Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016 – FM greenhouses, The Brick Yard

This afternoon, after we finished our work, Sis. Johnson and I went to Nauvoo. Sis. Johnson needs plants from the greenhouses to replace some of the dead plants in the terracotta planters under the eave of the visitor’s center. The planters weren’t getting any light and some of the more sensitive plants died.
Richard Hancock, FM’s Horticulturalist, helped us pick out a couple of flats of plants that will do better under the eave of the Visitor’s center. Sis. Johnson is really excited about getting them planted tomorrow.
Next, we were off to “The Brick Yard” to make bricks. That was a lot of fun. In old Nauvoo in the 1840’s there were seven brickyards. Nauvoo was an ideal place to make bricks because the ingredients for making bricks were readily available. 
There were many steps to making a brick like mixing, shaping, stacking, drying, firing and cooling, etc. It took over a month to make a brick start to finish.

To latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, bricks meant beauty and permanence.  Therefore, demand for bricks was great.  Wilford Woodruff wrote in his diary of stopping work on his house for two weeks, “for want of brick.”  He also recorded nearly melting himself near a “brick kiln (where his bricks were cooling) having flung out seven thousand bricks” for his home.
The brick making industry was very important to the Latter-day Saint community in Nauvoo. It has been estimated that 350 brick homes were built during the six years Mormons lived in Nauvoo.  Although many residents spent years building their brick homes, they abandoned their homes in 1846 to follow a prophet of God to the West.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 – Training Meeting, Aaron and Mira Daniels
We started early with our usual Mission-wide training meeting this morning in Nauvoo. It was a very good meeting. The Mission President, his counselors and all of the site and venue leaders are really ramping up for the July crush of visitors. This has been weighing heavy on Pres. Hall’s mind for the past several months. So the big push is on to be ready. Then President Hall explained that this past week one of the YSSM’s (Young Single Sister Missionaries) pointed out to him that this isn’t anything to be worried about. She said, “This is exactly the way things would have been in Nauvoo in 1844. There would have been 12 to 15,000 residents jamming the streets, going about their daily activities and living their normal lives as if nothing was different. And that’s the way we (All of the missionaries) should approach this coming month. We are all brothers and sisters in the Gospel; we will be just fine as life goes on.”

After our training meeting was over we headed to the parking lot and noticed our Nauvoo FM (Facilities Maintenance) counter parts watering the planters on the grounds of the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center, just like Sis. Johnson does the watering at Carthage. . . Only they use a much bigger watering pitcher than Sis. Johnson’s.
Back in Carthage we did our usual work, nothing interesting to report. Sis. Johnson did her usual cleaning and watering and I worked on the visitor center’s sprinkler system again. I’m still replacing broken sprinkler heads. It’s very interesting, the lawn mower’s tires and grass cutter blades don’t get along well with sprinkler heads! I don’t think I will ever finish replacing sprinkler heads.
This evening we had a special treat at our 8:15 show of “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo.”  Aaron and Mira Daniels are here to visit Nauvoo for 3 days and they came to our performance. The Daniels are our dear friends from the Hillside Ward in the Mesa, AZ Lehi Stake. After the show we had a wonderful time visiting and refresh old friendships. We love to have friends come to visit us in Nauvoo.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 – Heat & No rain, “Sunset” halfway point, Stone Arch Bridge

Today was the first day in two weeks that the daytime high temperatures were not in the 90’s. It has also been a month since our last significant rainfall. Both, high temperatures and no rain are very unusual for Central Illinois this time of the year.  Last year they said it was one of the wettest Junes on record, this year it’s been one of the driest. 
This evening marked the halfway point of our Summer season of “Sunset by the Mississippi” performances. Sis. Johnson and I only have 8 shows left. Time is sure flying by fast.
After our performance in “Sunset by the Mississippi” Sis. Johnson and I took a sightseeing detour.  We’ve seen the signs to “The Stone Arch Bridge” beside the road but we didn’t know what is was.  So, we decided to check it out. There is so much to see and do here in Nauvoo. There is always  something new to discover and learn about.
The Stone Arch Bridge spans one of nine original ditches built in 1839 by Mormon pioneers to divert runoff water from upper Nauvoo that was settling in the flats creating swamp-like conditions. To make the future City of Nauvoo inhabitable, a solution to the waterlogged soil had to be found. Under the direction of Joseph Smith, the first Mormon settlers drained the marsh, which turned this undesirable and uninhabitable place into a beautiful and prosperous city.
Today, water still runs through the ditch, under the bridge and out to the Mississippi River after the rain. The old road that passes over the bridge is no longer used. Although I suspect this old stone arch bridge was built strong enough to handle modern traffic.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016 – Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum

