Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016 – Funeral Service for Victor Wilson, Family Dinner

This morning was the funeral services for my brother -in-law, Victor Wilson. We had a viewing an hour before the service in the Relief Society Room. The viewing was followed by the “Family Prayer” offered by one of Vic’s sons, Jay Wilson. There were so many of Vic’s relatives there, it was standing room only. 
The chapel and overflow for Victor Wilson’s funeral service was completely full. The service was a wonderful tribute and celebration of his life. And it was a life full of service to the Lord and to his fellowman. You’ve heard it said of some people that they are “The salt of the earth” or “Without guile,” well, these phases describe my brother-in-law perfectly.
All of the day’s events, the funeral, the grave dedication and the family dinner all went as planned. Sis. Johnson was asked to offer the invocation at the funeral service and I was asked to dedicate the grave. We all stayed at the graveside for about a half hour talking about Vic’s life and his impact on our lives. The same was true of the family dinner in the cultural hall. It seemed no one wanted to leave as everyone enjoyed telling stories about Vic and how he impacted their lives. It was a great day and a great funeral for a great man.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 – Mesa Arizona Temple, Family, Visitation for Victor Wilson

This morning we attended an endowment session at the Mesa, Arizona Temple. We had more than a dozen of our family in attendance. Many more would have liked to attend with us but they had to work or had other obligations. Even so, those of us that could attend had a wonderful session together. I love to attend the Temple and feel the warm comforting influence of the Holy Ghost as we enter into the house of the Lord.
We are consoled in the knowledge that the Plan of Salvation allows us to be reassured that our loved ones who have passed from this mortal life are not lost and gone forever. We know that our brother, father and friend, Victor Wilson, (my brother-in-law) is on the other side of the veil with his eternal family. His pain and suffering are gone and he is with the Lord.
This evening Sis. Johnson and I attended Victor Wilson’s visitation along with hundreds of others who are his friends, family, and associates. And, because we know the Plan of Salvation all of us who attended the visitation had a wonderful time talking about Vic Wilson, telling stories celebrated his life.  If there were tears shed tonight, it was sorrow for ourselves and our loss but not for Vic Wilson. We all know he is at piece and in the rest of the Lord. There were people, friends, family and associates that came from all over the US to be here to celebrate Vic Wilson’s life.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 – Travel to Arizona, Reunions with Grandchildren, Friends and family
Today was a hectic day of travel and visiting. We started our travels at the St. Louis Airport and flew in to Phoenix. Oh. . . what grand reunions we had with our various families and grandchildren. You would have thought that they hadn’t seen their grandma in years; well it has been over 9 months since they’ve seen us.
There were hugs all around as we visited a number of our sons and their families as well as Sis. Johnson’s parents and her brother and family. We love our family, both close and far and we know they support and sustain us while we serve as missionaries in the Illinois, Nauvoo Mission.
It is a sad and solemn occasion that brings us home for a week to attend the funeral of Victor Wilson. And even though we’ve lost our brother-in-law, this whole week will be a celebration of his life. And it was a good, full life filled with dedication, service, humor, friendship, work and love of family. He will be missed but never forgotten. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 – Vic Wilson, Mission Training, Eagles

Late last night I received word that my brother-in-law, Victor Wilson, passed away after a long struggle with heart disease.  For the last several weeks his health had deteriorated dramatically and he was suffering with pain and other conditions (kidney disease, skin cancer, pneumonia etc, etc.) His family was by his side in his last moments. 
Vic Wilson was not only my brother-in-law; he was my close friend as well as my business partner for 30 years. We worked together, served in many church callings together, played on sports teams together and we raised our families together as next door neighbors. Vic was admired by all that met him for his love, sincerity, compassion and honesty. He loved the Lord, he loved the Gospel and he loved his fellowman.  A kinder and more gentle man you will never know.

Vic Wilson’s funeral will be Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 in Mesa, Arizona and the visitation will be the evening before, Friday, Dec. 30th.  Sis. Johnson and I have asked permission from the Mission president to take a leave of absence and attend the funeral. 
We left for St. Louis today at 3:00pm to catch a flight to Phoenix. The flight leaves tomorrow morning at 7:35am.  We will return to Nauvoo and our duties on Thursday, January 5th.

We received a text message from our daughter-in-law, Valerie. Her son, Eldon is 4 years old. He really misses his grandparents. In fact he always asks us “When are you coming home?” Today Valerie told Eldon that we were on our way home. The following is part of her text message to us about the event:

“Eldon is jumping up and down chanting, ‘I’m so excited to see my grandma and grandpa!’ He keeps asking me if I’m excited to see my dad. We keep explaining that you two are his daddy’s parents, but he says ‘that means grandma is your mommy, too’…. ”

As we drove to St. Louis this afternoon we were treated to a lot of beautiful birds on, in and over the Mississippi River. I am still fascinated that Bald Eagles winter over on the Mississippi River in Illinois. Evidently the fish are abundant in spite of the frozen river. 
I am also surprised that ducks and geese also spend their winters here. They are everywhere. It seems there are always patches of unfrozen water for them.
This morning we attended our weekly Mission Training Meeting. As usual it was very good. Our training included the Illinois Nauvoo Mission Vision Statement, The Mission Objectives and The Missionary Principles. All three of these documents are inspired and sum up in just a few words why Sis. Johnson and I are here in Nauvoo serving a mission. 
Here is the Mission Vision Statement: “Prepare, live, and carry out assignments so visitors will feel the Spirit in every aspect of their Nauvoo experience.” We try to live by these words. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 – Rendezvous Practice, “Pick-up Sticks,” Conservation Artifact Room, Aaron & Mira Daniels

We started today in the Cultural Hall practicing our lines for our vignette of “George & Agatha.” Sis. Johnson  and I practice our lines all the time but we felt it helps us much better if we can practice the lines on the stage. We won’t have another practice with our director until Thursday. We will probably be doing this every morning.
Again today we were on the grounds playing “Pick-up Sticks.” We finished our systematic coverage of all of the grounds and we had another full trailer load of limbs, logs and branches that have fallen out of the trees.
When we went to dump our trailer load at the FM burn pile we got to watch an interesting ballet in the sky over the Mississippi River. We watched in fascination as a first year Bald Eagle (still in his juvenile plumage) tried to steal a fish out of the talons of an adult Bald Eagle. The two eagles dipped and bobbed as they did a ballet in the air. My guess is that the adult eagle was the mother and she was trying to teach one of her chicks from her spring brood how to fish. I think the younger eagle wasn’t learning the right lesson; he wanted to steal rather than fish. Anyway it was beautiful, graceful and interesting to watch.
We spent the rest of our work day in the Conservation Artifacts Room with Elder Walker. We enjoy our time in the artifacts room. Elder Walker has a regular job at FM but when he has any spare time he works in the artifacts room. He was given the assignment last spring with the hope that he would be completely done cataloging everything by the first of the year. Elder Walker told us today that he won’t finish the job by Dec. 31st but he has gotten a lot done. He has processed over 280 boxes of artifacts. He has written over 5000 individual envelopes with site locations, categories and descriptions. He’s done a wonderful job.
This evening we were surprised and delighted to have our old friends Aaron & Mira Daniels come to our “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo” show. They are here with their family taking the tours and visiting the historic sites. After the show we had a nice long visit with them. They will leave for St. Louis on Thursday.