Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016 – Mission Training Meeting, New Home
We attended our weekly mission-wide training meeting in Nauvoo this morning.  Once again we were richly fed and energized by our training meeting. There were three who spoke to us and inspired us. One of the talks was by a former counselor in the mission presidency, Elder Hyte.  He started his talk by saying, “Make this mission the one you want to remember!” Then he told us how, he gave us five key things we need to do as missionaries to be successful as we testify of Jesus Christ.

Elder Hyte’s original statement, “Make this mission the one you want to remember” struck a chord with me. This is the second mission for Sis. Johnson and I. Our first mission together was 6 years ago in the Dominican Republic.  We’ve often talked about the two missions, their similarities and their differences.  We’ve ultimately asked ourselves the question, which mission is the best?  And, each time we’ve had these discussions we’ve always come up with the very same conclusion, there can be no comparison!  The two missions are so completely different in every possible way, yet they have both been the best experiences of our lives. Since they can’t be compared, they are both the best missions.
While we were in Nauvoo we talked to Sis. Hopkin, she is over all of the housing for all of the missionaries in the mission. She gave us the keys to our new house and gave us a tour. Our move-in dates will be Sept. 22nd & 23rd.  Sis. Hopkin said each couple that moves during the mission are given two days, the first day is to move and the second day is to completely clean the old house. There is even a page long check list for us to follow. We have to leave our home better than we found it. If you know Sis. Johnson, you know that will happen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 – Tree trimming, Elder Blair & Move Date

Today I didn’t have any lawn mowing to do. But, as usual I helped Sis. Johnson clean around the visitor’s center as well all of the sidewalks. Next I completely cleaned the parking lot of the Carthage Visitor’s Center. I almost never mow on Tuesday so it turns out to be a good day to clean the parking lot. I use my leaf blower and it takes me a couple of hours. 
After I finished cleaning the parking lot I started a new task that I’ve been wanting to do for weeks. A lot of the trees on the grounds of the visitor’s center have dead limbs that are brittle and often break off when it’s windy.  But since they are all away from the sidewalks they don’t pose any danger to visitors. Today I was able to get a couple of the trees trimmed. They look a lot better and now we won’t have as much cleanup after storms.
We have a moving date! This afternoon we got a call from Elder Blair, counselor in the mission presidency.  He said we will be moving to Nauvoo the week of September 19th to the 24th.  We will meet with Sis. Hopkin tomorrow, she is over the mission housing. We will find out then where our new home will be and she will give us the key.
We’ve known for some time that we will be moving to Nauvoo for the winter. When it turns cold there won’t be very much for us to do here and our time will be much more useful in Nauvoo. We are looking forward to the move and transitioning to work in Nauvoo instead of Carthage.

Tonight’s “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo” show was bitter sweet again.  We had five couples performing tonight in their very last show. A lot of tear were shed by them as well as all of us because we know this will probably be the last time we will ever see some of them. 
One of the leading couples have a very poignant and touching song they sing at the conclusion of the show titled, “Farewell Nauvoo.” The first verse reads:
And so Nauvoo, we say Farwell to you
With numb and aching hearts, one last Adieu
As through our tears we look to homes beyond
Could ever we be fond of one as you?
At one point in the song the sister was so overcome with emotion she couldn’t sing the third verse. Everyone tonight was having a hard time with their parts because this truly was a final “Farewell Nauvoo” for many of them.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 – Work, Wesley McBride’s Computer Help

Today was a regular work day for Sis. Johnson & I. Sis. Johnson did her usual cleaning and watering. She has a lot to do and it takes her most of the day. I spent the first half of my day spraying weeds and the rest of the day mowing at the Bushnell House. Although spraying them may have been a waste of time, spraying weeds usually takes them several weeks to completely die and within the next month or so they will all be dead anyway when the first frost hits. 
I need to send out a big “Thank You” to my niece’s husband, Wesley McBride, of Eagar, AZ. He is a computer genius and today after work he remotely helped me save the life of my laptop computer.  My laptop is seven years old, far past its life expectancy. It is my connection and lifeline with the world of the internet. I am really happy Wesley was able to make it last a while longer. Thank You Wesley, you are a life saver!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 – Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School
This morning in sacrament meeting our attendance was down about 30% from previous weeks. All summer we’ve opened the curtains to the cultural hall and the chairs were usually full half way back to the stage. However, since several of the senior couples have gone home already and there aren’t many visitors, today we didn’t even have to open the curtain.  Maybe we’ll have more visitors next week for the Labor Day weekend, we’ll see.

