Homesite of Ancestors

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August 25, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a cast party on Tuesday night. Several members of our cast will be going home soon. They each had a turn saying something at the end of the party about what they learned on their mission and about how they felt about leaving Nauvoo. That made me think about how I feel about serving a mission in Nauvoo. Here are a few excerpts from my journal.

“It is one of the most difficult things I have done. It stretches my ability to serve with my whole heart and my ability to give my whole self to the Lord. I have learned to care about other people more—from a complete stranger to a close cast member. I have learned that it doesn’t matter what I look like. People will like me if I exert myself, extend myself in genuine love and friendship. I am learning how to be a friend.

“I have learned to love the prophet Joseph Smith. I have learned to appreciate the sacrifices the Saints of Old Nauvoo made.

“I am still learning to have complete faith and trust in God, no matter what. I am learning how to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I am watching how others bring out the best in people, bring out a discussion with people, and how others serve unselfishly. It is awesome to see the wonderful characteristics of the people who serve here. I hope to emulate them.

“Lastly, I am learning how to bring our guests closer to Christ.”

President Gilliland called me into his office on Wednesday to discuss a musical number he wanted me to put together. On September 23 the Illinois Supreme Court Historical Preservation Commission and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are sponsoring an event here in our visitors’ center. The keynote speaker will be Elder Dallin H. Oaks. He will speak on the murder trial of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The musical number was requested by Jeffrey Walker of Salt Lake. He wants us to use his arrangement of the original version of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” That song has special significance, as Joseph Smith asked John Taylor sing it just prior to his being martyred in Carthage. So I am in charge of getting the best missionary singers together for this special number. I have lined up four men, and they are getting together to work on it. So that has been an interesting little part of my week.

On Thursday we drove a little ways to see if we could find the location of the homesites of some of our ancestors. Without even looking for it we found the location of the home of my ancestor grandparents, Horace and Elizabeth Rawson. It was on the corner of Carlos and Partridge Streets, where we stopped to take a picture of the missionary horses. We also found the general area for Lumon Andrus Shurtliff (his homesite is now a forested area) and James Holmes (his homesite is in the state park area). We will have to take a walk to see if we can figure it out any further. It is kind of fun to explore when we get a chance.

Although there are not many visitors in Nauvoo at this time, last night we still had two shows of “Rendezvous.” They were great audiences, which made it fun to perform. Also, I was able to go in and watch part of the second show, as it wasn’t completely full. I must say that Elder Campbell nailed his part right on the head.

We send our love to you all!

Elder and Sister Campbell

-Corner where Rawson ancestors lived (above)
-Flowers in front of our house
-Angel Moroni in front of a full moon
-Missionary horses out to pasture
-Statue in Visitors’ Center of the First Vision
-More of the missionary horses
-Some of the many flowers in Nauvoo
-Sister Campbell in front of area where Rawson ancestors lived
-Area where Shurtliff ancestors lived

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Christ, the epitome of obedience

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August 18, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was very busy. After church we got ready to serve in the Sarah Granger Kimball home until five p.m. Then we came home and got ready to attend a district meeting.

At district meeting we ate a potluck salad supper. Afterward each of us took a turn to give a five-minute talk on an attribute of Christ of our choosing. We learned something from everyone’s talks. All were uplifting and inspiring. I chose the attribute of charity and Elder Campbell chose obedience.

I related charity to the sons of Mosiah, who could not stand the thought of anyone enduring “endless torment” due to wickedness (see Mosiah 27:3). I shared another example of charity about our old bishop, Bishop Taylor, who is always caring for other people.

Elder Campbell used the example of Christ as the epitome of obedience to the Father (Mosiah 15:7), where “The will of the Son [was] swallowed up in the will of the Father.” He used another example of obedience from Matthew 7:24-27. The wise man was obedient by building his house upon a solid foundation, but the foolish man was disobedient and built his house upon the sand.

In Sunday School I participated in a musical number at the end of the lesson. I sang in a trio for the first part of the song, “The Hearts of the Children.” On the last verse I played a violin obligato. It was a nice change from other musical numbers that we have had. Today I also invited everyone to sign up for our mission choir, and asked them to list what part they sing. Fifty-five people signed up, and the parts are quite evenly divided. It should be fun, but I have a lot of studying yet to do before I feel I am ready.

This week two new counselors were put in the mission presidency, as the others are going home soon. We also got a new “Rendezvous” director. So changes are all around, which makes things rather interesting.

