Christmas Well-Wishes

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December 29, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Elder Campbell and I are sitting here at the Lyon Drug on a cold and blistery December 29, waiting for visitors to come. We are both working on the lessons that we have been asked to give in two weeks in Relief Society and Priesthood meeting.

The week was nice. On Sunday we went Christmas caroling as a district, a mission picture on the temple steps, a mission bread and soup supper, all followed by a Christmas social at President Gilliland’s home. We attended a Christmas Eve dinner and party at Elder and Sister Jones’ home, and an elegant Christmas dinner for the entire mission on Christmas Day. In spite of the extremely cold weather the festivities were enjoyed by all. At Jones, I and another sister played Christmas music on the violin and piano while the others sang. Prior to the mission Christmas Day dinner I played in a string quartet for atmosphere music. People seemed to appreciate it, even though we wanted to do it because we enjoy playing together. We are going to continue to get together one morning each week just for fun.

This week I did my final duet with Sister May on the song, “Farewell, Nauvoo.” Elder and Sister May finished their mission and have now gone home. I will miss doing that part, but I won’t miss the stress of it. It was fun to have that opportunity.

On Friday while serving in the Family Living Center, two of the elders had their musical instruments, so I went back home to get mine. We played a few songs together in between guests. There were actually a lot of guests that day, people here during Christmas break. It was nice to actually give tours to people. Other than that, we work on humanitarian projects in the sites, or on our own projects.

Elder Campbell continues to work on some of the housing, finishing up the inside of the remodel house. He also did some repair work on some of the temple missionary housing. His ankle is healing up, as well as an eczema that he developed on his arms. He is getting better. We are both in good health.

We send our love to you, and appreciate all of your Christmas well-wishes this season.

Happy New Year to all!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

P.S. Here is a closing thought, something that came into my mind yesterday as I was leaving the temple. No matter what your background, where your are from, where you have been, what you have done, who your parents are, what they did, or what they taught you– whatever your past is should not limit you as to what you can become because you are a child of a loving Heavenly Father. You have unlimited potential to become like Him. The decision is yours. It’s up to you.

– Serving in Lyon Drug on Sunday

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Christmas is in air in Old Nauvoo

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December 22, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas to you all! Christmas is right around the corner, and it really feels like it! All of Nauvoo have put up their Christmas decorations, we had our Christmas Walk in Old Nauvoo, we did our Christmas shopping and letter writing, we presented a production of the “Messiah,” we had a fairly good snow storm last night, and today we had a special Christmas program in Sacrament meeting. Christmas is really in the air! The only thing missing is all of you! We are thinking about you. We are glad for all of our missionary friends to share this special time with.

Today the choir sang three musical numbers, sandwiched between talks by President and Sister Gilliland. President Gilliland talked about Jesus, who was the oldest spirit child of our Heavenly Father, who earned the right to hold a place in the godhead, and to be our Savior. He chose to come to the earth to atone or make payment for our sins. As we repent through Christ we can become worthy of eternal glory and be heirs of all that the Father has. Christ came into the world to not only show us the way back to Heavenly Father, but to provide the way. His is a totally unselfish example of sacrifice. He left His holy station in Heaven to come to the earth and inherit a lowly manger.

We sang the song, “Shine for Me Again, Star of Bethlehem.” Sister Gilliland used the words of the song to compare the day of Christ’s birth with today. The star led the way to Bethlehem. The angels beckoned the shepherds to go and find Him. Today missionaries and members alike are extending the invitation to their friends to seek after the Savior, to study the Bible and the Book of Mormon, “to go and find Him.” Towards the end of the song the shepherd boy contemplates:

But life goes on years beyond one brief night of my youth.
Time clouds my vision of truth.
And though I stumble and fall, I can hear someone call,
“Do Not despair, your star is still there.”

That Christmas night, so long ago, has filled my life with light because I know
That He lives now, as He did then, that night in Bethlehem,
Whose love never ends,
Shine for me again,
Star of Bethlehem.

President Gilliland concluded with “He lifts us from our fallen state so that we can come before God. We study and work so that we can grow up like Him, to follow the Savior and to love one another.”

Elder Campbell would like to add a quote from the book, The Infinite Atonement, by Tad R. Callister.
In A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens addresses the importance of fulfilling promises, as seen in his portrayal of Scrooge. After a life of parsimony, Scrooge’s heart is finally softened by the spirit of Christmas. He promises Bob Cratchit a raise; he promises to assist Cratchit’s struggling family—in fact, he promises to begin that very afternoon. And then this magnificent tribute to Scrooge: “[He] was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more.” In such a spirit the Savior did it all; he kept his word; he performed an infinite atonement.
May we all strive to take advantage of this priceless gift of the atonement that our Savior gave to us.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Love,
Elder and Sister Campbell
Your parents, grandparents, son and daughter, brother and sister, aunt and uncle, cousins, and friends in Old Nauvoo.

