Living the Gospel

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September 29, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

It was a good week. Dinner and district meeting at our district leader’s house was fun. We are getting better acquainted with everyone, which helps the enjoyment of it. We talked about what we learned from Elder Gay’s visit.

The next day was “An Evening with Elder Dallin H. Oaks.” The quartet did a beautiful job. I was pleased. Elder Oaks gave an excellent talk about the extraditions of Joseph Smith to many people, member and non-member, dignitaries and common people, alike. He talked about some ways of the day that were different from now. One example is that mob law was prevalent. In many instances during his talk he bore witness that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God, and that he did see God, the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, as he said he did.

We had our 4th and final mock lesson with the young sister missionaries. We were acting as an unmarried black couple who were investigating the church. The sisters are great teachers and really brought in the spirit every time they came to our home to teach, even though we were just acting. They helped me to understand the basic principles of the gospel more fully.

This week the young sisters are all going to their outbound experience for 6 months, and will come back here in the spring. Sister Gines is going to the Iowa Des Moines Mission. My cousin, Oren Anderson, has a daughter in that mission. I have never met her, but I told Sister Gines (and Sister Etherington, who is also going there) that if she meets her to take a picture with her and send it to me. For me that will be the next best thing to meeting her.

Elder Campbell worked this week at putting up a gate and trying to put posts into the granite-covered earth. He is getting somewhat of an idea about what the early Saints had to deal with. He also helped put in new steps and a new handrail and trim on the porch of a house.

Elder Campbell and I both have new “Rendezvous” parts. He had his part learned in one day, almost perfectly. I have been asked to be in a vocal duet, as the sister that does it, Sister Murdoch, is going home.

On Saturday Ed and Eunice Johnson stopped by to say hello. Their daughter, Miriam, her husband, and four children were with them to see some of Old Nauvoo. Miriam’s husband, Calvin Schmid, is from Nauvoo. His parents own the Fudge Factory here, and he worked for FM in the summers for a while. We enjoyed visiting with them.

Living the gospel brings great blessings into our lives. Serving a mission really speeds that up. I am learning more and more how much our Heavenly Father loves us and cares about us, and how he often blesses us in ways that we do not realize at the time. I know that by exercising faith in him our knowledge of him will grow, thereby increasing our faith.

We send our love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Missionaries teaching us in a mock lesson
– Ed and Eunice Johnson with daughter Miriam, husband Calvin, and their four children
– Sister Campbell with Sister Allred, who is heading for the Pocatello mission
-Sisters Campbell and Mendenhall (above)

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We Have Grown To Love

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September 22, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday was fun. We met up with our dear friends, Ed and Eunice Johnson, who live in Fairfield, Iowa. They came to Nauvoo to attend the temple. We visited and had lunch together. Ed worked at Monsanto when we were new in Soda Springs. They lived around the corner from us on 1st East in the blue house, and our kids played together. We had a good time catching up on things.

Tonight we just got back from a fun district meeting and dinner. Our new district leaders are Elder and Sister Taylor, the Nauvoo Pageant missionaries. They are currently from Alaska, but for some time lived in Pocatello. (He had his own fire extinguisher business and she was an RN at the hospital.) They are very nice people whom we have grown to love. In fact, we have grown to love all of the people in our district. We have grown to love all of the people in our mission, for that matter.

The topic of our district meeting was, “What did you learn from the two meetings held with Elder Robert C. Gay of the Seventy?” He and his wife told us some wonderful and inspiring stories, stories from their life experiences. He also gave us some council and perspective for our responsibilities as missionaries. One story he told us occurred when he was a mission president in Ghana. He found out that his previous business partner in Bain Capital had just made a huge amount of money in investments, and he wondered what he was doing on a mission. Then everything was put in perspective for him as the remote, cavernously bumpy road they were traveling on jolted them off the road, rolling the car three times. His arm was bleeding profusely. Big chunks of flesh were missing. They got him to a medical facility that had some equipment to save his bleeding arm, equipment that was donated by a missionary about a year ago. That was a defining moment in his life, to realize that his life was saved because of the service of someone else.

