Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 – Elder Stroud, Floss Seedling Disaster, Pepper Plants

In our FM Prayer meeting this morning Elder Stroud was given a farewell gift. He and Sis. Stroud are going home next week after serving a 23 month mission here in the Illinois, Navuoo Mission. In 2015 and 2016 he worked 18 months for FM in the cabinet shop. Later, he and Sis. Stroud were assigned to work in Carthage at the same time Sis. Johnson and I served there as the grounds keepers. We got to know the Stroud’s well and we wish them safe travels home. Elder & Sis. Stroud have worked hard as missionaries and served the Lord with dedication and love.
Disaster struck in the “Seedling Propagator.” I was watering the trays and one slipped out of my hand; it did a 260 degree pirouette and crashed right onto the floor! There was blood and carnage everywhere! Well, not blood really and not carnage either but the poor little plants were strewn all over the floor. It was a mess. 
The seedlings I dropped were more of the Ageratum or “Floss Flower” plants. They are not hard to plant and the seeds are not difficult to get to germinate. In fact they have a 93.5% germination rate. However the seeds are comparatively expensive so we don’t want a single plant to go to waste.
Thankfully Sis. Johnson and I have the tools, the soil and the time to fix the problem, save the plants and clean up the mess. We found and transplanted every single tiny plant. Now they are all safe and growing in large 96 cell “Pony Pack” trays. They will all be fine in spite of the accident.
The rest of our work day was spent transplanting ornamental pepper plants from the 72 cell “Pony Pack” trays to 4” pots. There were a total of 300 to transplant. These Pepper plants were the same ones that festooned the flowerbeds all over Old Nauvoo last summer. They are very pretty; one of the varieties is called “Christmas Tree” because the colorful ripe chilies on the plant look like the bright colorful lights on a Christmas tree. They are very beautiful.
We got a nice surprise this afternoon when we checked our mail box. We received a package in the mail from our “Sunshine Girl” Lizzy. She’s the daughter of Nathan and Valerie. Lizzie wrote us a very nice letter and also sent us a handmade Valentine’s pillow. It’s great, we live it, thank you Lizzy. We love our Lizzy and all of our grandchildren. They all brighten our lives and bring us boundless joy. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017 – Transplanting, Stoker & Winegar, “George & Agatha”

We spent our whole work day in the propagation room transplanting “Ageratum - Blue Danube” (Common name: Floss Flower) seedlings. We enjoyed our work; it was warm and comfortable indoors. We really got a lot done too; we transplanted 13 trays of seedlings, just a little under a thousand plants. 
After work we ran errands and stopped in at the Heber C. Kimball home where we served yesterday. Today Sis. Stoker and Sis. Winegar were serving there. Sis. Stoker also plays “Agatha” for her cast in “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo.” We had a nice visit as the two “Agathas” shared tips and pointers about performing.
Tonight in “Rendezvous” we performed our vignette of “George & Agatha” for the second time. And it went perfectly, no missed lines and no missed timing. In fact Sis. Johnson had the audience rolling in the aisles, it was so funny. At one point Sis. Johnson and the doctor, played by Elder Rober, had to stop in the middle of the scene to wait for the laughter to die down before going on; that’s how good it was tonight.  Good Job Sis. Johnson!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday, January 29, 2017 – Sunday Services, Heber C Kimball, Exodus Commemoration Sociable, Orville Sutherland Cox