– Visitor’s Center Nativity
– Live Nativity scene (above)
– Sister Campbell as a part of the music for the Live Nativity

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Christmas with Our Savior in Mind

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December 15, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Here it is, Sunday again. We are in the John Taylor home waiting for visitors to come. Very few visitors are in town right now, so we have brought things to do while we wait. Right now Elder Campbell is taking pictures of the cute decorations here, while I write our letter.

Today the mission choir practice went really well. It was our last practice before we sing next week, so everyone was intent on getting their parts right. This has caused a little “panic” in the rehearsal in the past, which I recognized today as we were practicing. Since I was not nervous about their getting it down, I did not let it bother me and just kept the rehearsal going smoothly as I had planned. They got their parts ironed out and everything is in readiness! We will sing three songs for a special Sacrament meeting program next week.

Friday was the community of Nauvoo production of the Messiah. A lot of people traveled from neighboring towns to participate. The soloists and several of the orchestra members came in at the last rehearsal to add depth to the small-town orchestra. I was privileged to play 1st violin in the orchestra. It was held in a Catholic cathedral, and the sound was wonderful! The choir did really well, and the orchestra, too, for that matter. I was glad I was able to participate and meet some nice people.

On Wednesday Elder Campbell sprained his ankle at work, so he has been babying that for the past few days. It is improving and he is able to walk on it, so that is good. He and the rest of carpentry crew are working hard to put up the new walls in the home down by the Mississippi.

On Wednesday evening we were invited over to Elder and Sister Gneiting’s home to play Christmas music. I took my violin and guitar. Elder Pixlar took his clarinet, Elder Taye his mandolin and recorder, Elder Ballard his harmonica, Elder Bennion his saxophone, and Elder Fullenbach his guitar. Everyone brought their companions. A few other couples came, too. Sister Gneiting played the piano. She picked out some Christmas songs from her book, and we played and sang. It was fun, because everyone could participate. Most of the time we didn’t have the music, and just played by ear. I did most of it on the violin and enjoyed making up my own part. The final song was “Birthday of a King.” Most people didn’t know it, so since I knew it well I stood up and played it as a solo. Afterwards we visited and ate.

Sister Mendenhall is still at the hospital in Iowa City. She is at the burn center and will be there for a while. She is in a lot of pain, and so is heavily sedated, but well cared for. We hope to travel there to see her next week-end. We were going with Elder and Sister Gillespie on preparation day, but because of a big snow storm our trip was postponed.

We send our love and well-wishes, that you will not be stressed out with too many holiday preparations. May you be able to prepare for Christmas with our Savior in mind. What would He do in preparation for this Christmas celebration?

Elder Campbell would like me to add a quote by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

May we take time this Christmas season to renew our covenants to follow the Savior and to do His will, just as He did the will of our Heavenly Father.

We can’t fully understand the meaning of Christmas unless we understand the meaning of the Savior’s life, Atonement, and Resurrection.”

We send our love with this letter,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Carpenters at the remodel home by the Mississippi
– #1 carpenter
– Sister Campbell in orchestra in Cathedral
– Working on letter in waiting area of John Taylor hom
– Nativity in John Taylor home
– John Taylor home
– After the snow storm

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Christmas in Old Nauvoo

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December 8, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

We spent the first part of the week getting ready for the annual “Christmas in Old Nauvoo,” besides our regular assignments. Elder Campbell worked with other elders putting up new walls at the home they are remodeling. I attended practices after or before regular shift hours. On Wednesday I had a special assignment to help make sock puppets for next summers’ Country Fair. The week turned cold, down into single digits.

The day of our Christmas in Old Nauvoo, December 6, came with an early morning practice. Elder Campbell went off to “work.” Later in the afternoon he and Elder Nuttall began setting up the fire barrels. They posted them around the sites for the carolers to sing around in order to keep warm.

The festivities started at 6 p.m. in the visitors’ center with a tree-lighting program. Several high school performing groups came, and a lot of people came to hear them. I played a number in a string quartet consisting of myself, new Sister Jones on the violin, Sister Germer on the viola, and Elder Germer on the string bass. It was a very nice program, especially when the tree lights came on. Elder Campbell couldn’t attend, because he was getting the five fire barrels lit.

