We Served Our Savior, Jesus Christ

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September 19, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

We left our mission with sadness mixed with joy. Elder Campbell wanted to drive back past our house one more time after we had turned in the key. Then we drove away to a new adventure, towards home after an 18-month mission.

On our way we took in some notable church history sites. We first drove to Adam-ondi-ahman, the place where Adam and Eve once dwelt. It is a peaceful and beautiful area. All of Missouri is beautiful and green. Our next historical site was Far West, Missouri. There a temple site has been dedicated. The four cornerstones were laid out in the early days of the church. The church was able to buy back the property, and a temple will one day be built there.

Next we went to Richmond, Missouri. This is where Joseph Smith and many others were held as prisoners for an extended period of time. The old jail is no longer standing, but there is a historical marker there. My ancestor, Morris Charles Phelps, was one of the prisoners held captive there.

Liberty Jail was our next stop, where Joseph and several others were transferred after Richmond. (Phelps was not moved from Richmond, but was retained there with two or three others.) After being in that cold cell in Liberty all winter the prisoners were allowed to escape. The officials realized that there was no evidence to hold them. (Morris Phelps and others escaped from the Richmond jail through the heroic efforts of his wife, Laura. But that is a story for another time.)

Our next stop was Independence, Missouri. We toured the visitors’ center and enjoyed learning about the Saints of that time. Independence was the first place the Mormons settled in Missouri. There is also a dedicated temple site there.

From Independence we drove through more beautiful country, past Kansas City and through the heart of Oklahoma; then on into Texas. We made our way to Hobbs, New Mexico, where we visited with Evelyn, Jason, and children. We were excited to learn of their expected new one in April!

Then we drove to the Phoenix valley. We visited with much family there. My father is in a care center, so we visited him there and my mother at their home in Tempe. We visited Kendra and Brandon and children in West Phoenix, and Elder Campbell’s mother in Scottsdale. We were able to visit with a good many of our brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, as well. It has been a good trip.

It has been especially rewarding to share our enthusiasm and love for the work that we were so fully involved in. We loved the people, the temple, the message, and the one for whom we served, even our Savior, Jesus Christ. We learned how to testify and how to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost as never before. We have grown so much in our testimony of the restored church of Jesus Christ. We know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. We know that he saw God, the father and his son, Jesus Christ. We know that they and other heavenly messengers taught him, an unlearned farm boy, and guided him in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. We want to share that message with everyone we meet!

We send our love to all of you. We hope to see you soon, if we didn’t catch you on our trip home.

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Last few days of work in Nauvoo
– Great sunset clouds
– At Far West, Mo
– Historical marker in Richmond, Mo
– At Richmond pioneer cemetery
– Tressa, Kenson, and Hailee Curtis
– Evelyn and Jason Curtis
– Ellie and Olivia
– Laura, Ellie, and Sam
– Ethan at school match
– Family gathering
– Josh, Brandon, Emma, Kacey
– Josh, Kacey, Ethan
– Kendra, Brandon, Ethan, Josh, Emma, Kacey
– Brandon, Kendra, Kathleen, Terry
– Adam-ondi-ahman
– Tressa, Evelyn, Jason, Hailee, and Kenson
– Terry, Ellen, Martha, Sam, and Grandma Burgoyne

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A Great Way to End Our Mission

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September 7, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

It is with somewhat of sadness that I write the last letter of our Illinois Nauvoo Mission. It has been a great mission! Yes, it has been hard. In fact, it has probably been the hardest thing either one of us has ever done. But it has been wonderful, and we are grateful for every minute of it.

Today was our last day in the Burlington Ward. We told our new friends there good-bye. Everywhere we turn we are saying good-bye to someone. Tonight will also be our last zone conference and mission slide show. (The slide show is a fun collection of slides from the mission during the past month.) Yesterday was our last time in the Nauvoo Temple.

Monday and Tuesday will be our last days to serve in the sites or Facilities Management. After a day of cleaning on Wednesday, we will be heading West.

During this mission we have grown in our testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We are strengthened in our knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, and in the power of the Holy Ghost. We hope to be better people for it, better citizens and neighbors and better members of the church.

