Tuesday, December 31, 2013

By Greg:


I hope I don’t lose my audience here, but I have found some family history that I think is interesting. While we keep saying that we are different from the RLDS, we do have a common history, and maybe for many of us, a joyous future.

This is the RLDS (Community of Christ) Temple

My family, the Haws family, is one of the largest families in the Church. I read recently that my great-great-grandfather, Gilberth Haws’ family is the 175th largest in the Church.  This is amazing considering the fact that he was not a polygamist, though several of his sons were.  Needless to say, the Haws family genealogy has been pretty well worked over by all of my relatives.  All of the “low hanging fruit” has been “picked” as they say. 


While I was in Africa I tried to get on a tall ladder and see if I could pick any remaining fruit on the farthest branches.  Well, I actually climbed so far that I found myself on a totally different tree, one with the same name, but a different tree.  It was fun to do family history and temple work for people named Haws, even though my connection to them was somewhat blurred.


We miss Africa, especially the Ghana Temple.  We did some very special Temple work while we were there.

While here in Missouri, in my spare time (ha ha), I have also been doing some more family research.  This time I have been looking at Debi’s family.  Her maiden name is Fowler.  Her father and my mother were both born in Hooper.  In fact, her grandfather and my grandfather were best friends.  Hers spoke at my grandfather’s funeral.  Her father moved away and she grew up in another town and went to a different high school, but we share an ancestral “home town”, Hooper, Utah.


Her Fowler ancestors came from England.  She has a multitude of aunts, cousins and grandmothers who have also done family genealogy.  Her mother also did mountains of work searching out their family.  Debi’s great-grandfather, whose name was Samuel Fowler, was born in England in 1823.  He came to Utah and Hooper and died there in 1918.


There is a very prominent family here in Kansas City named Fowler.  Many of the men have been bankers and businessmen and community leaders.  They also came from England, though they came to America much earlier than Debi’s family did.  I have done some looking into this family but as yet I have not been able to tie the two together.  Still, Fowler is a Kansas City name.


In my dabbling, I came across another man also named Samuel Fowler (not Debi’s ancestor).  He was born in New York in 1790 and married a woman named Susanna Hart.  They had 6 children.  Along with many of the folks from their area, they became associated with Joseph Smith and the Church.  Another man from the same area was named Seth Hitchock.


In 1834, missionaries from Kirtland fanned out through the various branches of the Church recruiting men to join Joseph Smith to travel to Missouri as part of a group that would be known as Zions Camp.  Seth Hitchock joined.  I am still trying to determine if Samuel Fowler joined as well.  Samuel's wife, Susanna died about this time leaving him with children, so perhaps he did not go.


Zions camp has a fascinating story that ends near here on the north side of the Missouri River.  After avoiding a major disaster that would have ended in a real war—perhaps we all remember that there was a terrible storm at Fishing River that caused the Missouri Militia/Mob to disperse—the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that Zions Camp’s mission was complete.


This was hard on the men, but what made it even harder was a terrible plague that attacked them.  It was Cholera.  This scared all of them as it struck with such swiftness and fury that literally a man could be standing healthy and strong one moment, and then down and sick, and dying the next.  The first man to die was Seth Hitchock.  Even Joseph Smith, who stepped forward to “rebuke the devourer” was struck and almost died as well.


This all happened, as I said, near here.  There is a monument very close to the Kansas City Temple remembering Zions Camp.


Now Seth’s wife was a widow with 7 children and Samuel Fowler was a widower with 6 children.  So, they joined forces and married.  Eventually they had 5 more children.  Her name was Sarah Ann Rhodes.


In Kirtland, Samuel was a member of the Seventies’ Quorum.  His brethren determined to migrate to Zion in a group.  This became known as the Kirtland Camp.  They traveled the 870 miles in 1838, arriving on October 4, 1838.  Remember, Haun’s Mill Massacre occurred on October 30, 1838, so they arrived just as things were really getting difficult.


The Fowler/Hitchock family was driven out and along with the Saints, ending up in Nauvoo.  Samuel received his Temple Endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on December 22, 1845.  He became a High Priest and was also a missionary.


When the Saints were driven out of Nauvoo, Samuel and his family moved again.  Sadly, he died at Council Bluffs (Winter Quarters), Nebraska on June 29, 1848.