That was just one example of the stories and testimony that he shared. We came away with a desire to be better and serve with our whole hearts. In district meeting we took turns talking about our feelings and thoughts about what we learned. Elder Campbell said he learned that if we live up to all of the covenants that we make, the more we exercise agency to live our covenants, the more the Holy Ghost will be with us. He also learned that as we serve as a couple our children and families will be ok.

I said that we already knew the principles Elder Gay taught. We had heard them from President Gilliland before. But hearing them again and how they have applied in his life and the life of others inspired me with a stronger desire to be better and to strive harder to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. One thing that sticks out in my mind was the initial call they got by Elder M. Russell Ballard to go on a mission. Elder Ballard told him that he was doing many good things, much for humanitarian and a lot of other good things that I don’t remember. But he told him that his life was out of balance and that he needed to go on a mission. I thought of myself and all of the busy things I was involved in before this mission. It was all fun, but not nearly as important as the work we are doing right now.

All week and longer the mission has been getting ready for this big event here in Nauvoo tomorrow. It is put on by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission in conjunction with the church and the city of Nauvoo. It is part of Habeas Corpus and the Courts: Individual Liberties from Joseph Smith to Abraham Lincoln to Guantanamo. Many big wigs will be here all day long tomorrow. Some of the sites and other places in town will have 10-minute presentations by scholars. The crowning event of the day will be an evening with Elder Dallin H. Oaks. His talk tomorrow is entitled, “Behind the Extraditions: Joseph Smith, the Man and the Prophet.” So you can see it is a rather high society event that will be here.

Just before Elder Oaks speaks the male quartet that I am in charge of will sing. I have been stressing over that this past week or so, because they weren’t singing in tune. They decided to sing acapella, and it really did sound bad. Sister Gilliland heard them practicing when I wasn’t there and told them they weren’t blending. President Gilliland and I have talked about it over the phone several times this week. Using all of the tricks and tools I could think of, and asking them to pray for angels to help them, they are finally sounding rather good, and I believe it will be fine. I told them to put the piano back in, and asked them to join me in praying for angels to help them, as they are on his errand. This morning as they practiced on the stage they really did sound quite good!

Well, mission choir is going well, the weather is beautiful, cooling down a little, and we are tired and going to bed.

We send our love to you all, and trust and pray that you are being blessed through our service.

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

P.S. If you get this in time, will you pray for angels to help, too?

-Elder and Sister Campbell, Eunice and Ed Johnson
-View from the Sarah Granger Kimbal Home
-Flowers poking through the fence at the Sarah Granger Kimbal Home
-Decorating a lamp post with wood
-Elder Mendenhall, Elder Campbell, and Elder Gillespie
-Sister Campbell in the Sarah Granger Kimball doorway
-Elder Campbell in the Sarah Granger Kimball walkway

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They could not stop the work

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September 15, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello, everyone! How was your week? We have kept pretty busy, as usual. Elder Campbell worked on building a gate for a pasture and putting in new gate posts. He and his fellow workers ripped all of the carpet and linoleum out of one of the houses and put in tile. That was a full week for him.

Friday night we attended the temple. Elder Campbell was commenting that we have attended the temple every week except for two, since we arrived, and except for another two weeks that it was closed for cleaning. Yesterday (Saturday) we drove up to Burlington, Iowa, to do a little shopping, and then to Bonaparte to a place called Bonaparte’s Retreat where we had a sandwich. Bonaparte is a quaint little town. They were having a swap meet there and an ancient pottery tour, also, but we had to hurry home to attend a Land and Records meeting.

Some of the places I served this week were the Visitors’ Center, the Brigham Young Home, and Land and Records. Land and Records was especially fun. I enjoyed the sisters I served with. I found out that Sister Pincock used to live in Soda Springs from 1978 to 1979. Her husband worked at US Bank. He was in the community musical, “The Music Man,” and she helped teach the singers for that. I was in the “Music Man” orchestra, so that was a fun to connection to make.

Yesterday the Land and Records site leader had a meeting to help train everyone further. We learned about the township maps, and I gained valuable insights that will help me further in greeting and assisting guests who come in.