Elder Campbell finished siding the house he had worked on for a couple of weeks. They also sided an outhouse. I worked in Facilities Management one day myself, pruning trees and bushes. FM works hard to keep everything here looking nice.

Well, that’s all for tonight. We are heading for bed so that we can start a new week bright and shiny! We send our love to you all!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

-Elder and Sister in front of Christus statue (above)
-Elder Campbell siding a house
-Siding crew
-Elder and Sister Campbell in front of Nauvoo Temple
-Sister Campbell in front of a field of corn
-Elder Campbell in front of Joseph and Hyrum monument
-Sister Campbell in front on monument
-Wagon ride
-The house Elder Campbell helped to side
-Elder Campbell in front of Christus in Visitors Center

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Happy Birthday Mom

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August 11, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Nauvoo has settled down quite a bit with Pageant now gone. The sites and streets are much less busy. Sunday night the Young Performing Missionaries put on an inspiring “Sociable” (or fireside) for us. They sang songs of testimony, faith, and of the Holy Ghost. They told us personal stories from their experiences here, stories that were inspiring. Afterwards we had a few moments to thank them and tell them good-bye.

I served in the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center on Tuesday. For part of my shift there I was able to go into the basement where all of the choir music is stored to pick out choir music for the upcoming months. There is quite a nice selection of music down there.

A little bit later, back on the main floor, I was talking to a bus driver who brought a large group of young single adults from Vernal, Utah. I told him that I had a cousin from Vernal, Laura Foley. He spoke with an accent, and was from Argentina. He didn’t know her, but said, pointing around the room, that there was a room full of people from Vernal. I ventured towards a group of them. They knew Laura and said that her daughter, Daneka, was among them, that she was the head of the group.

She wasn’t actually in the visitor’s center at that time, but I told them where I would be the next day and to ask her to stop by and so I could meet her. So the next day she did stop by while I was at the John Taylor home. We visited briefly. It was nice to meet another cousin whom I had never before met!

On Thursday I served in the Land and Records Office. I enjoyed doing research and helping patrons look up their ancestors to see if they were here in Nauvoo, and to find out where they lived. Towards the end of the day all of the band members came in and sang “Where Two or Three are Gathered Together.” They didn’t have their instruments with them, but they all sang beautifully! It was a wonderful gift to us serving there. Then there were handshakes for all of the elders and good-bye hugs for all of the sisters.

We performed our last two “Sunset by the Mississippi” shows for the season this week. The Young Performing Missionaries are a major part of the show, and it’s quite sad to see it all end. Everyone did a wonderful job. Afterward, the sister missionaries went into the sister’s dressing room to present each of the Young Performing Sister Missionaries (both singers/dancers and band members) with a cap to match their show dresses, made by the sewing room. It was a special presentation orchestrated by Sister Allen, head of the sewing room. Then we said our good-byes and gave them all hugs again.

For three weeks now Elder Campbell, Elder Gillespie and Elder Mendenhall have worked on the home they have been siding. It is the home of Elder and Sister Fullenbach (on the main floor) and Elder and Sister Reidhead (upstairs). Every morning Elder Fullenbach has come outside with his guitar to sing them a song. On Friday Sister Fullenbach joined him. Also on Friday some of the Young Performing Missionaries came over and sang a beautiful song just for them, and then waved their good-byes.

Yesterday we had lunch at Pizza Hut with James Miller and the Keokuk Elders. James is the young man we brought to Pageant two weeks ago. He finally called and wanted to do something. His phone hadn’t been disconnected after all. We had a nice visit. Hopefully he will be able to visit with the elders this week. I encouraged him to go to the Keokuk branch to church. He thought maybe he could go in two weeks.

Last night in the Green Room before our “Rendezvous” show, everyone in our cast sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Sister Ballard is the social director and does fun things. She had me choose to be a tourist, a cowboy, or a princess. I chose to be a tourist, so I had to wear big sun glasses, a necklace, and a hat, while they sang. Fun, fun.

Thank you, everyone, for the birthday wishes. Many people here have wished me a happy birthday, too, and Elder Campbell is making me a cake, so I am being spoiled.

We send our love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

P.S. We just got back from zone conference and a cookie send-off for all of the young missionaries leaving. More good-byes and hugs. We are sending a few pictures.