The Commemoration program of the Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum was today. It was 172 years ago today that a mob of about 200 men stormed the Carthage jail and killed the Prophet and his brother.
Sis. Johnson and I helped set up over 270 chairs for the audience. Last year the attendees of the Martyrdom Program were estimated to be about 400. If we have 400 attend today, there well be a lot of people standing because there simply will not be enough chairs for everyone.
Well . . . So much for estimates! The crowd was huge. Far more people attended today’s program than were ever expected. Sis. Johnson & I brought out two chairs from our house but I gave up mine so Sis. Metcalf would have a seat. Since I was already standing during the program, I made my way all the way around the crowd of people and did a count of the attendees. I came up with the total number at the program to be 916! That is over double the expected attendance.
Elder John Taylor, who miraculously survived Carthage, wrote an account of the event and a eulogy to the Prophet, which are found in D&C 135. “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (v. 3).

He added that the names of Joseph and Hyrum Smith “will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world” (v. 6).

The martyrdom, he said, fulfilled an important spiritual purpose: Joseph “lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” (v. 3). (Institute Student Manuel: Church History in the Fullness of Times, chp 22, The Martyrdom)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016 – Church, Sociable with Noteworthy, “Our Story Goes On”
Another wonderful day of Sunday services which included  great talks by the YSSM’s on the subject of the life and mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Tomorrow will be the 172nd anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. The YSSM’s that spoke in Sacrament meeting were Sis. Wood, Sis. Nelson and Sis. Heninger. We know each of them personally and they all gave wonderful talks that bore testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, his life and the restoration of the gospel.

We knew the senior couples were part of the year round entertainment here in Nauvoo. Tonight Sis Johnson made the comment that Nauvoo offers far more entertainment than we ever imagined. This evening we had a double treat. First was the mission-wide Sociable (Sociable is what they call a fireside here in the Nauvoo Mission) put on by an acappella group called “Noteworthy.” They mixed music with testimonies that inspired us and touched our souls.

Two songs they sang were particularly moving and awesome renditions of our most sacred hymns. They were “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” Which, just happen to be two of my personal favorites. What a feast for the ears and the soul!
The second musical treat started at 8:30PM after the Sociable. We drove over to the Nauvoo Pageant stage to watch and listen to the production called “Our Story Goes On.” This performance was put on by the same singers and actors that perform the Nauvoo Pageant and the British Pageants that start in July.
Wow, it was a great show and with great music. Intertwined with a story line that spanned decades, they sang songs that captured the lives of a typical family that has their share of joy, sorrow, heartache and redemption.  They sang several beloved and favorite songs from Broadway and the movies. They sang “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, “Go the Distance” from Hercules, “Tonight” from West Side Story, “Sunrise Sunset” & “Do You Love Me?” from Fiddler on the Roof, and “You Lift Me Up” by Josh Groban. And finally the best of the evening. . . .
Dallyn Vail Bayles sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Mis! WOW, it was a show stopper! For those of you who don’t know Dallyn Vail Bayles, he is an LDS musician, singer, and actor. His credits include playing Enjolras on the Broadway tour of Les Misérables. He has also performed in the road tour of Phantom of the Opera. You also might recognize him in “Ephraim’s Rescue” he sang the theme song, “My Kindness Shall Not Depart from Thee.” He was great tonight! The whole evening was great.