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!
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