Another beautiful Sabbath Day in Illinois. When we left for church at 7:30 it was 26 degrees and by the end of the day it was all the way up to a balmy 35 degrees. Just a beautiful day for a beautiful Sunday sacrament service.
Usually Sis. Johnson & I are assigned to be tour guides at one of the historic sites in Nauvoo on Sunday afternoons. Today our assigned site was the historic home of the Apostle, Heber C. Kimball and his family. We enjoy these Sunday assignments because Sis. Johnson and I get to meet and teach visitors as well as learn new things about the early members of the church. In this case, an Apostle, his family, his home and the eight missions he was called by the Lord to serve.
Tonight we had the first of several programs commemorating the Pioneer Exodus that took place the first week of February in 1846.  Tonight’s program was titled “Faith of Our Fathers” and featured twelve stories submitted by the Elders and Sisters of our mission about their own ancestors that lived here. They were all great stories that told of the faith, hard work, sacrifice and dedication of those beloved pioneers.
I submitted the story about my Great-Great Grandfather, Orville Sutherland Cox. Elder Swain coordinated the project and was hoping to get a dozen or so stories submitted. But, instead there were over thirty stories turned in. I wish we could have heard all of them but there wasn’t enough time for everyone’s stories to be told. Over twenty of the submissions couldn’t be used, including my story about Sutherland Orville Cox. 

I submitted the story about my Great-Great Grandfather, Orville Sutherland Cox. Elder Swain coordinated the project and was hoping to get a dozen or so stories submitted. But, instead there were over thirty stories turned in. I wish we could have heard all of them but there wasn’t enough time for everyone’s stories to be told. Over twenty of the submissions couldn’t be used, including my story about Sutherland Orville Cox. 

Sooo. . . . Here is the story of my Great-Great Grandfather, Orville Sutherland Cox:

Nearing his 24th birthday, Orville Sutherland Cox was a thorough frontiersman, forester, lumberman, a splendid blacksmith. Orville fought with the Texans in the Mexican war and was returning the by way of Missouri when he met the Mormons in Far West.

While there he won the heart of the orphan girl, Elvira Pamela Mills, who was living with her uncle, Sylvester Hulet. He asked Elvira to marry him and become his partner for life. She answered that if he would be baptized into her church, she would be glad to do so.  To that proposition he did not react as she expected he would. Instead of complying with her suggestion, he said “I don’t propose to join any religion, including yours . . .  to buy a wife.”  Elvira hesitated to marry a gentile. Months later on October 3, 1839, however, she yielded, and they were married in Father Elisha Whiting’s home at the Morley settlement by Elder Lyman Wight.

Three days later, October 6, 1839, the two newlyweds drove into Nauvoo twenty miles away, and Orville Sutherland Cox was baptized, by the Prophet Joseph Smith. He went a gentile and returned a full-fledged Mormon, so short a time it takes a good woman to make a convert.

Orville and his wife lived in Adams County, ILL and help build the Morley settlement. His stacks of grain were burned at the Morley settlement by the mobbers, and they fled to the City of Nauvoo, he with his wife and two children – the oldest child died as a result of chills and fever, and from exposure resulting from mobber’s violence.

Orville was a faithful Latter-day Saint, full of love and zeal – He played the fife and was a member of the famous brass band of the Nauvoo Legion. When the Prophet and his brother were killed, none mourned more sincerely than he. He assisted those more helpless or destitute in the migration west from Nauvoo.
Orville attended the meeting where Sidney Rigdon asked the Saints to appoint him as guardian, and where Brigham Young claimed that the Twelve Apostles were the ordained leaders; and many times thereafter he testified that he saw Brigham Young changed to appear like Joseph and heard his voice take on the Prophet’s tone. And after that manifestation he never doubted for a moment that the rightful leadership of the Church was vested in the twelve, with Brigham Young at their head.

He remained in Nauvoo till almost the last departed. He assisted Jonathan Browning in transforming the old rusty steamer shafts into cannon that were so effectively used by Daniel H. Wells at the battle of Nauvoo.

Leaving Nauvoo with the last of the Mormon exiles, Orville and his family crossed Iowa and settled at Pisgah, where he served as counselor to Lorenzo Snow, President of Mt. Pisgah. In his devoted attachment to Lorenzo Snow, he was an enthusiast; also to Father Morley and he would follow their leadership anywhere.

Orville and his family arrived with the pioneers of the Bryant Jolley Company in Salt Lake City Sept. 9, 1852. He was the first Bishop of Bountiful, Utah. He helped “Pioneer” (Settle) six communities in Utah and Nevada.

