Wednesday of last week, June 27, was the 168th year anniversary of the martyrdom. We had a Commemoration at Carthage Jail where we paid tribute to the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. The young sisters sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and the YPM's sang "No Ordinary Brothers" (which is a beautiful, sad, but motivating song about those two men.) A member from the Temple Presidency spoke and talked of a scripture I love that says, "Joseph has done more, save Jesus only, for this work".
Then President Gilliland spoke. He is such an inspired man. He always says what I need to hear, and I've noticed, what we all need to hear as missionaries of Nauvoo. I got to take people on a tour through the Jail after the Commemoration. It was powerful. It made it all the more real talking of the event on the very day it took place. Although it was a sad thing, it was supposed to happen. God has a plan for everyone, part of Joseph's plan was to die for the cause of truth.That night, we had a devotional as sisters with President in the Martyrdom room. Some sisters shared their testimony. All of the sisters are so powerful and beautiful. President said something very profound that I'll never forget, "We will all have our own martyrdom to go through in this life. We'll all have to prove ourselves and give our all for what we know is true." The spirit was so strong. That room has a feeling of peace like you wouldn't believe it could.
I got to do some service around the Jail this week! The grounds are beautiful. Picking weeds here is a sinch. Because of the humidity, the plants come right out of the ground, root and all. In Utah, that never happens unless it just rained. haha! This week I experienced the most humid day I think I've ever felt. Walking outside from indoors is like walking into a sauna. can't breathe!
A man walked in to the Carthage VC and he just had a personality I knew would mesh well with mine. I grabbed my compy and we headed over to talk. He was the bus driver for a youth group from St. Louis. He started his conversation in a humorous fashion like this, "Hey! I've come to see my cousin. (Smith). Can ya'll show me 'round?" with a big smile on his face. He is not really a cousin, but we joked about it. We showed him the 1st Vision mini statue and did our best to follow the spirit. We read part of the Book of Mormon introduction to him and he asked tons of questions, but some things clicked in his brain. We testified of its truthfulness and power. He would ask unimportant questions occasionally like, "These gold plates...where'd they get the gold?" or "Did Mr. Mormon have a last name?" haha! I loved this man! He took a referral card to fill out and a book of Mormon. He said he'd read it and in 365 days, he'd be back here to see if we found the answers to those two questions. haha! My job is to find out if Mormon had a last name. Do you know? I searched but haven't found anything yet.
It was a wonderful experience. I know the Lord puts people in our paths on purpose. If we are prepared as his servants to jump at the opportunity, we and they are blessed. We'll see what happens. :) Or maybe I won't see what happens in this life.
On Sunday I got to work in the Cultural Hall with Sister Brown. That was fun. A bit of history about it: Hyrum Smith dedicated the building and it had about 16 different uses back in the day. Banquets, court sessions, schools, funerals, concerts, plays, dances, recitals, Nauvoo Legion meetings, and police meetings. Brigham Young was even in a play called "Pizzaro" 19 days after the building was dedicated. So fun! A lot of people today imagine the saints having so many trials and having so much faith, which they did, but they also had fun!
But, most importantly, when the Saints prepared to move west, they took out the benches in the cultural hall and had enough space to make their wagons for leaving. It was fun to work there.