Monday, February 29, 2016

Spring Around the Corner!

Look what I found at the next shop down from where I am working today! The tree is at the side of the Print Shop, and the crocuses are at the John Taylor Home! It will be 65 degrees today, but 35 tomorrow with snow! Oh well. That's spring, isn't it? Today I'm eating my lunch outside! Have a great week. Love you!

Out on the Wagon. 2-29-16

After the wagon tour the kids love to pet the horses. I did too! These horses are named Bill and Bob and weigh about one ton each. It may be beautiful outside, but there's still a biting breeze down by the river. That's why I have my coat on!

Wagon Tour Narrator 2-29-16

Speaking of debuts, I had mine on the wagon Saturday. The wagons are drawn by horses. The tour takes about an hour, and we see almost all the sites in Old Nauvoo. The narrator talks almost constantly - that's me! Here you can see me with my headphone on, ready to start.

The Beautiful Mississippi. 2-29-16

What a beautiful time of year as the world around us is transitioning from winter to spring. Here's the Mississippi River at the end of the Trail of Hope where the Saints crossed the river into Iowa. You can see the last of the ice chunks glimmering in the sunshine and the reflection of the clouds in the water.

Rendezvous Debut

Some fun things happened this week. The Rendezvous director asked me to coach her and her husband in a vignette they are doing for Rendezvous. It was so much fun for me! They loved it and did really well on their debut performance Thursday. Here they are with a young visitor.

I also got called to be the site leader for the Brigham Young Home. What a special place to work a little more often!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Temple View from Montrose. 2-21-16

For my P-Day Friday I went to Montrose, which is straight across the river from Nauvoo. However, you have to drive to Keokuk or Ft Madison to cross the Mississippi and then drive back to Montrose, which takes about 45 minutes.

Montrose is where Jane Johnston Black told the mobs the saints had power to resurrect, in order to save her firearms (see story on last week's post). You can see the Nauvoo Temple straight across the river. Seagulls were flying everyplace. There is a beautiful gazebo by the landing. What a challenge for the saints in 1846 to leave the Temple, their homes, and most of their belongings behind. I am deeply grateful for their faith and sacrifice for all of us.

Dinner & Wagon Tours. 2-21-16

Some fun events took place this week. There were no Rendezvous performances because the Cultural Hall floor was being refinished. So most of the cast went to eat at a restaurant called The Pink, about 30 minutes away. The food was good, but I enjoyed the company most of all!

I was also trained to give wagon tours of Old Nauvoo. It was really fun! As you can see, my first day out was really cold! The wagons are drawn by horses, and the tour lasts about an hour, during which the narrator talks almost continuously. It's a great chance to share our convictions regarding the temple, the Latter-day Saints, and living prophets. I'll try to include a picture of the wagon and horses next week.

Spring Around the Corner 2-21-16

Hi Everyone. Last week the temperatures were about 3 with windchill. Yesterday it was over 60 degrees with blue sunny skies and no wind. It was beautiful! Today is back to colder weather, but not as cold as it has been. The tulips are starting to come up. Spring really is coming!

My companion Sister May returned from the Las Vegas area (Overton). Things went well for the funeral of her son. The family was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love for him - Brent May, a high school coach and teacher.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day! 2-14-16

Saturday night the missionaries had a Valentine's dance and party. The dance was held on the third floor of the old Cultural Hall - on the original dance floor where Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Parley P Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, and all the others danced and held parties. We even had a small live band. It was so much fun!

I performed Lorena Normandeau's "Tenderly, Tenderly" with a small group of missionaries at the end, and it turned out really nice. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I love you!

All Is Well. 2-14-16

We had one really sad event this week. The son of my companion, Sister Elma Jean May, passed away Monday night. He was 45 and had a lot of health challenges, but he seemed to be doing better. Then he unexpectedly he had a heart attack and died. She immediately flew back to Las Vegas to help her family and attend the funeral. She will return later this week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jane Johnston Black #3. 2-7-16

"As we were preparing to leave Montrose, I was taking up the fire arms I had buried, when some of the mob showed up again and asked me what I was doing. I told them the saints had power to resurrect and that's what I was doing. 'Oh,' said they, 'She's just a crazy old Irish woman. Let's go.'" Our fire arms were again preserved.

