Sunday, March 5, 2017 –Blacksmith & Wainwright Shop, LeGrande & Marie Fletcher, Witbecks, Sis. Crandall, Sis. Winegar, Fast & Testimony Meeting
This afternoon Sis. Johnson and I were assigned to give tours at the “Blacksmith & Wainwright Shop.” We’ve visited the Blacksmith and Wainwright shop and taken the tour before but this was the first time we’ve been asked to give tours. I really enjoy studying and learning all of the site tour information about these historic places in Nauvoo.
It is very humbling yet awe inspiring to contemplate those stalwart pioneers of the 1840’s as they heeded the call of the Prophet Brigham Young to give up everything they owned, their farms, their homes, their businesses and their possessions and set out in the dead of winter to cross the Mississippi River and begin their trek west into wilderness fraught with unknown perils.
In response to the Prophet’s call to go west the entire population turned Nauvoo into a wagon making cottage industry. Every shop, business and parlor of every home was used to make wagons for the trek west. Families took home raw wood to fashion wagon wheel spokes and felloes and other parts to be used by the wainwrights and wheelwrights in the construction of wagons.
On February 4, 1846 the Mormon exodus to the West began. Although it was mid-winter and freezing in Nauvoo, the Latter-day Saints of Nauvoo loaded their wagons and left their beloved city for unchartered regions in the Rocky Mountains.
Their courageous act of crossing the Mississippi River to head west does not mirror the westward-bound settler seeking greener pastures in Oregon or the adventurous “Forty-niner” rushing to California to claim gold. The economic motive, so dominant among other immigrants, paled in comparison to the Mormon determination to follow a prophet and find a safe haven in which to worship God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
One of the tours we gave was to a delightful couple who live right here in Nauvoo, LeGrande and Marie Fletcher. We had a wonderful time talking to them and hearing of their own missionary service. Together they have served seven full time senior couple missions. Five of those missions were Spanish speaking in Spain and the other two were right here in Nauvoo. In fact they liked it so much here they decided to retire in Nauvoo and have lived here for the past 14 years.
This evening Sis. Johnson and I were invited to dinner at the home of our good friends, Elder & Sis. Witbeck. We’ve known the Witbecks since we were in the MTC together a year ago. We enjoyed the meal, the company and the conversation. The Witbecks are wonderful people, great servants of the Lord and truly the salt of the earth.
Sister Crandall update: Dr. Rasmussen reported today in Sacrament meeting the latest news about one of our single sisters, Sis. Crandall. (See Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017) A week ago she was transported to the University of Iowa Medical Center in Iowa City. This week they did a spinal tap and discovered evidence of cancer, she likely has brain cancer, maybe lymphoma. The prognosis is not good. Her progress is very guarded and she has improved some.
We stopped by the home of Elder & Sis. Winegar on our way to give tours this afternoon. We stopped by to give Sis. Winegar a fresh bouquet of flowers and wish her well.
Early Saturday morning Sis. Winegar was on her way to help clean the Stake Center when she tripped and fell on the concrete stairs between the upper and lower parking lot. She took a gash to her lip requiring stitches, she broke her “bridge”, (previous dental work) in her front teeth and broke an additional 4 teeth! She is badly skinned up, bruised and battered. She is still in a lot of pain in her knee and wrist.
This morning’s Fast & Testimony meeting was wonderful. It was full of testimonies by the departing missionaries we honored at Friday morning’s breakfast. The spirit of the Holy Ghost was felt by all of us. One of the departing seniors, Elder (Doctor) Rasmussen told the story of one of his grandsons that came to visit Nauvoo and watched the “Live Nativity” program last December. When the program was over Elder Rasmussen asked him, “What do wise men do?” The little boy answered without hesitation, “They build their house on a rock!” And that is what we all should do; build our lives, our families, and our testimonies on the Savior, the rock of our salvation.