After that I went to the Cultural Hall (not the gym but the place where we hold “Rendezvous”) for the live Nativity. It was beautifully done. I was unable to get any pictures, since I had to keep track of my violin, costume, music, etc. It all turned out very nice. (I just found out that President and Sister Gilliland want us to present it again next Sunday, so maybe a picture then.)

Several things were taking place simultaneously—stories about various Christmas carols in some of the sites, and music and food in the Family Living Center. I went to the Family Living Center for the last hour to play in the harmonica-mandolin/recorder-guitar-piano combo. For the last part of the program three elders who all have played in dance bands previously, played some dance band/Christmas music for us. Elder Germer played the piano, Elder Pixler played the clarinet, and Elder Bennion played the saxophone. It was wonderful! Elder Campbell didn’t get in on it until the very end. He spent the entire time keeping those fire barrels going.

It was a very successful evening. Many people attended and seemed to have a wonderful time. One sister, Sister Mendenhall, was seriously burned, however. Her dress caught on fire from a fire barrel. She was taken to the emergency room at the hospital in Fort Madison. She is now in the burn center in Iowa City for 2nd and 3rd degree burns. We are all upset about it, and have her in our prayers constantly. She has relayed the message through President Gilliland that she has felt our prayers. She also received a Priesthood blessing, and very likely more than one. We do not know how soon she will be released from the hospital to go home. We had rather somber meetings today. She was mentioned in every prayer.

So we had a very successful event, but also a very stressful, difficult, and sad one. She will be fine, but it will take a lot of time for her to heal.

Elder Campbell would like to add a quote by President Monson.

To those within the sound of my voice who are struggling with challenges and difficulties large and small, prayer is the provider of spiritual strength; it is the passport to peace. Prayer is the means by which we approach our Father in Heaven, who loves us. Speak to Him in prayer and then listen for the answer. Miracles are wrought through prayer. (Ensign, May 2009)

We pray for you all every day!

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Elder Campbell working on the remodel (on ladder)
– Sister Campbell in string quartet
– Tree all lit up in Visitors’ Center
– Sock puppets made by Sister Campbell
– Sister Campbell singing in Rendezvous

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The Most Important Things

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December 1, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Today is a good day. After church and choir practice we hurried over to the brick yard to greet guests who are passing through this Sabbath Day. There are a few more people in town because of the Thanksgiving holiday. We had a nice Thanksgiving Day. One of our fellow missionaries, Sister Mayne, organized a wonderful meal for about 200 people. Everyone was assigned something to bring. The temple missionaries cooked the turkeys. Hams were also cooked.

The Thanksgiving banquet began with an opening song sung by the mission choir. Elder Mayne liked the song we did last week so well that he wanted to hear it again. So that led to our invitation to sing it on Thanksgiving Day. We had a wonderful dinner.

Afterward a young couple came up and talked to us. It was Autumn Bolingbroke Lindholm and her husband and 3 children. They were visiting his parents who are temple missionaries. She was a year older than Evelyn and played ball with her at Soda Springs High School. It was fun to visit with them.

This Thanksgiving time gives us the opportunity to reflect on things that we are most grateful for. Being on a mission definitely helps us to put that into perspective. Of course, there are many things I am thankful for. But being out here helps me realize that the things that really matter are faith in and love for Jesus Christ, faithfullness in living the commandments, and family and friends. Yes, you all are very important to us, and you are who we are thankful for! Everything that Heavenly Father has given us is wonderful. But these are the most important things to us.

We actually had two Thanksgiving dinners this week. The first one was on Wednesday at noon for all of the FM workers and employees and their families. The food was great and the company was good. Even better, I had been serving in FM (facilities management) that day and so was able to wear jeans for the dinner. Elder Campbell, too. 🙂

In Preach My Gospel this week we studied about the Book of Mormon and how it works hand and hand with the Bible. For example, the Bible states that we are “offspring of God,” (Acts 17:29) Similarily, in the Book of Mormon we read that “The Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited, and he hath created his children that they should possess it.” (1 Nephi 17:36)

Both books testify of Jesus Christ. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31) The Book of Mormon likewise testifies of Christ. “Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye sahll receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another?…And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.” (2 Nephi 29:8)

We have been enjoying “Preach My Gospel.” It is a well-written book that helps us study in depth various gospel topics.

Sorry this letter is late. Even though I wrote this on Sunday, I have hardly had a chance to send it off. There is a lot going on this week, which I will tell you all about next Sunday.

We send our love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Elder and Sister at the Thanksgiving Banquet
– In front of the Visitors’ Center Christmas Tree (above)

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