Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Special memories of Nauvoo and Carthage

Lavona Richardson

I am grateful for the opportunity Jay and I had to serve together in Nauvoo and Carthage.  I have so many special memories of serving at Carthage, walking down Parley Street, visiting the old Nauvoo cemetery, seeing the temple on the bans of the Mississippi every day, serving at a different historic site every day, making gingerbread for the bakery, morning devotionals, the huge flowers at the Family History center, making bread at the Family History Center, the re-enactment of the founding of Relief Society at the Red Brick store, being a narrator for the wagon rides, delivering the mail, carving pumpkins for the Halloween Walk,, directing the choir of missionaries as we sang on the steps of the Nauvoo Temple at Christmas time, serving as an ordinance worker at the Nauvoo Temple and so many more.

I have a special memory of serving in Carthage and giving tours there of the jail.  I always felt a special spirit in the martyrdom room as I testified of Joseph Smith.  Jay and I served a mission in Indonesia before serving in Nauvoo.  We felt as urgency to put in our mission papers again to serve.  I didn’t put on my papers that I served as a missionary in Mexico fifty years before and spoke Spanish.  Jay wasn’t fluent in Spanish and I wanted to go to a mission where he would be more comfortable. 

One morning we were serving in Carthage when a family from Spain came that didn’t speak any English.  The site leader turned to me and said “You were called for such a time as this”.  I prayed fervently that I could teach them in their native tongue to help them feel the spirit of Carthage.  As I gave the tour I was saying words in Spanish that I didn’t even know and they understood. These were words that I didn’t use as a missionary when I served in my youth.  It was truly the gift of tongues.  I was an instrument in the Lord’s hands in bearing testimony. We all could feel the spirit so strong as I testified of Joseph Smith.  

A short time later while we were still serving in Carthage a bus load of people from the area where I served in Mexico came and I was able to give them a tour in Spanish.  I saw more of my friends I had known on my mission that day than I could have ever seen visiting Mexico.

After that for the rest of my mission I was already assigned to be a narrator on the wagon ride or at a site when someone would come usually without scheduling ahead of time that needed to have their tour in Spanish.  Sometimes I would go with them to the different sites to give them the tour in their native language.

Another favorite memory is translating for a sister that didn’t speak English at the Nauvoo Temple for Sister Wirthlin as she visited with her before her temple marriage.