Halloween in Nauvoo

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October 27, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

This week we spent a bit of time getting ready for Halloween in Nauvoo. On Monday several sisters got together to fill Halloween sacks full of candy. About 1200 or so bags were filled in all. The missionaries donated the candy. On Friday we went to a Facility Management building to help carve pumpkins. Some people drew faces on the pumpkins, and missionaries and townsfolk carved them, 500 of them.

Elder Campbell and I practiced with the missionary Crazy Band three nights in a row. Then last night (Saturday) the Crazy Band piled on the carriage and played and sang, “You Are My Sunshine,” “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” and other old favorites. The horse drawn carriage was in the parade down jack-o-lantern-lined Mulholland Street. People came from neighboring villages to take part in the festivities. Stores were open for the evening. Clubs and civic groups sold concessions on the street. Children came in costume to trick-or-treat at the various businesses.

On Thursday afternoon Elder Campbell took a sour dough bread making class from Elder Bogaski. He brought home two delicious loaves of sour dough bread, which we have been enjoying. Yesterday a young lady on the street spoke to Elder Campbell, having recognized him from his part in “Rendezvous” the night before. She said, “You did a good job!” That was the first compliment he had received from a visitor. A little later another person said much the same thing to him. It was like our director told us, that you think no one will notice you, especially if you stand at the back of the stage. But you never know the influence you may have on others. You don’t think you will make any difference. But someone in particular will see you in the show and it will make an impression on them. That is proving to be true.

This week Elder Campbell worked on putting windows in a house and doing more siding on another house. He also helped build a door for the entrance into a tornado shelter.

One day this week as my companion and I were preparing for visitors to come into the Lucy Mack Smith home, Sister Gilliland dropped by. She coached us on our tour, suggesting that we share the tour as the single sisters do, trading back and forth every few sentences or so. She had us practice, with her as the visitor. It went pretty well. She gave a few more suggestions and then had to leave. We worked on those suggestions, and we actually did it! This is the ideal way to give a tour, but until now I haven’t been able to achieve it. I am pretty excited!

The choir sang again today in Sacrament Meeting. I was very pleased with their performance. They followed me very well and were right on. It is fun to direct the choir, but stressful, as I have to constantly be preparing for the next rehearsal. It is good for me.

We hope you all have a great week. We love you all very much! You are all in our prayers continually!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Sister Campbell planting tulip bulbs in the Women’s Gardens
– Elder Campbell helping in the Women’s Gardens
– Carving pumpkin
– Sister Campbell with work completed
– Elder Campbell with carving project
– A trailer full of carved pumpkins
– On the crazy band wagon
– Crazy band horse-drawn wagon
– Petting the horses
– Sister and Elder Campbell in a photo shoot
-Jack-0-Lanterns

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It was simple but profound

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October 20, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

All in all we had a pretty good week. We are both very involved in several parts in the show, “Rendezvous.” Since quite a few cast members have gone home it left a lot of gaps to be filled. While I think most of the cast members are glad to have more to do in the show, it also makes it more confusing and we have to be more on our toes. Even though we are double cast on everything, Sister May and I have been singing the duet, “Farewell Nauvoo,” every show until another couple can get ready to do it. The duet is normally done by a husband and wife team, but since Elder May doesn’t sing, another sister has been doing the duet with Sister May for several months. I am excited that I get to do it for a while.

We were surprised the other day when our district leader, Elder Taylor, stopped by. We thought he was coming to bring us a new battery for our laptop. He had said he would order one for us. But when he tried to do it he had a feeling that he shouldn’t, so he put it off for the next day. The next day his son called to say that the company they co-own was given two laptops as a promotion, one for each of them. Elder and Sister Taylor had recently purchased new laptops and didn’t need one, so they decided to give theirs to us. We were flabbergasted and didn’t quite know what to say! It was a very nice and thoughtful gift, for which we are now indebted to them. It is a Dell Inspiron windows 7, and very nice. Now we have the built-in camera. The speakers are much louder than our old one, and best of all, it doesn’t shut off when we stream conference or do video chats! (We haven’t tried a video chat, but will tonight.) Today we have it with us in the Pendelton Log School so that I can write to you while we are waiting for visitors. We have only had one tour so far.

