they went into the air to finish Santa’s run.

But without the missionaries he’d never have gotten it done.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Prophet of God

Yesterday was Sunday and Bryce and I were assigned to serve at Carthage Jail Visitor's Center. We had been there in the spring and early fall, as visitors ourselves, but had never served there as the missionaries who conduct the tours.  

It was a sacred experience to be in the room where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered, making them martyrs for their belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ here in the latter days.  In that setting, it is a deeply spiritual experience to testify that you know Joseph was a true Prophet of God - just as Moses of old.

How grateful we are for the sacrifice of both Joseph and Hyrum. They were righteous men of God who were true to their knowledge that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints IS Christ's church on the earth. How grateful we are that God continues to provided us with Prophets today. We know that President Thomas S. Monson is God's Prophet today. The following quote is from the talk Pres. Monson gave Sunday morning this last October General Conference: "To each of you, I say that you are a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. You have come from His presence to live on this earth for a season, to reflect the Savior’s love and teachings, and to bravely let your light shine for all to see. When that season on earth has ended, if you have done your part, yours will be the glorious blessing of returning to live with Him forever.

How reassuring are the Savior’s words: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Of Him I testify. He is our Savior and Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father. He is our Exemplar and our strength. He is “the light which shineth in darkness.” That each of us within the sound of my voice may pledge to follow Him, thus becoming a shining light to the world, is my prayer in His holy name, even Jesus Christ the Lord, amen."

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Meet the new found cousins! Elder Burns and his wife are serving at the Nauvoo Temple. They came in to the Lands and Records Site where I was serving where we found out that we have a common ancestor - Enoch Burns.  I've never met a Burns cousin before. It was pretty exciting. In Nauvoo in the 1840's, Enoch and his wife Elizabeth Pierce Burns lived in Nauvoo just north of the Temple. They went thru many hardships but held on to their faith in Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel.  I was able to help Elder and Sister Burns find out more about Enoch Burns and other ancestor's they had here in Nauvoo.  It was a good day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas...

We made sure we brought a bit of Christmas from home... to make us feel more at home. 

Our 4 foot tree has some Nauvoo wooded rounds and some "brick" ornaments Bryce made with cookie cutters.

It looks really good.  

This is the 2nd of 4 quilts I've now made for the humanitarian efforts here in the Mission. It's fun to make quilts for others who don't have much. 

A scarf for good will. So grateful to have learned how to crochet here in Nauvoo! Thanks to all those who've taught me in the various historic sites over the last few weeks. It's fun!!! I guess you know the family will be getting for gifts over the next 10 years!!!

This is a beautiful Nativity in the Visitor's Center. It's absolutely lovely.  

Some of the folks gathered to watch the tree lighting. I like this because the Christus is lit reminding the group of the true reason for celebrating Christmas.  Various local school choirs sang before the tree lighting. 

The highlight of the evening, by far, was the Nativity. The true meaning of Christmas and a love for and belief in the Savior Jesus Christ was tangible in the room. The Mission Presidency were the Wise Men (type casting) and the missionary couple that were Mary and Joseph were tender and loving toward each other and the baby Jesus. It was the highlight for us. 

Three days later we were in Handel's Messiah with full orchestra. It was alot of fun. This will be our 12th year of singing "The Messiah".  Who knew we'd be able to do it in St.Peter and Paul's Catholic Church here in Nauvoo, Illinois! 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Halloween and Gearing up for Christmas in Nauvoo

We had fun at the Bootiful Nauvoo Halloween event. We haven't seen so many amazing pumpkins - more than 200 of them! Last year 5,000 people came to Nauvoo to watch the festivities. There were more this year but I don't know the count. Missionaries handed out kettle corn and candies. There was a parade of costumes. It was alot of fun. 

A couple of weeks ago there was a mission talent show. The Hansen's, fellow Canadians from Barnwell,  and us sang a song together. Bryce wrote the words and we sang acapella and in barbershop harmony to the tune of Winter Wonderland. We were also decked out in red flannel underwear with the women in our white pioneer aprons holding a small Canadian flag and the men in their pioneer vests. The words are as follows:

We're Canadians from the North land.
So we're not always suntanned,
But we know what to wear when it's cold out there.
Go walking in your winter underwear.

