The Finishing School of Nauvoo


January 5, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Elder Campbell worked all week at what is called the Water House, which is on Water Street overlooking the Mississippi River. They insulated the home this week. He did much of that work himself. Towards the end of the week he helped put up sheet rock. When finished it will be a totally new house on the inside. He still works with Elder Gillespie and also two new elders, Elder Jones and Elder Thurston. Elder and Sister Mendenhall went home about a week ago. She was released from the hospital in Iowa City shortly after Christmas, where she was recovering from severe burn wounds. She made a miraculous recovery, for which we are all grateful.

I served this week in the visitors’ center greeting guests, in the Family Living Center working on the shawl loom, in the Scovil Bakery where we give each visitor a gingerbread cookie, and in the basement of the visitors’ center making about 1145 of those cookies. We are making them ahead for next summer. Surprisingly they taste just as good or even better after they have been frozen for a few months.

For New Years’ Eve we had a dinner and a movie with our MTC group. Then we all met in the Family Living Center for food, dancing, and entertainment by our own dance band, three previous dance band players who only met on this mission. They are very good at it and it was fun for everyone.

Yesterday, preparation day, was a quiet day of cleaning, study, and attending the temple. Then a storm came in and put down several inches of snow overnight. But no problem, we all made it to church, so far as I know.

In church one of the sisters, Sister Fullenbach, bore her testimony. From what she said I wrote in my study journal, “Am I making any difference in the things I am doing?” She talked about how little things can make a big difference. She quoted a scripture, D & C 64:33:

“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”

In her testimony Sister Murray called this the Finishing School of Nauvoo. We are not only here to teach other people, but we are here for the polishing of a“rough stone.” In other words, we are here in Nauvoo for the rough edges of our “natural man” nature to be polished off into a smooth and more perfected character. I see that happening to the missionaries around here. This is definitely somewhat of a Zion society.

Is not that what life in general is all about? Are we not all learning and developing as we go through life, getting the polishing, the growing, and the stretching and strengthening of our character? We get the most growth through difficult times and difficult things that we are called upon to do. We get the most stretching and strengthening through our extremities. It is up to us as to how we respond to such situations. That is where our character is truly tested. And when we fall short it is up to us to pick up the pieces and get going again. When we make mistakes we can repent and try again, starting a new slate. It’s never too late.

Well, that’s all for the week. We don’t have many visitors coming to Nauvoo, so we are working on humanitarian projects in the sites. There is plenty of work to keep us busy. I study my music for choir whenever I am near a piano, to be ready for the next rehearsal and the next time we sing.

We hope you have a wonderful week!


Elder and Sister Campbell

– The work on the Water House
– New Years’ Eve dance (above)
– Corn husk doll decorations in the Scovil Bakery
– Baking gingerbread cookies








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