On Friday we had dinner with President Gibbons and his wife, along with nine other couples. It was very nice and enjoyable. Today we had an interview with the president, our exit interview. For both events we were invited to tell of our feelings of our mission extemporaneously.

On Thursday we did our last “Rendezvous” show. It was quite fun. Everyone in the cast is special. Our “Rendezvous” director, Sister Taye, also did her last show, as she and Elder Taye are going home the same day we do. Several others from our cast, as well. About sixty of us are going home this week.

Monday was rather unusual. Our distant Tillotson cousins, Ezra Tillotson and his sister, Donna Norvel, came here from Troy, Missouri. They were anxious to meet us and to see some of Old Nauvoo. We arranged to have the day free so that we could spend the time with them.

We have common ancestors, John and Mary Tillotson. They joined the church in England at about the time the Saints were leaving Nauvoo. John died in England but Mary and the children immigrated to America with the Saints. They settled in St. Louis and did not go West immediately. Consequently, some of the children never did move West to join the Saints. Ezra and Donna’s ancestor, Ezra, stayed in the St. Louis area. His descendants were not raised in the church.

Ezra and Donna were very much interested in learning all about Nauvoo. We took them on a carriage ride and they got a little bit of history of the church in the Visitors’ Center. We took them to Carthage and a couple of other sites. Then they went to our “Rendezvous” show and saw our last performance as Noah and Sophia Packard. Hopefully they will want to come back and bring some of their family and friends.

It was a great way to end our mission. We will be able to keep in touch with them and all of the wonderful people we have met while here.

We look forward to seeing all of you and telling you more about our wonderful experiences here. We want you to know how much we love the Lord and are grateful for this marvelous opportunity we have had in serving a mission for Him.

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Ezra Tillotson, Donna Norvel, about 4th cousins with E/S Campbell (above)
– Donna and Ezra
– Sister Campbell with Donna and Ezra after Rendezvous
– A day at the sites when no visitors were around (remaining)

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Further the Lord’s Work

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

It was another typical week, with me at the Print Shop or the Sarah Granger Kimball home or the Cultural Hall and Elder Campbell either calking windows or building forms to pour concrete. I enjoy serving with the various sisters in the mission. Elder Campbell enjoys serving with the elders, particularly Elder Gillespie. They make a good team.

While in the Heber C. Kimball home Zenta, a new convert from Burlington, came in. My companion, Sister Watkins, was one who was key in her conversion. Zenta is a person who loves history. This week she did again what she did a few short months ago. She brought the Burlington Young Sister Missionaries to Nauvoo on their preparation day so they would have a chance to see Old Nauvoo. Little did she know then how strong the spirit is here, that when one testifies of the truth it penetrates to the heart. That is what happened to her. She gained her own testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel and was baptized not long after. She now is a member of the Burlington ward, taking the teacher development class so that she can fulfill her new calling as a teacher in Relief Society.

In our training meeting this week we learned of the changes the missionary department is asking us to make. We are to encourage the members who come here in their member-missionary work. As the spirit of the Holy Ghost prompts us, we are to invite the members to share the gospel with others. We will follow up with them via the telephone or internet to encourage them in their work. Members need to realize that when they invite their friends they do not need to teach them.

In our fifth Sunday meeting today we talked about the fact that the church is striving as never before to use the internet as a tool for good. Members can and should share their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through social media. The discoveries through time were given to us by the gift and power of God. The knowledge that we are getting right now, we are supposed to get. In a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1839 we learn about this. [See Doctrine and Covenants 121:26-31.] Technological discoveries are, in part, a fulfillment of this revelation, according to Brother Garrison, counselor in the Burlington ward.

Bishop Hammond concluded by asking us to use our time and talents to further the Lord’s work through social media, and to use our time and talents to provide for ourselves and our families. Using our time and talents to provide for ourselves as the Lord asks is becoming self-reliant. Using them to share the gospel is the essence of the gospel.

See the attached video (link):
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0Uhq7CJhNv_TzBKZzlNMEptQ1E/edit?usp=drive_web

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Sunrise on the Nauvoo Temple (above)
– Sunset on the Mississippi
– Original artwork in the Burlington meeting house

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How is it going in your part of the world?

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August 24, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

How is it going in your part of the world? The activity has slowed down quite a bit here, plus it has gotten rainy and hot!