Another young man named Seeley Reeves and his young wife were also in this tragic story.  He was born in New Jersey, but his family story parallels that of the Fowlers and the Hitchcock’s.  His wife, Mary Polly Buesenbark had a baby at Winter Quarters in June of 1846.  Mary Polly died the next February, 1847. Then the baby boy died in August.  Seeley was now a young widower.


Seeley then married a daughter of Samuel Fowler, whose name was Susan Fowler.  They eventually had 9 children.  The interesting thing is that instead of going west, as most of Susan’s brothers and sisters, step-brothers and sisters, and half-brothers and sisters did, Seeley and Susan turned east and returned to Missouri.  Perhaps to land previously owned and occupied by his family.


North of here is their town of Holt, Missouri.  We have been there several times.  All of the Reeve children were born there and most of the family died there.  While their cousins were in Utah, struggling to get a foot-hold in the desert, they were working their farms and businesses in Missouri, a state that had driven their people, and their fathers and mothers, into the cold and out of the state.


My Haws family joined the Church in Illinois.  They were really 10 families, brothers and sisters.  Eventually 6 of the ended up in Utah, 4 stayed in Illinois.  In my search, I found that the 4 that stayed later joined with Joseph Smith III and the group that was rounding up those who remained.  They became part of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


This is not a story we have heard a lot about, but it must have occurred many times.  I wonder why the Missouri Mobs allowed some of the Mormons to return unmolested.  I also wonder how those who remained felt about their family that went west.  I have read about my great-grandfather’s mission to try to reclaim his family.  They received him as a member of the family, but did not follow him back to the Church.


While some of these people may not our direct ancestors, they are all part of the collective “us” that makes up the Church and the human family.  I hope that in the long run we can all come back together and rejoice in being in one fold with one shepherd. I know that many of the descendants of these RLDS people are coming to us and becoming members of our Church.  Even a direct descendant of Joseph Smith and his wife was baptized recently.  He has quite a story to tell.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christamas

By Greg:

In Africa, the women carried everything on their heads--I was trying to teach this to these Elders

Merry Christmas, Darlings

One of our favorite Christmas songs is sung by the Carpenters.  This was a brother-sister group that was popular when we were dating.  The song begins, Merry Christmas Darling…we are apart its true...but in my mind I am Christmasing with you!

Last year we were half way around the world in hot Africa.  We missed all of you so much.  We were hot, and it was hard to really feel like it was really Christmas.

Well, this year we are not so far away, but it is sooo cold, and “it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas” here in Missouri.  Still, we miss all of you so much.

We almost wrote that if we had our choice, we would be with you this Christmas, but that would be wrong, because we have our choice, and we made the decision to go on a mission, and leave you, because we love the Lord and are so grateful for all he has done for us.  We also know that the Restored Gospel is true and it is the way for all of God’s children to find happiness.

We know that Jesus was born into a wicked world to save us.  We want all of you to know we love you, and miss you, and nothing but this would separate us.  But know this, that what separates us now is what will bind us together forever.

Merry Christmas,

Elder Greg and Sister  Debi Haws

Christmas 2013
By Debi:

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family!

We have had a wonderful but busy week to help us feel the Christmas spirit.

 Last Monday we had our Young Single Adult Christmas Dinner.  It was a smashing success.  We sent invitations out to 90 YSAs and we also invited the Stake Presidency and their families.

The Christmas decorations were beautiful and the meal was perfect.  We felt so thrilled with the turn out. 

The YSAs were suppose to wear ugly Christmas sweaters.  We had a lot of fun seeing the crazy sweaters.

We also had a white elephant exchange.  A lot of screaming, stealing, and laughing went on for about an hour. 

It was a wonderful night and we felt so good about the great turn out.

This week we also had 22 new Elders and Sister arrive on Wednesday.  We were privileged to go to the airport and pick two Elders up from the Mexico MTC.  They are so excited for the work and ready to go.

Then the next day we helped take the missionaries that were going home.  We were asked to go to the Temple with them and with President and Sister Keyes. While President and Sister Keyes took the departing missionaries to the airport we took two sisters back to the office to meet their families who were coming to pick them up.  This is Elder David Haws.  He is from Coleville, Utah and we were happy to claim him as family.  He has been a great Elder and now he is home with his family for Christmas.

What a different experience we had those two days.  Wednesday everyone was so excited and anxious to start their mission.  Thursday there were a lot of tears and heavy hearts to be going home and taking off their missionary tag. This is a real testimony that this work is true.  Watching the desire and strength of these seasoned Elders and Sisters is amazing.  Their mission experience will be a blessing for the rest of their lives.

