Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Birthday!

On March 17, 2016, the sister missionaries serving in Nauvoo gathered for the Relief Society Birthday Party to celebrate it's founding 174 years ago! That's 174 years of charitable service for those in need!  In addition, the Relief Society strengthens families and helps them and others' faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement to develp and grow.  

We rode by wagon from the Nauvoo Visitor's Center to Joseph Smith's Red Brick Store where the first meeting of the Relief Society was held March 17, 1842.

We were a pretty happy group, too. 

Two wagons waited for everyone to get on. These wagons didn't transport all the sister missionaries participating that day. The organizers of the event and those in the Reader's Theatre were already at the Red Brick Store.

I took pictures of all those on the wagons. We all know each other and are way more than fellow missionaries - we're friends.  

Each wagon heard a narration about the history of the Red Brick Store.  Did you know that there was a mercantile on the main floor? That the upstairs served as the headquarters of the church for much of the time the Saints were in Nauvoo? That the Saints would go to the Red Brick Store to pay their tithing and offerings?

Everyone was excited - as you can tell from the following pictures.

The wagons drove past the beautiful Nauvoo Temple. The 20 sisters that were at that first Relief Society meeting in 1842 wouldn't have had such a spectacular view as we all did since the original Nauvoo Temple was started in 1841 and completed in 1846. 

At the end of this road is our destination. 

And there it is. The building of today is a replica of the original which, over the years, had fallen into disrepair. As a result,  and in the late 1800's its bricks were used to build other buildings in the area.

This is the Mansion House a half a block from the Red Brick Store. 

After a group picture was taken outside, we all headed inside for the Reader's Theatre. I had time for a quick picture beside Elder Horlacher (portraying John Taylor) and Elder Blair (portraying the Prophet Joseph Smith) 

Once upstairs, we all sat and watched the Reader's Theatre which followed the minutes of the original meeting. This included how the organization was named and Emma Smith becoming its first president.  

This is Sister and Elder Blair portraying Emma and Jospeh Smith. The Relief Society started out with 20 women and grew to hundreds in the Nauvoo time period. Today, there are approximately 6 million women in 170 countries around the world. 

When the Reader's Theatre was over, there were some remarks made by Pres. Hall and we heard a special musical number by Kimberly Jo Smith - a direct descendant of Joseph and Emma Smith. I attended a fireside she gave about a year ago where she told how she joined the LDS church. (see for more details)

The event ended with everyone receiving a flower and a commorative hankie.

What a special memento of this historic day! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Oxen - In Nauvoo?

Oxen are a big part of the history of Nauvoo. Aren't they cute?

We took part of our P-Day to complete our assignment to clean the reader-boards at the "ox-wagon ride" here in Nauvoo. This is Bryce - isn't he cute! (Our task was not laborious because it had rained in the last two days!)

We enjoyed the various stories about the early Saints leaving Nauvoo with their teams of oxen. This story of Mary Smith really shows her pluck and strength! We often talk about the great faith the Saints had in Jesus Christ that enabled them to travel west, suffereing terrible hardships on the way, to an essentially unknown place.  I think that God also blessed them with an abundance of determination, fortitude, and sheer grit. 

This board compares the advantages of using oxen instead of horses. It says that even a child could handle oxen even though they weighed 1,000-3,000 pounds.  

This one is Duke.

This is Ike. I've included a video of the oxen that was taken around Novemeber (I think). They were getting ready for the Exodus Re-enactment and we happened to be at the right place at the right time to catch a short ride in the wagon. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Cookies and Cardinals

Sister Skinner and I welcomed 49 people into the Scovil Bakery today. We were able to tell everyone a little about his life. He had several challenges but relied on his faith in Jesus Christ and on the knowledge that he would see his loved ones who had passed away again - for we know families can be together forever! Of course, no visit to the bakery would be complete without a cookie. 

Now to tell you about the Cardinals. This is one of the many birds that come to eat at the "Walton feeder" every day. We watch them out of our eating area window. 

Notice the female cardinal hidden on the side of the tree. 

Later she is joined by a woodpecker who also likes to eat out of the feeder. 

It's so fun to watch the birds. We've also seen bluejays and robins - Spring is coming!