One of the missionaries here is an artist/author. Her name is Sister Meacham. She has published several children's books. For Christmas this year, she gave each of a print of this picture. For her, it represents the gifts that we give to the Savior. Each of us has something that is uniquely our talent that we can share with others. That is the gift we can give to Him. He gave us the gift to serve others, and if we use it, we have given the very best we can give.
I feel so blessed that I am here where so many sacrificed so much. I am so thankful to be a missionary and am allowed to represent the Lord, Jesus Christ in this portion of the vinyard.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
So many kind and thoughtful people have shared Christmas with me. The decorations on the tree are from missionaries here in Nauvoo. The gifts around Snoopy and Snoopy are gifts from friends and family. I haven't opened everything yet because I wanted to have something to open on Christmas. What a blessed woman I am!!! Thank you to all who remembered me with cards and pictures and gifts and emails. I love you all. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I keep saying Nauvoo is a foreign mission because most of my experiences are foreign to what I remember missionary work being. One such thing is the TV?DVD combo you see. But the Christmas is the Charlie Brown and the nativity. When my companion came in and saw all this, she said, "I love living with a kid". She couldn't have said anything more significant to me. I'm not a grown up, and I'm proud of it. If you haven't read The Little Prince that President Uchtdorf quoted in the Christmas broadcast, you won't understand, but to me, being called a grown up is an insult, so she gave me a great compliment.
The leaf on the table folds us, so that's where we eat. But this is the scene you would see as you walked in to the front door of our home. My companion found the tree that opens up to a nativity. I ordered the pryamida. I couldn't stand not having one. It wouldn't be Christmas for me without one. I made the stockings one night while my companion was at Rendevous at Old Nauvoo. She was very surprised to find them when she got home. Thanks to some very kind people sending some things and money, there will be things to fill the stockings on Christmas Eve. It might not be such a surprise to Geilmann, but I'm sure Longhurst has no idea what's coming.
The picture on the wall is from Mongolia. It represents the rest of the Christmas. The "Tree of Life" is there (although the Mongolians don't see it that way). If you look closely, you can see animals stacked on each other helping one another reach the "fruit" of the tree. That's what this is all about. There are so many people who help me along the way. You will see some of my pictures. I have another wall that I have received for Christmas, but there's a lot of stuff there, so I didn't take that picture. You'll see my family, my mission family, my stake family, and my love of Germany that will ever be with me. You'll also see a "walking stick" made by one of the elders in the mission. He went out and found walking sticks for everyone in the mission, whittled away some of the impure parts and let us each choose one. There are so many kind people!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This has been a very slow week as far as visitors to Nauvoo is concerned. We have had very few people here. But we were blessed to have some people today. I had convinced myself it would be another day of much reading. Instead, we had three tours back to back and I was allowed to conduct all three. It's amazing what a little bit missionary work can do for a missionary's belief in the work and hope for people to receive the gospel. I believe!!!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Okay, I'll admit it, I'm not a great photographer. They sang and read the Christmas Story. It was nice. But the thing I want to point out is the couple who is in the shadows. This is John and Peggy Ricks, with whom I served in the Pageant. They were out casting for next year. They had looked all over town for me, and I came here just when they were here. The thing that meant the most is that they know I'm a capable individual, and they love me, as me. What a blessing to have good friends.
This story got to me. It was about an 11 year old boy whose mother died and he went to live with his aunt, who didn't love him, just took him in out of duty. But he had a teacher who loved him. He stayed around every night and helped out. For the week before Christmas he didn't stay. She wondered what the problem was and went to visit with him and he said, "I'm just busy." But the day before Christmas vacation, he waited around and then handed her a box. She opened it and it was "empty". He told her it was filled with love and love is the best gift. He told her he would always love her and when she looked at that box, he hoped she would remember that.
The print shop is where most of the printing in Nauvoo was done. This one was managed by John Taylor, whose home was right next door. The Christmas walk included The Night Before Christmas. The brother started to skip a line and without thinking, I corrected him. I read this to too many kids too many times, I guess.
This is the first stop we made on the Christmas Walk. Each year the missionaries host a walk through some of the sites and tell stories about Christmas in Nauvoo. This was a very touching one about a family who learned why the Atonement is really the best gift. You will notice the sister is out of focus because I wanted to get the pyramida. Even the early Saints in Nauvoo knew class when they saw it.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
This is taken through the fog from the window in the cultural hall. I love that temple so much. The other day I had the opportunity to do work for one of my relatives. For the first time I felt connected to my family in Nauvoo. It was such a great blessing.
This was my companion from the MTC. Sister Steadman and I have been "chosen" to be the greeters of the Rendevous at Old Nauvoo. Actually, we were the only ones left without a part, and so that's what we were given. I love the part, however. We get to go around and talk to people before the show. Then we introduce the show, give the opening prayer and actually have a duet to begin it. This is my stage dress. I told the ladies here that I have never been dressed so well in my life. This is the first custom made dress I have ever owned in my life.
My whole life I have been called a real turkey. I have irrevocable proof that I am. I participated in the Nauvoo Mission turkey gobbling contest. At first, I was the only woman, and finally some other sisters decided to participate. I think I'm a real shock to this mission. The couple that was responsible made these cookies and those of us who participated, got one. Embellishing from Much Ado About Nothing, "Let it be known that I am a turkey!"
This is one of my favorite places in Nauvoo. On this very floor, the prophet, Joseph Smith, drew out the map of the Great Basin and the route west for Brigham Young. Levi Hancock then copied it onto paper and that was the map that Brigham Young took west with him in the migration of the Saints. Up top is where the Nauvoo Brass Band would have played when this was used as a ballroom. This was also used as the Masonic Hall of Nauvoo. There is such a special spirit in this room. I love going there even if it means climbing three flights of very steep stairs. This is also the room from which you can get the best shot of the Nauvoo Temple. I think of Joseph Smith drawing out that map and then looking at the temple knowing that he would not see its completion or the westward migration. I know he's a prophet!
Just for John, I got this picture taken just before preparation meeting of me pounding the pulpit in the Seventies Hall. I had the chance to give the spiritual thought for prep meeting. I chose to speak on testimony and how the Book of Mormon affects the development of a testimony. I think Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball would have been proud.
I know it doesn't look very impressive, but I did the decorations for the stage. We are given very specific guidelines and I was responsible for getting the Cultural Hall decorated for Christmas. You can see my scriptures sittingon the floor in front of the desk. This is where we perform Rendevous at Old Nauvoo each night, but during the day we give tours of the hall.