I found that I am related to one of the missionaries here. Elder Glen Clark is a fourth cousin twice removed. He was raised in Georgetown, Idaho and is a descendant of one of my pioneer Nauvoo ancestors, Timothy Baldwin Clark. Elder Clark knows all about Montpelier and the Burgoyne’s. In fact, he graduated with Uncle Rodney Burgoyne from Montpelier High School. While we were serving in the Family Living Center together he posed for a picture with Elder Campbell and me.

I also got a picture with “The Beer Man.” He comes to Nauvoo every Thursday with a truck-bed full of pop and juice. Then he drives around to all of the sites to give drinks to the missionaries. His name is Fred, but he likes the missionaries to call him The Beer Man. He also grows a garden and brings produce to share. This summer he has had a lot of cucumbers, so has brought his homemade pickles to give to the missionaries. He lives alone, and finds joy in passing his time this way. In the afternoon he serves in the temple.

The other day I got a phone number from my mother of another distant cousin, Ezra Tillotson, who lives in Troy, Missouri. I called him and invited him to come to Nauvoo before we go home. He accepted the invitation! He and his sister, and maybe a brother are planning to come here on Labor Day. We have arranged to have our preparation day then so that we can take him around to see the sites. I am excited about it, even though I have never met any of them. I am excited that they are interested in coming.

On Friday night we had two Young Sister Missionaries over for dinner, Sister Hughes and Sister Hansen, the assistants to the president. We had a wonderful visit with them. Sister Hughes is from Mesa and Sister Hansen is from Rexburg. Both will be going home in October and will then be roommates at BYU. As always, they left us with a spiritual message. It was to let the spirit guide you in your missionary work. All missionaries are entitled to that kind of help. Before leaving Sister Hughes played my violin for a minute. I hadn’t known she played the violin, even though I have known her for most of our mission.

This morning we went to church in Fairfield, Iowa. I played an arrangement of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” I couldn’t get an accompanist on such short notice, so I played it without accompaniment. It was Ed and Eunice Johnson’s last Sunday in the Fairfield ward. They are moving to Houston this week. The ward had their monthly pot luck after church. It was a nice “farewell” for them. We could tell that they will be greatly missed! Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of them this time.

Then tonight we had an MTC party. Sister Gillespie had activities that got us all laughing. Sister Jones is putting together a skit for our farewell breakfast. Should be fun!

Here are a few of my notes from church today.

Your prayers will be answered in time.

We need to pray to see His hand in our lives; He needs our prayers so that He can bless us.

Adversity is fleeting; Christ is forever.

If no one is there to bear testimony to you, look in the mirror and bear testimony to yourself.

How can the Lord strengthen us through adversity? Through prayer, hope, faith, and knowledge.

Adversity means “turn,” turn to God.

Through Christ you can become the irony of logical deductions.

We send our love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Fred, The Beer Man with Sister Campbell
– Cousin Elder Clark with Elder and Sister Campbell
– View of Sister Campbell, Sister Hughes, Sister Hansen
– Sister Hansen, Sister Hughes, Elder Campbell
– At the MTC party
– The Nauvoo Temple, by EC (above)

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The Amish family was very nice

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August 17, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

We had another full week! Now that “Sunset by the Mississippi” is over we do have two more free nights. However, someone often plans something on one of those nights. This week we had a cast temple trip worked in. It was a joy! Thirty-six members of our cast attended the temple together. It made a full session. There is a lot of Priesthood power in that group, a lot of faith-filled people.

Elder Campbell has been working on temple housing windows for several weeks now. He is working with Elder Gillespie. They are putting new calking around all of the windows. He quite enjoys it.

For my birthday I received cards and notes and calls from numerous family and friends. Elder Campbell and I had the evening free, so we went to our favorite restaurant in Keokuk, a Mexican restaurant called Los Topatios. TR and Amber gave us a gift certificate for that place for my birthday. It was very nice.

I was blessed to be able to serve with young Sister Holt in the Print Shop on Tuesday. She is an outstanding missionary and gave an excellent tour. She is good at making the guests feel welcome and presenting a spiritual message. Actually, all of the young sister missionaries are very good, and most of the senior missionaries are, too. I often feel inadequate, but try to always have a prayer in my heart that I will say what the Lord wants me to say.