Our Sunday school lesson this morning, like everywhere in the English speaking world, was Ch. 33 “A sure Foundation.”  We were treated to something very special today. In the teacher’s guide under “Preparation” #2, a, it says “Prepare to sing verses 1, 2, 3, and 7 of “How Firm a Foundation” with class members.” Our teacher this morning happened to be Sis. Jensen. For the past six months Sis. Jensen has been the director, music coordinator and dance choreographer for our production of “Sunset by the Mississippi.” Sis. Jensen knows her stuff, she’s great. 
Without rehearsing Sis. Jensen put together an impromptu production of all seven verses of that beautiful and beloved hymn “How Firm a Foundation.” The hymn used the entire congregation singing various parts. The production was punctuated with four solos by some of the best vocalists in the mission! The hymn, the music and the singing was so stirring and inspiring it gave me goose bumps.  At one point all of the YSSM’s (Young Single Sister Missionaries) stood and sang verse 3. Sis. Johnson and I didn’t know it in advance but by luck we had chosen to sit right in the middle of all those YSSM’s. Wow, it was like being in the middle of a choir of angels, magnificent!  Like I said, we were treated to something very special this morning in Sunday School. If we had rehearsed for a month we couldn’t have done it any better.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016 – Cleanup after Rain, P’day, Temple Session, Shopping

We had another storm roll through during the night that dumped another inch of rain on us. That’s a good thing for the grass and flowerbeds. Unfortunately the aftermath meant a lot of cleanup for Sis. Johnson, especially around the rotunda outside of the Jail. There is a spot that floods and covers the sidewalk with mud every time there is a heavy rain.  Sis. Johnson uses her leaf blower to clean away the water and mud but it still requires some mopping to make the sidewalk look good again.

Since today is our P-day, we decided to take in a temple session. Saturdays at the temple are very busy. I found out that there were five weddings this morning plus an additions three or four couples going through the temple for their own endowments prior to their temple sealing later. Today was busy but all summer it’s been even busier with weddings. The Nauvoo temple; a very popular place to be sealed for time and all eternity to your spouse. 
After our temple session we headed south and across the Mississippi to Keokuk, Iowa to do our weekly shopping at Wal-Mart. We have a small “County Market” in Carthage that we love to shop at. Unfortunately they don’t have a very large selection and they can’t carry everything we need. So, occasionally we have to go to the closest Wal-Mart. Actually it’s quite close to Carthage, only 15 miles west from where we live.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 – The Hyte’s & Prayer Meeting, Rain & Mowing

During our “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo” prayer meeting we once again heard from Elder and Sis. Hyte. (Elder Hyte is our former 1st Counselor in the mission presidency.)  The Hyte’s will be going home next week and they had some kind words to say about all of us, their fellow cast members.  It was very special. Again, the performance had couples performing that were marking their very last show of “Rendezvous” on their missions.  It’s a very bitter sweet time for a lot of the senior couples.  
During the prayer meeting, Sis. Hyte told us that her time in the mission field has been a whirlwind experiences since the day they arrived. She said it’s been like “a washing machine on the spin cycle!” She did say that her time of service here in the Illinois Nauvoo Mission has brought her a great deal of peace and happiness. Thus, she said the descriptive phrase she uses to describe here time here is “Hectic Peace!” Yup, I’ll agree with that. “Hectic Peace” sounds just about right!

Now that the new school season has started we keep thinking the visitors to the Carthage Visitor’s Center will slow way down. Well, they have on a few days but not today. In addition to all of the cars in the parking lot, today we had three tour buses come to visit this historic site. The Carthage Visitor’s Center was very busy.
In the grounds keeping department, today was a slow day of work for Sis. Johnson and I. It rained most of the morning so we couldn’t do very much. After lunch the grass was finally dry enough so I was able to get on the mower and get my mowing done. Even so, I wasn’t able to mow directly around the Jail or the visitor’s center. I will have to do that early tomorrow morning on my p-day. I only mow the grass close to the Jail and visitor’s center in the early mornings before the guests arrive. The mower is very noisy and it distracts from the peaceful, spiritual and reverent moment the visitors are experiencing as they walk out of the tour of the Jail. I truly believe this is hollowed, sacred ground and the mower should not be used when there are guests present.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 – Rain Storm, Cleaning, Broken Sump Pump

Overnight we had another one of those Midwest thunderstorms roll through Carthage. We got 1.26 inches of rain in less than two hours. It was coming down hard. This morning the aftermath on the grounds weren’t that bad. Even so, our cleanup took longer than usual because the sidewalks were all wet and the leaf blowers have to work twice as hard to dislodge the wet leaves. But we got the whole place cleaned up before the first guests arrived.
We had a minor emergency after we finished working on the grounds. Sis. Johnson discovered standing water in our basement. We have a 4 ft deep sump pit in the floor and it was completely full of water and running out onto the basement floor.  I called Sis. Jensen, the secretary at FM (Facilities Maintenance) and she sent the plumbers over right away.
I was surprised to find out that FM manages and maintains 265 houses in Nauvoo and Carthage. Some of them are stand alone houses like ours but most are duplexes, condos and apartments. These homes are for our mission’s Senior Couples, YSSM’s, Young Performing Missionaries, Single Sister Missionaries as well as the Temple Missionaries. What all of these houses have in common is a basement. And, like all basements in the Midwest, they all have sump pumps to drain accumulated rain water. Since our home has a washing machine in the basement, the sump pump also drains the wash water.
Our rescuers were Bro. Darrell Layton, the FM plumber and his assistant, Elder Reed Swain, one of the Seniors. It turned out our sump pump was broken/worn out. When Bro. Layton saw the oil slick on the standing water, he knew immediately the pump was broken. He anticipated this and brought a new pump with him.  The repairs were finished, the sump pit drained and they were on way in only an hour.