Choir practice went well. It was a little disjointed, as the best laid plans often don’t work out, but the singers did well. They are catching on to the parts quite fast. For Thanksgiving we are working on a gorgeous number called “I Give All Thanks to Thee,” by Gerald N. Lund. We have also started our Christmas music. It is really fun to be the director. I feel really blessed to have the calling.

This week Elder Campbell finished redoing a porch. They mended it, supported it, and sided it. They also put new windows in it.

I served in the sewing room, which was a nice change. I made a site apron for one of the sister missionaries. On Thursday I was in the Land and Record office. We were so busy that I hardly had time to do research. I met a lot of very nice people who were so excited to find information there about their ancestors.

On Friday I served in Carthage. I started right out giving tours by myself to large tour-bus groups of 38 to 40 people. I really enjoyed that, as I do best when I can give a tour by myself. When it was time to bear testimony at the end, I simply ended with my testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet, of the Book of Mormon, and of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Then I told them that Heavenly Father loves each one of them very much. After the tour a woman who had been signing for her teen-age son thanked me for the tour. She gave me a hug and said she could tell that her son felt close to Heavenly Father during the tour. She had been praying that he would, hoping that he would have a good experience from it that would help his testimony grow. I had been praying to know what to say.

It was simple but profound. That is how it works when you teach by the spirit. I am still an infant in that area, but working on it.

Well, that is all for now. We hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Silhouette of Joseph Smith in the Carthage Jail window from a painting. You can see it when the lighting is just right and it is cloudy outside.
– Elder Campbell picking persimmons
– Changing colors in Nauvoo
– Elder Campbell and a missionary horse (above)

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Hat on chest, tears streaming and thank you

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October 13, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been another good week. There are always ups and downs, but overall it has been a very good week. It has definitely cooled down, but is generally comfortable outside without even a jacket. The leaves are only beginning to turn, even though it is almost Halloween. The mission is getting ready for a big Halloween event in Nauvoo. Hundreds of children will be coming to a Trunk-or-Treat event, but more on that later.

Elder Campbell fixed fence and gates in various areas. He also helped shingle Elder and Sister Taylor’s home. The mission follows quite a schedule to keep all of the buildings and properties in repair.

I served in FM on Monday, pruning the bushes by the outdoor theater. It was thoroughly fun. I also served in several of the sites during the week. I do get frustrated sometimes because it seems that no matter who I serve with, my companion is better at knowing what to say than I. I always discuss the tour in advance with my companion, to take turns being the lead speaker, with the other reiterating or testifying additionally of what was said. Here is what I wrote in my journal about that.

My companion “always gave more no matter whose turn it was. I realized I didn’t want her to stop talking so much, as what she was saying was always good. I prayed about it diligently and in earnest while she took a group upstairs. The next tour when I testified ‘my tongue was loosed’ and I bore witness of the key message, that it was by hard work that the Seventies succeeded in completing their building, allowing us to tell the story now. I said the whole city of Nauvoo was built through hard work so that we could come back and see it and learn of the sacrifices they made for religious freedom.

“Then I said that we also have to work hard for our testimony through faith, prayer, and study. I said that we can and will gain a testimony if we work at it and persist.

“They were all listening, but one young lady, who had said she was trying to decide whether or not to serve a mission, was very intent on what I said. I thank God for answering my prayer and helping me in what to say today.”

Elder Campbell and I each débuted our new parts in Rendezvous. He as Brother Gailey, and I sang a duet with Elizabeth. We were both rather nervous, but we both did well and got several compliments afterwards.

Yesterday we went with Elder and Sister Stringham and Ed and Eunice Johnson to the 2013 Scenic Drive Festival in the villages of Van Buren County in SE Iowa. First we had lunch at an Amish farm. The Amish do not use electricity to do their cooking, lights, or heating, but do use propane. The food was excelllent. Amish children were seated at a picnic table outside eating. The girls wore white day caps. The boys wore tall beanie caps. They all wore old-fashioned clothing. Horse-drawn buggies were arriving to the big event.

We also went to an Amish furniture store. There were many clever and beautiful pieces of furniture and toys all made out of wood. In Bentonsport and Bonaparte we saw some brick homes similar to the period homes here. They were made by the Mormon pioneers as they passed through in 1846, probably to help pay their way West.