God lives! Jesus is the Christ! and their plan of happiness is the only way to true happiness and the only path to return to our Heaven Home.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

An Incrediable Week!

By Greg:

This is me and Elder Allred.  We are both from the Hooper Utah Stake.  His father is a Bishop in our stake and he is a great missionary.  He is also a talented singer.  He has a great future, but right now he is in the service of the Lord.

We have been working so hard that we come home each night totally exhausted and are almost too tired to go to bed, if that even makes any sense.

We still are doing our Young Single Adult assignment, and we are helping the Branch prepare for Christmas.  But we have been called back into service to help with finding, renting and stocking apartments for the transfer next week.  We have been Elder Lillywhite's side kicks.  Sister Haws has joined us so now we are a threesome.

This is Elder Lillywhite at the Conference, checking on things.

This past Wednesday was an All-Mission Christmas Conference.  We were also asked to help prepare for this big event. I have done some events planning work with political campaigns, and also been called to be the one who puts out fires at other events, so this felt like I had done this before.

President Keyes wanted us to put together 72 hour kits for all 270 missionaries so we could give them to them as Christmas presents.  It was quite a production to assemble all the stuff, and we enlisted the help of most of the Senior Missionaries.  It was pretty cool to see all of us work together to be as efficient as possible.

We also had to set up a sick room, as there are always sick missionaries.  Today, we hope that they are not all sick!

The scriptures promise missionaries that angels will go before them and be on their right hand and on their left, well, I think a lot of us senior missionaries are part of that effort as we go before them and do many things so they can focus on their most important calling, to find, teach and teach and find.

At the conference, all of the missionaries gathered and they were given bagels, cream cheese and juice at the beginning.  Some came the night before and we had to find beds for them as well.  Mostly we put mattresses in other missionary apartments.  They all arrived safely and on time.

It is so amazing to just stand back and watch them.  An all mission conference brought former companions back together.  It was a grand reunion.

I love these guys, but I am sure glad we are on the same team!

While they had their training we were working.  The President had previously written to parents asking them to send Christmas packages in time for them to be passed out at the conference.  They were set in alphabetical order around the hallway.  It took the entire building hallway.

The Christmas Program, which happened after we had a wonderful dinner prepared and served by the Independence Stake Relief society, was so enjoyable.  Debi will tell about that.


Let me just say that being with all of these choice young men and women touches my heart.  I can hardly talk to them I get so emotional.  I love them and are so concerned about them.  We literally pray as we search for apartments, as we select furniture and as stock them with stuff so that these apartments will be safe, and more importantly a place where they can feel the spirit.  As we all stood and sang "Called to Serve" I took pictures because I got so choked up.

I love being with missionaries!  When I was a young missionary we used to say "The Church must be true or the missionaries would have ruined it long ago!" I don't believe that anymore.  The Church is true and the Missionaries are great, so great!

By Debi:

Merry Christmas to everyone!  We had such a special day yesterday with the whole mission.  Most of the young missionaries were knew to us but we did know some of them.  These two sisters have a very special story.  Before the last transfer Greg and Elder Lillywhite went to find an apartment in the Platt Woods area.  It was a real struggle to find the right one.  After all of the arrangements had been made and the furniture and supplies taken to the apartment the manager of the apartments said that all of the missionaries in the complex had to have a complete background check.  That would be difficult if the missionary was from another country.  We were a little panicked because President Keyes doesn't always decided who goes where until he interviews them.  He decided to put Sister Kong (who was a new arrival and from South Korea)  with Sister Erickson into the Platt Woods area.  We didn't know what to do.  When Sister Kong arrived we found out that she had dual citizenship.  What a relief.  We took them to their apartment and helped them move in. We took Sister Kong to the office and she registered.  Then we took them to Wal-Mart for their food shopping and hugged them goodbye.  Yesterday at the conference they told us that a young man just two doors down from their apartment is taking the lessons.  He is from China and hardly speaks any English and Sister Kong has been able to teach him in his native language.  Miracle!  Yes!
We also work very closely with Sister Missionaries in the Young Single Adult Branch. Above is a picture of Sister White and Sister Tanner (in the middle).  Also Sister Wilson (in red) is an awesome violinist.  She is going home soon.  We will surely miss her and her beautiful music.
Here is a picture of Sister Keyes talking to two sisters.  She is a great lady with a lot of responsibilities.  I don't know how she does everything.  Once in a while I have the privilege of helping her.  We are going to make lasagna tomorrow for the new missionaries coming next week.  Also, just a side note, we went to high school together at Bonneville High.  Go Lakers!
Here are some pictures of tables of sister missionaries.  The sister missionaries are so darling.  We cannot get over how talented they are and what great missionaries they are.