Building snowmen and skating,
Well it's just like we're dating.
Just wear your ice cleats as you walk Nauvoo streets,
Go walkin in your winter underwear.

Well we don't care if Nauvoo snows or freezes.
We're so warm we just don't give a hoot, eh?
In the Family Living Center there are breezes,
So put on two pairs of trousers with your flannel suit.

Sleigh bells ring, and we're listening,
As we're scratchin and itchin
Twas so cold outside we could no longer abide
Without our wooly winter underwear.

We didn't think it could happen,
But the back, it's a flappin,
So when you're cold to the core,
Close up the trap door
To go walking in your winter underwear.

Well we don't care if Nauvoo snows or freezes
We're so warm we just don't give a hoot, eh?
In the Wilford Woodruff house you get the sneezes, achoo,
So put on an extra sweater with you flannel suit.

When we start to perspire,
And we think we're on fire,
It's the forge that's too hot in the blacksmith shop,
We'll go outside in our winter underwear

Oh don't forget your winter underwear...
We're so glad we have our winter underwear!!!!!

Now we're gearing up for Christmas. We're in 3 choirs: the ward choir, the community choir doing 4 songs from the Messiah, and the "Miracle of Christmas" regional choir with orchestra. That's alot of choirs. Beautiful songs though. The Messiah will be performed in the local Catholic church. Nice community event. Then on Dec. 4 th there is the Christmas Walk with starts with lighting the huge tree in the Visitor's Center. The center is pitch black and then the missionaries all start singing a song about lighting the tree and we flash our flashlights that have various colors of celephane on them, on and off on and off all thru the song. Then they light the actual tree. Then people take wagon rides, listen to carollers (I'm in charge of them) at 4 different stations, watch a live Nativity at the Cultural Hall and eat lots of goodies baked and provided by the missionaries. It will be really nice. We're looking forward to it.

Missionary wise we had an amazing visit from Elder Hamula and his wife. They both gave inspiring talks over a two day period. He's with the Church History Dept. and he talked about why the church builds and maintains church history sites. There are two reasons: one, to remember what happened there and two, to go there and become a witness to the events that transpired there. As we do this, the Holy Ghost adds His witness and then we have a second witness to the truthfulness of the events that happened there. These witnesses increase your faith. This leads you to do something that will lead you to Christ. You will know first hand that what you have done has helped you. Then the Holy Ghost will add His witness and this will increase your faith on this added principle. It keeps going on and on repeating this process. 

Then there is the added importance of being a witness to the next generation so they never forget. He said that people all thru the scriptures have a tendance to forget so we have to be in the business of remembering and witnessing. He also tied the idea of remembering and witnessing into the Sacrament where we are to remember and to witness. All of this builds faith and draws us closer to Heavenly Father and Christ.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New Shoes Anyone?

This is the Riser Boot Shop in Nauvoo. Pictures of George and Christiana Riser are on either side of the clock above the mantle. George heard about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from an employee. George wanted to learn more so he sold his business, bought a wagon and travelled 600 miles to Nauvoo in order to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith.

George and his wife heartily joined the church and were baptized in the freezing waters of the Mississippi in January of 1843. They didn't want to wait until spring weather so ice had to be broken for the baptism by immersion to take place.  The Risers wanted to act upon their faith immediately. Just like the Risers, acting upon our own faith is important. 

Serving a mission is our way of acting on our faith. We love telling people about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, of how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us all, and of how we can feel closer to God. Those of you who are thinking about going on a mission -- DO IT! You will never regret it! Those of you who don't know much about "the Mormons". Find out! Go to     You won't reget it! We promise! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall Fun!

Inside activities? Nauvoo Missionaries make lots  humanitarian projects. Sandy's made 4 baby quilts so far. 

Outside? The fall leaves are turning!

Beautiful fall day in Nauvoo - Just see...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

You're Related to Who??