My favorite stop was a Mormon gravesite north of Milton, Iowa. It was only available to see during this festival. The man waiting for visitors asked if we were all Mormons. He said that he was a Methodist. He told us that it was a special place. The tour guide, also not a Mormon, was a historian and retired educator. He took us to the gravesite, about four-hundred yards away at a secluded spot in a wooded area.

He told us all about it, and then he told us about the sesquicentennial of the Mormon trek into Salt Lake City. He had been in charge of a big part of the trek, and was actually driving the lead wagon as they drove into the Salt Lake valley. The wagon train was the last part of a huge Pioneer Day parade honoring their 1847 arrival. I wondered why he was talking about this, thinking that it had little to do with those two souls who were buried there. But we all listened. It was something important to him. He said that the shout that went up as they drove into view was incredible. He hadn’t realized what he had taken part in until he saw an old man holding his hat on his chest, tears streaming down his face, saying, ”Thank you.”

I wondered why non-Mormons had an interest in that gravesite. Eunice told me that this was a part of their history. The Mormons coming through Iowa were a part of their history. Iowa became a state in December 1846, largely because of the population boost the Mormons gave them at that time.

Well, this letter is rather long, so I’d better close. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that a man can get nearer to God by abiding by the precepts in the Book of Mormon than by any other book!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

P.S. The mission choir sang in Sacrament Meeting today. They sang an arrangement of “If the Savior Stood Beside Me.” They did a beautiful job, and many people commented on it afterwards, saying how wonderful they sounded. Even the choir members were amazed at their sound. I believe that we had angels helping us!

– Eunice, Ed, Sister Campbell, Elder Stringham, Sister Stringham, tour guide (above)
– House that Elder Campbell helped shingle
– Historical spot where the Mormons crossed the Des Moines River
– Amish horse-drawn cart
– Amish getting out of horse-drawn cart
– Elder and Sister Campbell, Ed and Eunice Johnson, Sister and Elder Stringham on bridge to Bentonsport
– Sister Campbell with several sisters after pruning
– Elder and Sister Campbell at Mormon gravesite

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Becoming Like The Savior

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October 6, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

The next session of conference starts in 30 minutes, so I will be brief. We had a wonderful week, as it started with a visit from Paul and Whitney and four children! We had a blast visiting, touring the sites with them, and seeing all that there is to see in Old Nauvoo. We especially enjoyed time with the children, being amazed at how fast they are growing, and being reminded of how smart and well-behaved they are. My favorite thing was getting dropped off at a shop in Nauvoo while Paul and Whitney drove home to get ready to go to the temple. Grandpa (Elder Campbell) and I helped the kids pick out something to buy and then walked over to the Joseph and Hyrum monument and down the grassy slope to our home.

I took my preparation day on Wednesday, so was able to spend the whole day with them. After Elder Campbell got off his shift at 1 p.m. we all drove to Carthage and the jail. The next day was sad, as we said good-bye and they started their trip home.

Elder Campbell worked the week laying tiles in a home. He also built a roof for a well. I served in some of the usual sites, the last two being the John Taylor home and the Cultural Hall. While in the Cultural Hall I practiced with my companion, Sister Peterson, who plays the piano for choir. We also worked on the duet I will be singing soon, with Sister May.

Today we served in the Visitors’ Center during the opening session of conference. We were able to listen to part of the talks, but it was our job, along with another couple, to greet visitors as they came in. There were several people who came in to learn more about Old Nauvoo and to find out more about our church. Old Nauvoo is well-known around here for its historical as well as religious significance. People often do come here to find out what it is all about. Old Nauvoo is a great missionary tool.

We hope all is well for all of you. We hope that you are growing in your own knowledge of the Savior and developing the qualities he exemplified. I am finding that it is a life-time pursuit, one to ever be improving on.

We send our love,

Elder and Sister Campbell
-Truman, Max, Suzie, Elder Campbell, Paul, Whitney, Luke
-Sister Campbell with lineup for last scene of Rendezvous
-Learning at Carthage Jail
-In front of the Jail
-At the Joseph and Hyrum Monument
-Posing at the monument
-Posing at the monument
-Sister Gines, Sister Hughes, and Elder and Sister Campbell (our mock lesson missionaries)
-Dinner at Grandma’s
-Max after a carriage ride
-Learning at Carthage Jail

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