Nov. 14, 2012, Emails from Holmsteads
To our hard working friends who are continuing the work in Nauvoo,
We are still alive and kicking and have not fallen off the face of the earth. Thank you for being patient in hearing from us. We appreciate the emails we have received from Nauvoo. We have been home a month now and have finally settled in. After we left Nauvoo on Sept 15th we went to Kirtland. Next to Nauvoo, that is our favorite church history area. So many amazing things happened there. The senior missionaries and YSM do wonderful tours and testify of the Savior in their presentations. We had no idea of all that happened in Kirtland. Then we headed to North Carolina for a two week visit with a new grandbaby. By the way, that is the best transition from a mission we can imagine. Playing with the 3 and 5 year olds and holding a new one, is the next best thing next to a mission. We actually did a session in the Washington DC Temple on our way there. It had been our temple for the 10 years we lived in New Jersey, but it has been 25 years since we had been inside. (But who's counting?)
We left NC a little teary eyed and headed to Independence, MO. We attended the Kansas City Temple, which is near Liberty Jail and ask for a tour of the temple. One of the ordinance workers said that a sealer here in the temple as a daughter and son in law serving in Nauvoo. I knew she meant the Jardines. She said that Sister Jandine's father was in the temple that day. We wanted to meet him but he was in a sealing room and although we checked back later he was still busy. While serving with Sister Jardine she had told me what a remarkable man he was and the ordinance workers felt the same way.
Liberty Jail has a great spirit about it. The recorded narrative and dramatization really a leave and impression, much like Carthage - a great love for the Prophet Joseph and those who suffered so much. From Nauvoo all the way home we enjoyed listening to The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt. It is now a book on CD's. We got it in Nauvoo at the LDS bookstore. To listen to events and an eye witness narrative of all the places we were visiting made the book and the places more meaningful.
After Liberty Jail we took a tour of the Community of Christ Temple, which is more like a visitors and community center. But we were glad we had taken the tour. The LDS visitors center in Independence is also very good. The have seniors and YSMs. The YSM's serve a few days a week at the VC and Liberty and a few days out in the field doing missionary proselyting work . The Kirtland YSM were on the same kind of schedule. Fewer non members visit the Independence and Kirtland sites than Nauvoo, so their tours speak right to the heart of the Latter Day Saint. We absorbed all we could hold. We wanted to know everything so we took much longer at each stop than the ordinary visitor probably would. It was not the busy season so the missionaries were happy to spend time with us.
At each site when they saw our missionary tags and learned we were from Nauvoo we became celebrities. They wanted to know what we did on our mission and they all expressed hope to be able to go to Nauvoo. Elder and Sister Bradd Brown had preceded us by a few weeks and they were remembered fondly.
From Independence we went to the Far West Temple site, with the four corner stones, and then we found our way to Hauns Mill, Mt Pisgah and on to Council Bluff's and Winter Quarters. A funny thing happened in Council Bluffs, at the Kannesville Tabernacle Visitor's Center. FYI: the Kannesville tabernacle is a reproduction of the building that was erected in 3 days as a meeting place where Brigham Young was sustained as the President and Prophet of the Church and the First Presidency was organized. There is a small visitor's center there and it was a busy day because they were participating with other businesses and museums on a special activity where. As visitors stop by, the missionary stamps a flyer that will enable the visitors to attend an event free and get an ice cream or something.
Anyway, there was only one senior couple on the shift - which is 6 straight hours - she was in the small visitor's center, he was in the Tabernacle. Just as they hoped, many people came in and several people wanted to know what this place was all about. There are some impressive displays which the missionary explains, a short film and then they are directed outside to the other building which is the Tabernacle. The two missionaries were swamped and before we were even able to take the tours ourselves, the sister missionary saw us with our badges, learned where we were from and handed us the flyer and the stamps and said "Here will you do this?" So we were put to work for a few minutes with our missionary badges and our travel clothes. It was really very funny.
Winter Quarters has another great visitor's center. The YSM there have the same rotation as the ones in Independence. We love our Nauvoo young sisters and were amazed at how they could teach the visitors, and we were just as impressed with the YSM's we met at each of these other stops. The Lord has prepared a great army of daughters to further the work.
We then went to Northern Nebraska and enjoyed General conference at my brothers home, saw Mount Rushmore, and spent a day in Yellowstone. We had another experience there. We were leaving the Old Faithful Visitors center to get something to eat before the next eruption, and a lady, a little older than we are, was walking toward us from our right very purposefully. I tried to make eye contact because I was sure she would run right into us but she never look at us. Just as we stopped, so we wouldn't run into her, she stopped and said, "I'm a Mormon, too." She asked where we had served and when we said Nauvoo there was oh-h-hs and ah-h-hs like we had learned to expect. Then she said that she knew a couple serving there, the Christensens, Doris and Al. What a small world! ! ! We said that they were dear mission friends and they had even been in our district. The lady's name was Della Cox. She said that Sister Christensen was a nurse practitioner and been in their home many times. She thought the world of them and I assured her that all of Nauvoo did too.
After Yellowstone there were several other stops and then we arrived Saturday the 13th of October in Lehi. Our meeting with the Stake President provoked a special tug on our heart strings as we were released and came home and took off our badges for the last time. I always took comfort that the Savior's name was on there with my own. It was like lifting a mantel of comfort that had been wrapped around us for the last year and a half.
It has been wonderful to be home. And although we miss Nauvoo, we know that we are needed here. There is some family history work to do - not genealogy - but putting histories, patriarchal blessings, newspaper clippings and biographies together for the early members of the church from both sides of our families. The most special things is to be with our children and grandchildren and to be more available for them now.
We pray for our friends in Nauvoo, that you will stay well and healthy and be sustained by the Spirit of the Lord in the work you are doing.
We love to hear from you so please put our email on newsletters you send to friends and family.
Thanks for writing. It's good to know you are home safe and sound. That baby is sure looking you over! And smiling! Cute! Sounds like you had a nice trip home. Elder Scott and I are the new district leaders in the Dan Jones district. They are keeping tabs on us though. Elder/Sister Call, who were the last district leaders and now he is a councilor in the mission presidency, are in the district. And Elder/Sister Green, who are the new Zone leaders, are in the district. Elder/Sister Christensen are the only other ones. Should be rich and spiritual meetings with them. It's not something I ever wanted to do. But we try to do what we are asked and hope they don't throw us out. You were great leaders. I miss all of you "Golden Oldies" a lot. I served with Sister Baker yesterday. She said she is about the only one left. McBrides, Newmans and Heatons are still here. That's about it. Oh well, that's life in Old Nauvoo.
Well, better go get ready to go to my site.
Take care and enjoy home,
9:52 AM (7 hours ago)
E/S Scott, How wonderful it is to hear from you and we appreciate that with your busy schedules you would take the time to send your greetings. Congratulations on your assignment as district leaders. Both of you are so dear to us and set such a wonderful example for us. We know you will provide great leadership for your district. I can guarantee you that no one is going to through you out. Wow, what a district! Please give our love to the Calls, the Greens, and the Christensens. We admire you both so much. It was heart wrenching for me when E/Scott ask to be assigned to the other sites instead of being assigned to the barn. I witnessed him struggling for weeks. I knew how difficult it was for him yet he continued. However, his courage was evident not through his struggling and hurting and not being able to do all that he wanted to do, but recognizing that he could be as valuable a tool in the hands of the Lord serving at the other sites as he could be at the barn. We love you both so much and miss you. Have a wonderful day!