Throughout my life I was blessed to care for those in need. After the martyrdom President John Taylor sent for me to care for his wounds after the bullets were removed and would not permit a doctor to see him until I arrived. I later asked him why he had sent for me. He said, "Because I knew there was none better at such a job, and wanted you to stand at the morning of the resurrection and testify to the Lord against the assassins who murdered the Prophet and his brother Hyrum and attempted my life."

From the moment I first heard the Restored Gospel, I have rejoiced in its message above the world! It truly is the most important thing in my life – the good tidings of great joy!

THE END. - Have a happy week!

Jane Johnston Black #2. 2-7-16

I was called and set apart by the Prophet Joseph Smith to give aid to those who were ill. I stayed after the main exodus of the Saints and gave active support to the defenders of Nauvoo during the mobbings and administered aid to the men who were injured. I was frequently the only woman on the scene of battle. During my life I delivered over 3,000 babies and never lost a mother or baby, a direct fulfillment of Brother Joseph's blessing upon me.

We left Nauvoo with the poorest of the Saints in September 1846, while my husband was in Canada to draw his yearly pension. When we were encamped along the river, "a posse of the mob rode up, surrounded our wagons, and demanded our fire arms. I had a pistol which I drew out and replied, 'Captain, I am serving notice on you that I intend on using this pistol before handing it over. Do you still want it?'" They wisely decided they didn't!

"I borrowed a tent from Elder Johnston and had women who were being delivered of child put in it. It was a terrible night, and the things that took place tried the hearts and souls of the strongest. I was the midwife and delivered 9 babies the first night. There were a great many sick, and we had nothing to eat except one-half bushel of corn meal and a half-dozen cucumbers…until the Lord sent quails amongst us, which supplied our needs. They were so tame some of them would light on the beds of the sick, and they could reach out their hands and catch them. We had nothing to sweeten anything until the Lord sent honey dew, which we gathered from the bushes until we got all the sweets we wanted."

Jane Johnston Black #1 2-7-16


My name is Jane Johnston Black. I was born about the same time as the Prophet Joseph Smith, the year 1801 in Lisburn, Ireland. Like the Prophet, I have always loved religion and gladly assisted my father, who was a circuit preacher for the Wesleyan Methodist Church. When my parents died, our parish asked me to become the new pastor, at age 16. I served them for four years.

After my marriage to William Y Black we moved to Manchester, England. There we first heard the preaching of Elders Joseph Fielding and William Clayton. We readily accepted their message, as it corresponded with the teachings of Christ and His apostles in the Bible. "It was glad tidings and great joy to my husband and me," and we were baptized in January 1839 by William Clayton.

A year later I traveled with our children to Nauvoo, while my husband served the first mission to Ireland – with John Taylor. "Soon after we sailed from Liverpool we encountered a great storm that threatened our destruction. I gathered my boys into the berth, and after prayer William spoke in tongues, which I interpreted. We were exhorted to be of good cheer, for we would not be destroyed." When we arrived in Nauvoo "I saw and heard the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I can truly testify that he was a Prophet of God."

Jane Johnston Black

Sunday night we had a "sociable" ( Nauvoo's equivalent of a fireside) where 20 missionaries each presented a story of one of their ancestors who lived in Nauvoo.

I presented Jane Johnston Black, my third-great grandmother on Grampa's side. I discovered that she was a lot like me in many ways! I am going to try posting her story on this blog in 3 sections. I don't know whether it will work, so we'll see.

There are plaques all along the Trail of Hope to the Mississippi River. Jane Johnston Black's quote is on the last one.

Exodus from Nauvoo 2-7-16

These are the three ancestors I walked for: Jane Johnston Black, Hiram Dayton, and Isaac Morley. There's still a lot of ice along the river bank.

Exodus Re-enactment 2-7-15

We all walked along Main Street and all the way to the Mississippi along the Trail of Hope. There were handcarts, horse and oxen-drawn wagons, people carrying flags representing the countries where immigrants had come from to Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion, and many walkers. What a powerful way to remember the sacrifice of the early Saints who left almost everything to head West.

Exodus Commemoration 2-7-16

What an exciting week! February 5-7 has been the Exodus Commemoration, honoring the Saints crossing the Mississippi on their journey to the West. The original exodus began February 4, 1846 and extended clear till September when the last of the Saints were forced out at gunpoint.

There have been many presentations and banquets this week, with visitors from all over the country. Saturday morning was the re-enactment, and it was really powerful. I was on the program and presented a reading with two other elders.