Friday, September 20, 2013

Missouri or Bust!

By Greg: 

            When my Great-grandfather, Archibald Gardner, arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon on the 1st of October 1847, he paused to look at his new home.  He turned to his first wife (actually his only wife at the time) and asked, “Peg (her name was Margret), my brave lass (they came from Scotland), how are you?” She looked at the wide valley in front of her, in the distance was the Great Salt Lake, but all between them were acres and acres of sagebrush.  “Oh, Archie” she replied, “After all this wearisome journey, is this ‘the place’?” Then she sat down on the wagon tongue and cried.

            When we consider that they had been born in green Scotland and had come from Upper Canada, and then the fertile mid-west, it is little wonder that the barren desert of Utah must have taken them back, more than a bit.

            Many of the early pioneers had endured the hardships of persecutions heaped upon them in Missouri and Illinois, but my direct ancestors did not.  But many of their neighbors told stories of Zion, and the “Garden of Eden” that they believed had been along the Grand River in an area known as Adam-ondi-ahman.  They also believed that Zion would be redeemed and the promises would be fulfilled.  Most of them believed it would happen in their life time.  Thus, the folk-lore began that the Latter-day Saints would return to Zion, or Missouri, in wagons and handcarts.  It has been said that some of the sisters were even reluctant to unpack their dishes when they arrive in Utah, because they planned on going back soon.

Well, it has now been 166 years.  We are packing our dishes and a whole lot of other stuff, and heading east.  We are not going to drive oxen or teams of horses; we are driving a many-horse-power Ford F150, King Ranch pick-up truck.  It is air conditioned and has GPS to help us stay on the trail.

We are leaving Hooper Monday morning at 8:00 am. We anticipate a 16+ hour drive, unless we encounter Indians or Buffalo.  We are taking so much stuff!  We went to Africa with two suitcases each, now we are filling the truck bed with things “we might need”.

This is what we looked like a year ago when we left for Africa.


We asked President Keyes if we could bring our bikes (to ride for exercise) and he said, “Sure, most of our missionaries ride bikes!” So we are taking bikes (and all the stuff that goes with bikes).  We also need to take winter clothes, which we did not need in Africa.  We did not even take a jacket there.  In Africa I wore slacks and short sleeve white shirts, and Debi wore light skirts and no nylons.  Now I will wear suits and she is upgrading to a new wardrobe.

I am really struggling trying to decide what books to take.  I have narrowed it down to one box; mostly Church history books.  I have, however, slipped our camping BBQ grill in because in Africa Elder Cooper and I never did figure out how to have a cookout. In Missouri we will BBQ.

I also packed our ball mits and a softball.  Maybe on P-day Debi and I can play catch.  If not, I would expect the young adults to play softball.  Besides, I have a nearly new mit and Debi’s is well worn.

Missionaries are not allowed to have guns, so I am leaving them home.  Mormons are safe in Missouri now anyway.  Even though Governor Boggs issued his extermination order on October 27, 1838, which some felt gave legal license to kill Mormons, no one used that as a defense for killing Latter-day Saints after the “Mormon War” ended at the end of 1838.  138 years later, then Missouri Governor Christopher (Kit) Bond (now a US Senator) rescinded that order.  So, effective June 25, 1976, we are safe to enter the state, thus no need for guns anyway.  Here is Governor Boggs

He left Missouri in 1846 (after there was an assassination attempt on his life, and some said he was fearful of reprisals from Mormons) and headed for California with a group that separated and the other group joined those of the famous Donner Party.  He settled in California and died in Napa Valley in 1855.  May he rest in turmoil.

            So, we are ready and willing.  On Sunday we will again be set-apart as Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we will again clip on our missionary tags, stand up a little taller, and give thanks for this great opportunity to once again be Elder and Sister Haws.  Oh the Joy!

by Debi

Almost exactly one year ago Greg and I took off for Africa.  We were very anxious about all of the new experiences we would encounter there.

As I have pondered the differences of the two places we will have served, I have also noticed that there are some amazing similarities.

In Africa and in Missouri the Church was persecuted in its early years.  Missouri kicked out all of the Mormons from its state.  In Ghana the government kicked all of the missionaries out of the country and made it illegal to hold a meeting.  In Missouri, the leaders of the Church were imprisoned for illegal conduct.  In Ghana some of the priesthood leaders were imprisoned for holding illegal meetings. Now in Missouri the Church is a respected organization and the people appreciate their goodness.  In Africa and especially Ghana the Church is very well respected among the government officials and they appreciate the community service the Church offers.  In Missouri many of the Saints received and witnessed many miracles.  In Africa, the members have and are witnessing miracles almost everyday.  There are Temples in Africa and in Missouri which just a few years ago would have thought to be impossible.

So even though during this part of our mission we will be able to go to a Wal-Mart, we will probably have some of the same feelings and experiences that we had in Africa.  I know that there will be a strong southern accent to get use to just like we had to get use to the accent in Africa and there will be a lot more green in Missouri than here in Hooper.  But one thing I know for sure is the people in Missouri will be just as wonderful as the people in Africa.

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to finish our mission.  Greg and I are healthy, strong and ready to serve.

Missouri or Bust!


1 comment:

  1. Good luck and be safe!! We will live without you for another year, but then we need you back. :)