At the Brigham Young Home several of our guests were nonmembers. One couple didn’t want any of the history of Old Nauvoo or any of the stories. They came in and said they were antique collectors and just wanted to look at the antiques. They were very interesting to talk to. He was extremely knowledgeable about antiques. He could look at an item or a piece of furniture and tell you the date of it, where it was made, and whether or not it was a genuine antique. He was very impressed with our antiques. (The church does an excellent job in furnishing the homes as authentically as possible.) My companion was Young Sister Missionary, Sister Etherington, who talked to his wife about God and her core beliefs (briefly) while I talked to him about the antiques. After the tour they invited us to their home, about an hour or so away. They live in a period setting with about 14 period buildings on their property. Their house is furnished with antiques. So that was quite an interesting tour.

A little later an interested group of three came in. We found out by the end of the tour that they were nonmembers. They were intently interested and polite. The one young lady had been reading a book about Mormons. The older lady had been here several times before. The young man was intent and curious about what we said. They took a guest card, but I won’t know if they ever filled it out or not. We just plant seeds here, and they are usually cultivated elsewhere.

Another great experience for me this week was in Carthage. I served there for the first time on Thursday. The whole tour is very interesting, but there is a strong spirit in the martyrdom room. Carthage is where we get to tell people about Joseph Smith and about his associates who were with him for support. I followed one tour through, then team-taught a second tour, and finally gave three tours on my own. The groups I took through were from Idaho Falls, one from New Zealand, and the last couple was from Washington State.

The spirit is especially strong in the martyrdom room because people are especially reverent there, knowing what transpired. They know that Joseph Smith gave his life for the cause of Christ. Although the angry mob could kill him, they could not stop the work that he had begun. Under the direction of Jesus Christ he had laid the foundation of the church so that the work would continue on after his death. His blood will stand as a testimony against those who murdered him at the last day.

Those are words similar to what I said in the martyrdom room. I do bear my testimony at the end of the tour, a short and simple testimony of the divinity of the work that Joseph Smith set forth. It is not uncommon to see tears in the martyrdom room because of the power of the spirit there.

Well, we have another big week coming up. Elder Robert C. Gay of the 70 will speak to us tonight and again on Tuesday morning in our training meeting. Then next week Elder Dallin H. Oaks will be back. We are getting much spiritual food, not to mention our companionship study and our personal study.

You all have a great week!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

-Sisters in the green room before Rendezvous
-Sister Campbell and Young Sister Dransfield (also a descendant of Luman Andros Shurtliff and Altamira Gaylord)
-Area north of Nauvoo where Elder Campbell’s Babcock ancestor lived

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“Adversity is necessary for our growth.”

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September 8, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

It was another busy week. Elder Campbell spent most of the week working on a new building called Phase Four for Facilities Management. He also helped build a new wooden frame for a garbage dumpster and put new sheet rock in a missionary apartment.

On Labor Day I also worked in FM, weeding some of the gardens and other places. We quit early, as a picnic lunch was provided for all of FM and their spouses. It was a great day to work at FM!

That day in Rendezvous I did my part as Sister Hess. My counterparts were President and Sister Gilliland, filling in for Elder and Sister Grygla, who have finished their mission and gone home. President and Sister Gilliland know several of the parts in the show and join us from time to time.

On Wednesday night some of our cast went to Meyer’s Court in Keokuk for a $5 all-you-can-eat chicken buffet. About 16 other members of our cast were there. Later that evening I rehearsed with the male quartet that is preparing a special number for an event on September 23. They are doing a good job and just need to rehearse together more.

On Friday I served in Land and Records. As I was researching the file of Andrew Jackson Allred, I was looking in a cemetery record book of the Catholic cemetery here in Nauvoo. I decided to look up the name of Laura Clark Phelps, my triple great grandmother. I hadn’t been able to find where she was buried, although I hadn’t really tried very hard. Her name was listed in that cemetery, along with the exact location of her headstone. So Yesterday Elder Campbell and I drove over there and came right to the spot. We were happy about that.

Today after church we had our first choir rehearsal. It went really well, and they sounded pretty good. They seemed to catch on fast. However, later Sister Bogaski told me that there are a few of them that don’t read music, and would like to spend more time on hearing the parts individually. So next week we will spend a bit more time on that. Directing the choir is fun for me. It does require a lot of preparation in order to do a good job. I need to practice and study the music every day in order to be ready!