This is a painting of Heber J. Grant. He was the 7th President of the Church. Well, as I served in the Lands and Records historic site on Friday, I was able to talk to one of his decendants. The couple came to see if there was any information on the Grant family in Nauvoo. Well, I was able to map the location of Heber J. Grant's father's land showing where the home had been in historic Nauvoo. We also had a file of digital information that I put on a CD for them to take home. At one point, he mentioned that he wasn't a member of the LDS church. With this in mind, we three went through the file together so I could explain the background of all the information. He loves history and was interested in knowing how it all fit together. In the end, I asked him if he'd like to know more about the church. He stunned his wife when he said yes and that the missionaries could come to their home to tell them more. It was an exciting day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

We Love Being Missionaries!

We love being missionaries here in Nauvoo! You know, sometimes people come to Nauvoo and they didn't even know it was here. They were out for a weekend drive and happened upon it. They often take a wagon ride that gives them an overview of Historic Nauvoo.
One day, Sandy met a couple in the Lands and Records Office who had just discovered they had a Mormon ancestor who lived in Nauvoo. They had no idea and decided to drive 3 hours to get here to see what it was all about! They were so curious about our beliefs because their ancestor had believed the same things. They accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon too. It was a great experience. 

One day this summer, Bryce gave a tour in the Family Living Center to a youth group of about 25 people. His demonstration was how the early Saints made ropes but there is always a spiritual message too. Some of the group got to participate and when the rope was finished, Bryce pointed out the loose strands that were sticking out all along the length of the rope.  These individual strands could be easily broken off. It was dramatic to see the single strand be broken off and then fall to the ground. The lesson is that that we need to be woven tightly together with others in our youth groups or our families. We are stronger as we strengthen each other. 

Another day, Sandy met a couple who had just driven into Nauvoo and knew nothing about it. She pointed out the Nauvoo Temple to them. It turned into a touching conversation about the early Mormon Saints who built the original Temple here and their incredible faith. They were interested in the restoration of the priesthood and that we can be joined as families even after death.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

An Outing to Holland - actually Pella, Iowa

For this Preperation Day's adventure, we went to Pella, Iowa. It is a town founded by a group people from Holland. They left Holland looking for religious freedom. They arrived in the USA around the same time the Saints had left Nauvoo in 1846. The Dutch actually considered buying Nauvoo for their refuge, but in the end, decided to buy unfarmed land in Iowa. The main attractions in Pella are the Bakery (and you will see why), the Historic Village and working Windmill, and Tulip Time (festival in April)

First ---- the Jaarsma Bakery

Jarsma Bakery had so many Dutch Yummies to choose from!

We bought some for now and for later. We also bought their State famous salami and summer sausage from the meat market across the street. All very tasty!!

The town square is the center of the April Festival where tulips abound. Maybe we'll have a chance to come back in the spring. 

Historic house of one of the founding families. It was closed for the season. 

Town square from a different angle. Note the bakery bottom right. 

You can see the windmill down the road. It grinds the flour used in the bakery. It was made in Holland, disassembled and then reassembled in Pella.  

Ya...Das is Elder Walton.. 

and das is Sister Walton.

Part of the tour in the historic village was to see an incredible miniature of a town in Holland. 

This man "drives" the blades of the windmill so that the wind is caught just right. The whole top of the windmill can turn too. There aren't very many active windmills in Holland and you are not allowed to tour any that are working. So this was a unique opportunity to learn about windmills. 

The end result is a bag of flour!

Making wooden shoes wasn't an easy job.  Much of Holland is below sea level. This is why there are dykes to keep the sea from overflowing the country. Leather shoes wore out too quickly and got wet too easily so the people in Holland wore wooden shoes.

These are shops and homes in the historic village. Very quaint, picturesque and interesting. 

I did "try my hand" at the puppet theatre. I'd like Bryce to build one for when the grandkids come over.  

I think it would be alot of fun and much better than TV.  

This is Bryce's version of a "selfie"! Along with the puppet show, kids could dress up.

Tools used to carve wooden shoes.

Ladies...look at the old fashioned... perm machine???? Not too sure about that one! 

We tried to call home from Pella but we had a bad connection!

Bryce really enjoyed the large personal collection of Delft. It really was beautiful.  

One of the side streets had a cute walkway. The street directly around the town square and the windmill are very quaint and inviting.