-Dancing on the stage of “Sunset by the Mississippi”
-Elder and Sister Campbell with violinist, singer, and dancer, Sister McCallister
-Elder Burt (percussionist) and Elder Thunell (guitarist, singer, dancer, and gymnist)
-Sister Campbell and Sister Klingler
-Sister Campbell and cousin Daneka Foley
-Some of the young performing missionaries
-Elder Campbell with Elder Spotten and Elder DeWall

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The Spirit of Nauvoo

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August 4, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

The work hastens forth in this area. How goes it in yours?

We just got home from our regular meeting block. However, it was all but regular. First of all, Fast and Testimony Meeting was unusual because it was the last one before all of the young performing missionaries and a few senior missionaries leave. So many people bore testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, spoke of their love of their time in Nauvoo, commonly because of the spiritual growth they personally made during their time here. One young elder said it well when he said:

This is a sanctuary away from the darkness of the world, a city set on a hill. We shine our light as the lower light of the Savior. The warm feelings we have here are indicators of what it is like in the Celestial Kingdom.

The rest of the meeting block was spent at the feet of one of our Savior’s disciples, Elder W. Craig Zwick and his wife, Jan. Sister Zwick told us that if you have faith in the Savior you will have power to do all that is asked of you. We must go to the Lord in faith every day, and allow him to expand our capacities, she told us. She also asked us to be grateful for what we have.

Elder Zwick talked to us about his experiences in the Chile Santiago South mission 24 years ago, when he served as a mission president. He told of the faith of the members there, of a ward council that knelt in humble prayer right amidst the smoldering ashes of their church house that was set on fire and burned by terrorists immediately following a baptism. It was an experience that changed his life and the life of his young sons.

He told us about his handicapped son who can’t read and can’t even tie his own shoes, who actually went on a mission for one month and taught and converted people to the gospel during that time. He spent the month in Thailand as companion to his younger brother who was finishing his mission there. It was his faith and earnestness, and his diligence in doing the work that brought him success with the people he met.

Elder Zwick also told us how Elder Nelson proposed lowering the age to 18 for elders missionaries, which immediately led to lowering the age for the sisters. This is really accelerating the hastening of the work, which we are a part of here in Nauvoo.

You can feel the spirit so strongly as the Pageant finishes its last night here, and as the young performing missionaries conclude their last week. One young missionary put it well when he said, “Nauvoo won’t be the same when we leave, but you will.” He meant that we have changed and made spiritual growth ourselves, which growth we will keep with us as we continue on.

On Tuesday we took our new friend, James Miller, to the Pageant. He met a lot of people, including the missionaries in his area, to whom he gave his name and contact information. He wanted to come back and go to the pageant again, so we planned for our next available date to pick him up, which was Friday. But when we got to his house on Friday, he wasn’t there. Neither did he answer his phone. So I don’t know what happened. Probably his parents or his pastor told him to not come. It is sad, but maybe he will still be able to learn more. His mind was like a sponge, soaking up everything about the gospel. He knew nothing about it, and loved everything he heard and saw. He wanted to come back and take a picture of the temple before it got dark, which we were planning to do on Friday.

We did get a picture of some of the many visitors to the pageant: Cousin Suzanne Holmes, her husband, Ben, a bagpipe player, and their son, Max, a bagpipe drummer. I didn’t get a picture of their whole family. I met them all briefly last Sunday.

We also ran into our old next-door neighbor, Jennifer Kraus. Their younger four children were with her, even though Paul was not there. We had a good visit before the pageant began. We also ran into Penny Moore and her two daughters, Jenna and Ella. They are from Soda Springs, former cello students of mine. I was able to visit with her for a good while at Pioneer Pastimes while her children played.

One other bit of news is that I was called as the new music director for the mission. I will direct the mission choir and be responsible for all of the Sacrament Meeting music, like a ward music chairman. It is a big responsibility, so I feel humbled and excited and nervous all at once. The person who had the calling is leaving, and left some big shoes to fill.

Well, that’s all for now. Pray for us that we will be able to fulfill all of our duties and responsibilities as missionaries for our Lord and Savior.

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

-A scene from a dance in the pageant (above)
-Susanne Holmes and Sister Campbell
-Ben and Max Holmes
-Penny Moore, Sister Campbell, Ella, Jenna
-Lily pads in bloom on the Mississippi
-A scene from a dance in the pageant
-Elder and Sister Campbell with Jennifer Kraus and 4 of the children
-Elder Campbell at the Mississippi River
-Sister Campbell at the Mississippi River
-More lilly pads in bloom

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