We Served Our Savior, Jesus Christ

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September 19, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

We left our mission with sadness mixed with joy. Elder Campbell wanted to drive back past our house one more time after we had turned in the key. Then we drove away to a new adventure, towards home after an 18-month mission.

On our way we took in some notable church history sites. We first drove to Adam-ondi-ahman, the place where Adam and Eve once dwelt. It is a peaceful and beautiful area. All of Missouri is beautiful and green. Our next historical site was Far West, Missouri. There a temple site has been dedicated. The four cornerstones were laid out in the early days of the church. The church was able to buy back the property, and a temple will one day be built there.

Next we went to Richmond, Missouri. This is where Joseph Smith and many others were held as prisoners for an extended period of time. The old jail is no longer standing, but there is a historical marker there. My ancestor, Morris Charles Phelps, was one of the prisoners held captive there.

Liberty Jail was our next stop, where Joseph and several others were transferred after Richmond. (Phelps was not moved from Richmond, but was retained there with two or three others.) After being in that cold cell in Liberty all winter the prisoners were allowed to escape. The officials realized that there was no evidence to hold them. (Morris Phelps and others escaped from the Richmond jail through the heroic efforts of his wife, Laura. But that is a story for another time.)

Our next stop was Independence, Missouri. We toured the visitors’ center and enjoyed learning about the Saints of that time. Independence was the first place the Mormons settled in Missouri. There is also a dedicated temple site there.

From Independence we drove through more beautiful country, past Kansas City and through the heart of Oklahoma; then on into Texas. We made our way to Hobbs, New Mexico, where we visited with Evelyn, Jason, and children. We were excited to learn of their expected new one in April!

Then we drove to the Phoenix valley. We visited with much family there. My father is in a care center, so we visited him there and my mother at their home in Tempe. We visited Kendra and Brandon and children in West Phoenix, and Elder Campbell’s mother in Scottsdale. We were able to visit with a good many of our brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, as well. It has been a good trip.

It has been especially rewarding to share our enthusiasm and love for the work that we were so fully involved in. We loved the people, the temple, the message, and the one for whom we served, even our Savior, Jesus Christ. We learned how to testify and how to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost as never before. We have grown so much in our testimony of the restored church of Jesus Christ. We know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. We know that he saw God, the father and his son, Jesus Christ. We know that they and other heavenly messengers taught him, an unlearned farm boy, and guided him in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. We want to share that message with everyone we meet!

We send our love to all of you. We hope to see you soon, if we didn’t catch you on our trip home.

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Last few days of work in Nauvoo
– Great sunset clouds
– At Far West, Mo
– Historical marker in Richmond, Mo
– At Richmond pioneer cemetery
– Tressa, Kenson, and Hailee Curtis
– Evelyn and Jason Curtis
– Ellie and Olivia
– Laura, Ellie, and Sam
– Ethan at school match
– Family gathering
– Josh, Brandon, Emma, Kacey
– Josh, Kacey, Ethan
– Kendra, Brandon, Ethan, Josh, Emma, Kacey
– Brandon, Kendra, Kathleen, Terry
– Adam-ondi-ahman
– Tressa, Evelyn, Jason, Hailee, and Kenson
– Terry, Ellen, Martha, Sam, and Grandma Burgoyne

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A Great Way to End Our Mission

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September 7, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

It is with somewhat of sadness that I write the last letter of our Illinois Nauvoo Mission. It has been a great mission! Yes, it has been hard. In fact, it has probably been the hardest thing either one of us has ever done. But it has been wonderful, and we are grateful for every minute of it.

Today was our last day in the Burlington Ward. We told our new friends there good-bye. Everywhere we turn we are saying good-bye to someone. Tonight will also be our last zone conference and mission slide show. (The slide show is a fun collection of slides from the mission during the past month.) Yesterday was our last time in the Nauvoo Temple.

Monday and Tuesday will be our last days to serve in the sites or Facilities Management. After a day of cleaning on Wednesday, we will be heading West.

During this mission we have grown in our testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We are strengthened in our knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, and in the power of the Holy Ghost. We hope to be better people for it, better citizens and neighbors and better members of the church.

On Friday we had dinner with President Gibbons and his wife, along with nine other couples. It was very nice and enjoyable. Today we had an interview with the president, our exit interview. For both events we were invited to tell of our feelings of our mission extemporaneously.

On Thursday we did our last “Rendezvous” show. It was quite fun. Everyone in the cast is special. Our “Rendezvous” director, Sister Taye, also did her last show, as she and Elder Taye are going home the same day we do. Several others from our cast, as well. About sixty of us are going home this week.

Monday was rather unusual. Our distant Tillotson cousins, Ezra Tillotson and his sister, Donna Norvel, came here from Troy, Missouri. They were anxious to meet us and to see some of Old Nauvoo. We arranged to have the day free so that we could spend the time with them.

We have common ancestors, John and Mary Tillotson. They joined the church in England at about the time the Saints were leaving Nauvoo. John died in England but Mary and the children immigrated to America with the Saints. They settled in St. Louis and did not go West immediately. Consequently, some of the children never did move West to join the Saints. Ezra and Donna’s ancestor, Ezra, stayed in the St. Louis area. His descendants were not raised in the church.

Ezra and Donna were very much interested in learning all about Nauvoo. We took them on a carriage ride and they got a little bit of history of the church in the Visitors’ Center. We took them to Carthage and a couple of other sites. Then they went to our “Rendezvous” show and saw our last performance as Noah and Sophia Packard. Hopefully they will want to come back and bring some of their family and friends.

It was a great way to end our mission. We will be able to keep in touch with them and all of the wonderful people we have met while here.

We look forward to seeing all of you and telling you more about our wonderful experiences here. We want you to know how much we love the Lord and are grateful for this marvelous opportunity we have had in serving a mission for Him.

Love,

Elder and Sister Campbell

– Ezra Tillotson, Donna Norvel, about 4th cousins with E/S Campbell (above)
– Donna and Ezra
– Sister Campbell with Donna and Ezra after Rendezvous
– A day at the sites when no visitors were around (remaining)

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