Thursday, March 27, 2014

First Week!

 Our Mission in Nauvoo

Well, we're into our mission now about three weeks, so it's about time we sent a picture or two proving we're really missionaries!

We very much enjoyed our experience in the MTC; it was a great preparatory training ground to get us ready for what we would be encountering here in Nauvoo.

Below are a few pictures we thought might be interesting to you.

As we enter the MTC to begin our mission:

Our first district in the MTC:

From the left: 
Elder and Sister Robinson going to the San Diego Mormon Battalion Visitors' Center
Elder and Sister Larson going to--you know where!!
Elder Vance (our afternoon instructor)
Elder and Sister Wright going to Brazil
Elder and Sister Tanner going to Argentina

Our instructors during our second week of the MTC:
Elder and Sister Morgan from Draper, Utah

Some of the Elders and Sisters in our Visitors' Center training session at the MTC

The car's all packed up--literally every nook and cranny!--and we're ready to head out for Nauvoo.

We finally made it here--and were we glad to be done traveling!

Here in Nauvoo we have been "blown away" with all that will be expected of us while we're here, but we're excited to get started. We have spent another week in training sessions specific to our duties. The mission leaders and other senior missionaries have been very welcoming and have made us feel very much a part of the Nauvoo mission experience.
But we have definitely learned that the next 18 months are going to be VERY busy!

Following are a few shots of our living quarters here. Hopefully they'll give you an idea of what "home life" will be like for the next little while.

Our apartment is in the back of the John Taylor home:

 Front view of John Taylor's home

Bedroom and closets


Living Room 1

Living Room 2


Basement, a.k.a. Laundry Room

Here is the group of missionary couples who entered the MTC with us and were also assigned to the Illinois Nauvoo Mission

As part of our orientation last week, the mission presidency took us out to see the Old Nauvoo Historic Cemetery, where several of the early saints or their children are buried. Jan and I hope to get out there to spend a little more time looking around once the weather warms up a bit.

Last Sunday evening we had a mission "sociable" (an Old Nauvoo term for "fireside") featuring Richard Benedict. For those of you who saw the movie "Ephraim's Rescue," you'll recognize him as the older gentleman at the beginning of the film who came and blessed the young mother who was sick in bed. He spoke to us for a few minutes, pointing out some of the lessons that could be learned from the movie, such as following promptings when you have to make decisions. We then watched the movie. After viewing the film, Brother Benedict answered questions from the group about the filming of the movie, some of the people either portrayed or acting in the movie. It was quite an enjoyable experience.

Richard Benedict

This week we actually began what we were sent here to do, i.e., Jan to serve as a site guide in many of the Old Nauvoo Historical Sites, and I to work as a teamster "carting" visitors around town or along the Mississippi River north of Nauvoo via horse-drawn wagons and carriages and giving them some facts about what they were seeing around them. (And, yes, I still have a lot of facts I still need to learn before my tours will be as informative as they should be! But I'm working on them!)

Jan in one of her "Nauvoo period" dresses and apron (that she made, incidentally)

Jerry in his teamster attire--minus the heavy coats still needed

Just in case you're wondering what the horses and wagons look like, this is one of the wagons and teams. There are 18 horses in the string right now, but one more pair will be joining us by the end of this month. Some of the horses, such as the two show here are Red Belgians, and others are either black or dapple gray Percherons. They are ENORMOUS animals, weighing about 2000 each. (I'm really hoping one doesn't step on my foot while I'm harnessing him!)

Meet Nephi and Lehi, the first team I drove around town.

First thing in the morning, we open the gate to the corral, and all 18 horses come charging in for their morning feeding of grain. Remarkably, each horse always goes into his own stall. You'll notice that each stall is labelled with the name of the horse whose stall it is. It makes you wonder how they taught these horses to read!

On the left is Elder Mayne, from Missouri, and on the right sits Elder Swapp, a former bronc rider from Arizona. In the back you can see some of the harnesses hanging. Each horse has his own harness, which hangs directly behind that horses stall.


  1. Well, you've already surpassed my mission photo total.

  2. Yes, your laundry room is scary! Everything else is very homey, though. I can't believe you're living under John Taylor's roof!

  3. Very cool. Now when I think about you living in Nauvoo, I have a good mental image. Does John Taylor haunt your house?

  4. Ooo, I'm the ghost of John "Lucia" Taylor... I'm here to haunt you... I can only be sent away with vigorous singing, dancing, and jazz hands... oooooooo.

  5. You know, Mom and Dad, if you don't know all of the real information while you're giving tours you can make up your own "facts".
    Dad: "And here on your left you can see the... uh... Ol' Gravy Mill where they would grind up the discarded oxen bones to make a fine powder which they would mix with water to make a hearty, meat flavored sauce. They would pour this sauce, which they called "meatun" on almost everything they ate. It was highly prized by the westward Saints for its light weight and savory flavor. Every Sabbath day the hardscrabble Saints would take a break from their labors and get together, don their finest clothes, and eat meals covered in this meaty creation. In fact, you may have heard the saying "Sunday go to meatun clothes". That's where it comes from."
    Mom: "And here is the bedroom where the youngest daughter... um... Etta May slept. She had a bad case of the shivers and went weeks without sleeping. Doc Reynolds finally diagnosed her condition and prescribed a treatment of salves, ointments, and liniment derived from the local flora. Her mother would sing her to sleep each night singing hymns and playing her calf-skin tambourine."

  6. Ten bucks--TEN BUCKS--if you tell the "Sunday go to meatun" fact!

    1. Come on! Ya gotta make it worth my embarrassment.

  7. This is so fun to see! I wanted so bad to serve a mission in historic nauvoo...but it never quite worked out :) thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  8. For the love of all that is good and holy, pray that no one is ever in earshot of Jeff in Nauvoo.
    Looks like you have quite the job to do! And it's a good thing you look cute. This just makes me want to come and see all the more. Incidentally, Mike says when he found out his horse couldn't read he was outa there.