This is a very abbreviated and condensed version of the life story Orville Sutherland Cox. My rendition of his life story was taken from the pages of a 539 page book written about seven intertwined pioneer families, the Coxes being one of the principal families. All of the credit for my story goes to Clare B. Christensen, author of “Before & After Mt. Pisgah.”

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017 – Rehearsal, Design Stage Arrg’s, Debut as “George & Agatha”

We met with Sis. Lowe early this morning for our final rehearsal for our parts of “George & Agatha” before tonight’s performance. The rehearsal went very well and Sis. Lowe thinks we are ready. Sis. Lowe is always encouraging, positive and enthusiastic in her directing, teaching and motivation. She’s very good. 
Each week Sis. Lowe prints out a new schedule for all three casts of “Rendezvous.” She often writes a few lines of wisdom and encouragement. Here is what she wrote in today’s email to all of us:

Dear Emma Hale Cast!

Watching this mission perform each night is a clear reminder of how the Lord works miracles through his missionaries as you stand as witnesses on that stage.  Many of you came with fear and trepidation at the thought of being on stage for not just one show but two!  You have worked hard in Rendezvous, and soon you'll be a bright spot in Sunset!  To see you step up to the plate, hitting home runs night after night, leaves me shaking my head; for indeed, we are clay in the potter's hands.  Deepest thanks!


You are doing just that.  This mission is definitely a journey, and as Pres. Monson counseled us, "Find joy in the journey!"

Love and Hugs!
Sister Lowe

Later in the morning we gathered our supplies, tools, grasses & containers and headed to the Visitor’s Center. Sis. Andres asked Sis. Johnson to prepare some arrangements to decorate the stage for Sunday evening’s Sociable (Fireside). Yesterday we picked an arm load of Pampas grass in preparation and we also picked some pine to use as filler. 
Sunday’s Sociable (Fireside) is going to be the start of a week’s worth of events that commemorate the exodus by the first Saints that crossed the frozen Mississippi River and started their journey west on February 7, 1846.
Tonight was our first performance as “George and Agatha.” We did it! We survived our debut. We made a few mistakes and forgot a line or two but they were minor and anyone watching for the first time wouldn’t have known the difference. All in all we did a very good job. We perform as “George and Agatha” again on Monday night. We are looking forward to it. We will get better as we continue to perform. It is quite likely that we will be “George and Agatha” until we finish our mission in eight months.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017 – Drive to Pick-up Sticks, Visitor’s Center Flowerbeds, Family Living Center, Bald Eagle Fishing, Four Bucks

We started our work day in the Van driving the streets of Historic Nauvoo picking up downed limbs and branches. We like doing this first thing in the morning because the van we drive is warm inside and it is really cold outside. We didn’t find a lot of limbs so when we finished our trailer was only about half full.
Our next project was cleaning the two large flowerbeds on the north side of the Visitor’s Center. We’ve cleaned these same two flowerbeds many times before. As the frost kills another group of plants we go in and pull them out and leave the rest of the plants that still look OK. Well, this will be the last cleaning of this flowerbed. There is nothing left to die and clean up later.
Our final stop was at the FLC (Family Living Center). Almost all of the shrubs and bushes were ripped out yesterday so today we did some straightening up, clean up, and picking up so the FLC didn’t look all disheveled and a mess. We didn’t finish so I’m sure we’ll be back on Monday. There is a lot to do to make the grounds around the FLC presentable until we replant in the spring.
This afternoon we did our weekly grocery shopping a day early. We wanted to get a jump on weekend chores because tomorrow is going to be very busy for Sis. Johnson and I. On our way to Keokuk, Iowa we drove the river road again. This time of year it is a pleasure to see all of the Bald Eagle in the trees, on the ice and flying overhead. Today we were excited to see a Bald Eagle soaring close to the water, then suddenly he swooped down and snatched a fish out of the river right in front of us. What a sight, it was amazing to see the Bald Eagle fly away with a big fish in its talons.
We were driving when the Eagle caught the fish. By the time I got the car stopped and had my camera out, turned on and in focus the Eagle was too far away to catch a picture of him. Oh well, maybe next time.