June 18th, 2014
Today I had to wake up at crack-o-dawn thirty to get to a car, to take us to the bus, to get us to Nauvoo. Why? Beacuse Youth Conference!! In our church, Youth Conference is a 14-18 year old activity that we do every summer. It gives us a chance to interact with other wards in our stake and meet new people. For our stake, most of the time, we have YC at the stake center and in areas around it. But every 4 years we hold in in Nauvoo Illinois. This means everyone gets to go to Nauvoo once, before they aren’t able to attend YC anymore. During YC we usually do a service project for the community. Also we hold dances so we can learn to interact with the opposite gender. Whether we want to or not…. Haha. We have fun activities and learn more about each other. It’s a nice escape from the worldly reality of our every day lives. We get to incorporate the Spirit into our experiences and reflect on our many blessings that Heavenly Father has given us. Anyway.
I’m currently riding in the bus. It’s been raining the WHOLE dang time. It’s a ride of about 6 to 7 hours to Nauvoo. We will be able to visit Olde Nauvoo where the temple is and go on a Pioneer trek! I’ll be writing along the way as a kind of Journaling of my experiences. We just have to get there first ^-*….
So I’m currently sitting in an amphitheater by the Nauvoo temple. We are watching a show where everyone is dressed from the 1800s and it’s awesome. I want one of their dresses!!! Haha. The Nauvoo Brass Band played music first. They invited the audience to come up and dance too!
Afterwards we walked across the field to go to the temple. The Nauvoo Temple is lit up beautifully at night. We sang a few hymns with the whole stake. It always sounds so heavenly, singing with everyone. People improvise harmonies and all together, it’s not like we’re perfect or professional singers or anything, but it’s sounds beautiful. It reminds me that we are all youth united under one cause and standard.
This morning we woke up early so we could get to breakfast and a carriage ride. Complete with a team of large strong horses named Nephi and Lehi. I took the liberty of taking a couple horse selfies!! #Neigh
After our carriage ride, we were given the opportunity to visit the place where our first Latter Day Prophet, Joseph Smith was jailed, and shot. The grounds were full of a special feeling of peace and simultaneous mourning. I got to feel the bullet hole in an original door in the jail. That bullet was the one that hit Joseph’s brother Hyrum’s face killing him almost instantly.
Joseph fell out of the top jail window after he was shot several times.
After the visit to Carthage, we drove back to Nauvoo to the temple. Inside the temple we were able to perform baptisms for the dead. This allows those who didn’t get to accept to the gospel in their earth life, to accept it on the other side. It is a very amazing and spiritual experience to be able to do temple work for those not able to do it themselves. The temple is so beautiful any time of day. If you ever get a chance to go to a temple dedication, I highly reccomend it. Temple dedications are when a temple building has just been completed and the prophet dedicates it as a house of the Lord. There’s always a wonderful program of singing and amazing talks.
When we were finished visiting the temple we had a little bit of time before dinner and the barn dance so we went to Old Nauvoo. In Old Nauvoo, there are all sorts of workshops to go to where some missionaries who volunteer at Nauvoo, tell you about many historical aspects of Nauvoo. One of my favourites is the blacksmiths shop. Right in front of your eyes, they make a mini hotshot as a demonstration. And at the end, they give you a special ring called the prairie diamond. This ring is special because it is a hotshot nail, fashioned into the shape of a ring and comes in different sizes to fit you. There is a story that goes along with it. The rings and story are Available here at this sight.
After the blacksmiths, we had a nice hearty dinner and then a dance. It took place in a cleared out warehouse XD
We had a giant pioneer trek this morning. Let me just say. Tons of mud. And clay. And grass. And falling. And hills. And… Sweat. Hahaha it was so much fun. It really brings people together I think. Working all together.
On one leg of the trek, all the guys went ahead of the girls without the girls and we did something called the women’s pull. Now don’t misunderstand, the men aren’t just being lazy or anything like that. In the 1800s when the church was still a bit new, all the men were off either in the army or on their missions. This left many to most of the women at home by themselves to take care of everything. From tilling the land, pulling the handcarts, cooking, caring for the kids, gathering crops etc, the women did it all.
At night we went to the trail of hope where missionaries were dressed as historical pioneers and recited accounts from their journals. It was if the pioneers were really there walking with us to the river at the end. I wish I could describe how strong the spirit was present that night. But it’s one of those things where you have to experience it yourself.
That was the end of our Nauvoo youth conference this year.
I know this was a really long post but it’s to make up for all the weeks I haven’t posted. It was too good of an experience to skimp on. And if you ever get the chance to go I highly recommend you do. Because you will be blown away.
**So sorry this took two months to post. A lot has happened recently I’ll keep you up to date!