On Friday I served in the John Taylor Home. The last part of my shift was supposed to be with young Sister Hansen, but for some reason her companion, young Sister Hughes wanted to trade with her to serve with me. I’m not really sure why she wanted to so badly. I guess she knows I love her. We made a connection last fall when she and young Sister Gines came over for four weeks in a row to teach mock discussions, practicing for their outbound experience.

Anyway, the two young sisters made the switch. It was a bit of a distance for them to run, and while they were doing so neither of their senior sister companions were with a companion. I hope that makes sense. Well, the John Taylor Home is one of the busier sites, so we didn’t get much time to visit. But before we had a tour she gave a wonderful prayer. We shared our first tour before it started to get really busy. After that we had to split up. She did an awesome job making it really fun for the little children and teenagers. I learned a lot from her. Both she and Sister Holt are going home soon. They will be a part of our forever friends.

Speaking of friends, while in the John Taylor Home, Robert and Karin Johnson (of Soda Springs) and their daughter and family, Jason and Sarah Jacobia and their four children were walking by the home. At the same time, Elder Campbell drove by and saw them. The two men talked for a minute. Robert asked him where I was serving that day. They were right in front of where I was. I had emailed them about it, but they had not received the email yet. So I had prayed that we would be able to see them while they were here. The Lord put them right at my doorstep just as Elder Campbell drove by. Pretty cool!

It was fun to see them. They also came to our “Rendezvous” show the next night. We had hoped they would come, and so requested to do our Noah and Sophia vignette that night. It all worked out well. (It seems that we should have been able to communicate with them better. They must not use an iphone.)

Yesterday we went with a group of missionaries to an Amish farm for dinner. Sister Gillespie organized it. She needed a good-sized group in order to get them to do it. The food was great. The Amish family was very nice. Our host, John, did not want us to take pictures of him or his family, but we could take pictures of the horse and buggy. His son hooked it up to take us for a ride. Their eight children ranged in ages from four months to about fifteen. They were delightful, very fun to visit with, and hard workers. We wished we could get their picture, they were so cute.

Today after church in Burlington I practiced with Shari Bair. She had worked on “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” quite well. She wants me to do another solo on the last Sunday of this month.

Also, next week we will be going to Fairfield, Iowa. Months ago Ed and Eunice Johnson had wanted us to come to in Fairfield so I could play a solo in their ward. I had not thought it would work out. But last night I talked to President Gibbons about our going there. He ok’d it, so I will play a solo and we will be able to see Ed and Eunice one more time. Ed has been transferred to Houston, Texas, and they will be leaving at the end of this month. They are in for a big change after all these years in Iowa.

We had district meeting at our house, our last one before we go home. Young Sister Holt led the discussion on how to extend an invitation to members and to non-members. We did some role playing. We want all to have the opportunity to do missionary work or if not a member, we want all to have the opportunity to learn more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!

Have a great week, all!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Elder Campbell with the Amish family’s horse (above)
– Elder Campbell ready for a buggy ride
– Sister Campbell ready for a buggy ride
– Back view of our house with the temple in view
– Our district with Elder Campbell as photographer
– Our district with Sister Campbell as photographer
– Our district with Young Sister Holt as photographer

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From my journal this week.

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August 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

As of tomorrow we only have one month of our mission left! This is a sad/happy thing, to end such a wonderful mission!

I am going to write a few excerpts from my journal this week.

August 3

Today was Maddox’s baby blessing. All four of the brothers were there with their families. The blanket I knit for him was used during the blessing, which makes me feel grateful and happy that Elder Campbell and I were represented.

Tonight we attended a most fantastic sociable by the YPM’s and YPB’s (Young Performing Missionaries and Young Performing Band Missionaries). It was so amazing. It was music and word taught by the spirit. It brought tears to my eyes. The message was so powerful!

August 4

Today was a good day at the Scovil Bakery. Over 500 people came through in 62 tours. I met some nice people. One couple was Jylisha’s aunt and uncle, the Eddies from Las Vegas. Jylisha had told them to look us up. It was sweet.