Tonight we had a sociable or fireside with Lochlan McKay. He is a historian and director of the Joseph and Emma properties that belong to the Community of Christ. He spoke about the descendants of Joseph and Emma Smith. It was very interesting. He is himself a direct descendant of them through Joseph Smith III.

In Sacrament Meeting one of the talks by young sister missionary Sister Hughes was on adversity. Adversity is necessary for our growth, she told us. Our adversities are necessary for our salvation. I believe that is true. Without them we will not learn the things about ourselves and about God that we need to learn. Because of them we can become stronger, if through them, we put our trust in God.

September 9, 2013

Today Elder Campbell helped to build a gate for a new pasture for the horses. I served in the Family Living Center and made bread in the bustle oven. It turned out quite good!

We love all of you and hope you are feeling blessings from our service. We sure are!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

P.S. We are including some pictures of the geese that were passing through our area last week. There were hundreds of them right next to our house!

– All-you-can-eat chicken with cast members
– Elder Campbell in front of Phase 4 building
– Sister Campbell at grave of Laura Clark Phelps (also above)
– Elder Campbell serving in the Tin Shop on Sunday
– Sister Campbell serving in the Tin Shop on Sunday
– Sister Campbell showing off her bread made in the bustle oven (lower left)
– Geese passing through Old Nauvoo

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The Work Continues On

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September 2, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

For late August it has been rather hot here. It has been up to 100 degrees F, plus the humidity factor. I haven’t minded it, as I have been in air-conditioned buildings most of the time. However, Elder Campbell has had to work out in it. He comes home totally wet with perspiration! He has been working in carpentry, fixing up some of the houses, taking rotten wood out of windowsills and putting new in. He also worked on putting up walls for the new FM building.

On Monday after our shifts we were able to take a little more time to find where the Shurtliff and Phelps properties were in the 1840’s. We were able to walk right to them. Neither one are very far from our house. We have yet to drive up north to the Niota area where the Thatchers and the Babcocks had property, and down south to the Tioga or Yelrome area where the Hancocks lived. We took pictures of what we did find. Other ancestors who were here are James Holmes and his mother, Martha Barker Holmes. Apparently they didn’t have property in Nauvoo.

All week I have been working on the choir music so as to be ready for the first choir practice. A lot of people are interested, so it should be a good choir once we get started. The music will be fun. I have been nervous about it, but shouldn’t be. People here are very forgiving and do not nitpick over things in this mission, as a rule. This is as close to a Zion community as I have ever lived in, right here in Nauvoo. You rarely hear an unkind word by anyone.

The sites haven’t been very busy these last several days. While we are waiting for visitors we read, visit, and knit or crochet. Some of the sites have sewing machines in them where sisters work on humanitarian projects. I have started a new crocheted blanket pattern. I learned it from Sister Grygla, who just finished her mission with her husband and went home on Monday.

On Thursday President and Sister Gilliland substituted for Elder and Sister Ward on their part in “Rendezvous,” as Sister Ward was ill. They sang a beautiful duet and did it on short notice. We have a new “Rendezvous” director, who is doing a good job. She is a lot more particular about details, though, which is a bit frustrating for some. In the long run it will make our show better.

On Friday we had our monthly mission breakfast, where we said our official good-byes to more missionaries going home. There are 38 missionaries leaving right away. Then we went to the dentist in Hamilton, about 12 miles south of here. Happily, we didn’t have any cavities. We hurried back so Elder Campbell could finish his shift with his carpentry buddies, Elder Gillespie and Elder Mendenhall. By the time he got there they had already quit for the day because of the heat.

Well, that is all for the week. The work continues on. Visitors continue to come here, and the missionaries continue to teach and testify of the great sacrifices that the early Saints made for the gospel of Jesus Christ. The great legacy of Old Nauvoo continues on.

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

-Elder Campbell in front of the graves of Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma Smith (above)
-Site of Shurtliff property
-Sister Campbell in front of Shurtliff property
-Site of Phelps property
-Another portion of the Phelps property
-Sister Campbell in front of the Phelps property
-Elder Campbell in front of the Phelps property
-Sister Campbell in same spot
-Elder Campbell near where Lucy and Joseph Smith Sr. are buried

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