Another tour was very unusual. After the tour a man lingered. He wanted to share something with us. He said he related well to Lucius Scovil, the owner of the bakery, because he had recently lost his wife, as did Lucius while living in Nauvoo. Hi wife had wanted to come to Nauvoo. They had been in the pageant in the previous years. He wanted to share with us that she had died while in Nauvoo, just three days ago. His feelings were mixed but he was solid. He said it has been quite unusual these last three days. He didn’t elaborate.

We met some nice people after “Sunset by the Mississippi.” People lingered. It was the Trio’s last time performing. We had a chance to visit with some of the YPM’s and tell them how amazing their performance was last night.

August 5

I served at the Post Office. Over 53 tours came in during the six hours I was there. That’s a lot!

I just finished writing up the conversion stories of two of my Nauvoo ancestors, based on their own autobiographies. I did it for an assignment to possibly be used in President Jones’ training meeting coming up. Both ancestors heard of this new church in a similar way, one through a newspaper article and the other through a letter. They both had strong feelings upon hearing about it.

[I include a couple of excerpts from my study.

Morris Charles Phelps said, “On reading of this new church and a prophet created such a curious anxiety, mingled with joy that I could not refrain from weeping.’

The next day Morris read the letter concerning the new book to Charles C. Rich. Morris was anxious to learn more concerning the new book, the church and the Prophet. A peculiar sensation of feeling had penetrated his whole system and made his spirit buoyant and full of joy. He knew not then what it meant. Years later he said, “I know now; it was the spirit of God testifying to the truthfulness of the Prophet and Book of Mormon.”

Luman Andrus Shurtliff wrote, “This news gave me the most singular feelings I have ever experienced. It took the attention of those present, and we had some talk of the strange circumstances, and it made a lasting impression on me. I heard nothing more concerning it until the fall of 1831.”

“Two Mormon Elders came to Franklin to preach, Noah Packard and a Mr. Umphry.” They were not very experienced in Mormonism, and did not impress him much with their preaching. But he said, “I was affected in a curious manner when in company with these men; I loved them, but knew not why.”]

Their conversion stories are fascinating.

August 6

Elder Campbell was asked to speak at our weekly training meeting this morning. It was on spiritual experiences in the sites. He told of his experience with the Holy Ghost in helping him learn his lines for Noah and Sophia in “Rendezvous.” After praying for help, the lines went through his head over and over throughout the night. He didn’t get much sleep that night but learned his lines. He did a great job in telling about it.

August 7

I met Dorene Balls Peterson in the Family Living Center and her husband and five children. It was a pleasant surprise to see them. (Dorene is the daughter of Redge and Charlene Balls of Soda Springs.)

Tonight was our last “Sunset” show. It wasn’t nearly as fun for us because it was indoors. It rained practically all day. We don’t get to see most of the show when it is indoors.

Afterwards we went to Peter’s Place. It was Elder and Sister Ballard’s last “Hurrah” before they go home on the 11th. The YPM’s, too! Sad.

August 8

I served in my favorite place, the Wilford Woodruff home. I hope I imparted to the guests my enthusiasm and testimony of the gospel. One cute couple came in, so excited to be there. It was so fun to teach them about Wilford Woodruff, because they were so appreciative.

August 9

We had a busy but fun day. After cleaning the house we attended the temple. We saw the third new temple film.

We attended “The Promise” by the YPM’s in the afternoon. They did an excellent job. I spoke to Elders Elwood, Summers, and Cobia, thanking them for Pete for taking the time to talk to his family when they were here. After “Rendezvous” we talked to some others of them. The YPM’s are such sweet young people. It will be hard to see them go home.

We started a fast for Gracie’s dad. He has been in the hospital for a week. He had a stroke. He is doing pretty well but has short term memory loss.

Well, those are some of my journal entries for the week. Today I played a solo in the Burlington ward, a medley of hymns. After church they had a “munch and mingle.” It was a nice time to visit with the members.

You are all in our thoughts and prayers continually. We love you all so much!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Elder and Sister Ballard going home to Snowflake, Arizona
– Posing with Elders Summers (of Utah, I think) and Cobia of Sugar City, Idaho (above)
– Posing with Elder Barker of Pocatello
– Young Sister Missionaries
– Posing with Elder Lovelace of Washington State

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