Here are some pictures of the handsome Elders.  They are also awesome help when we call them and ask them to help with the moves.

To end the conference each Zone put on a musical number.  It was in the Chapel so we couldn't take pictures.  The music was so beautiful and many of the missionaries have beautiful voices and play the piano, guitar, violin, or bells. We enjoyed music for almost two years.  It was one of the best Christmas concerts I have ever been too.
This will be a Christmas season that I will not forget!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Happy Thanksgiving

By Greg:

We had a great Thanksgiving.  Our daughter Katie and her husband Dan, and kids, Marlee, Sam and Lizzie came from Ohio for a visit.  They used to live in Colorado so they are Broncos fans.  The Chiefs are in a sort of rivalry with Denver, and I warned Dan to not be too obnoxious, but still he had to do a little "in your face" move while he was here.  Another son-in-law, Clint, is a Chief's fan, so it may have been directed toward him.  I told Dan he was on his own if he did anything wild while downtown!

I previously wrote about the wreck of the Saluda near Lexington.  Now I want to tell about another wreck, this time it was a river boat named the Arabia.

In September of 1856 this big side-wheeler was heading up-river to Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Remember that at this time this was a big staging area for Mormons traveling west.  This was the year before the "Johnston's Army" and the "Utah War".  The boat was loaded to the hilt with cargo and people. 

The crazy thing about this old river is that it literally changes course with each season, and high water times in a season.  Well, this boat hooked a snag and went down.  It sunk with all its cargo, but the people survived.  Very quickly the sunken ship was covered in mud and it sat there, under many feet of dirt for over a hundred years. This is part of the recovered hull.

Well, later  the river took a different course and the wreck ended up high and dry under a big cornfield.  Some men decided to find it and uncover it and soon they recovered its cargo. Of course, everything was encrusted in mud, but most things were well preserved.  The men worked very hard and then they did not know what to do with all their findings.  They decided to keep the collection together. Hence there is a big museum in Kansas City with all the stuff they recovered.  It is amazing.  It was like a Walmart of the 19th century.  Most of the stuff is still good.  They found lots of dishes, guns, hammers and axes, cloth, shoes, pickles, hats, gloves, nails, and on and on.  We thought is was truly amazing! They found a box of printer's type that was suppose to go to the Mormon newspaper in Council Bluffs.

Here in these cabinets are the things that they found.

Lots and lots of tools, buttons, pins, matches...you name it, they found it!

If you come to KC, put this on you list of things to see.

Also in Kansas City is the National World War I memorial.  It is claimed that more Jackson County boys died in that war than any other county in America.  So they built this monument and museum.  We will go inside when we have more time, but it was amazing to see from the outside, and we saw a great view of the City.

We will say more about this monument in future blogs, after we have gone inside.

Missouri seems to make lots of claims, and who am I to question them.  After all, they are the "show-me" state.  One of their claims is that Kansas City has the most fountains than any city.  Well, we have not seen all of them, but this one was pretty, and frozen:

By Debi:

We had such a great time with Katie, Dan, and their children, Marlee, Sam and Lizzie.
After we went to the museum for the Arabia we went to the downtown area called the Crown Plaza.
They had it all decorated for Christmas and the Tree Lighting was that night.  They had everything all ready.

There in the Plaza are a lot of things that are fun for the family. There is LEGOLAND and a great Aquarium and also the Hallmark Headquarters with a visitor center and museum.  We went to LEGOLAND and had a great time.  There were a couple of rides and then some really fun play areas for the kids to build their own creations. One area you could build your own race car and they had a great track to test it on.  They also had a fun LEGOLAND 3D movie that lasted about 10 minutes.

There is a very unique restaurant in the Crown Plaza Mall.  It is called Fritz's.
It is a hamburger restaurant but everyone orders their food on the phone from their booth and then when the food is ready it is brought out by a little train engine.  We had so much fun watching the trains bringing out the food that we really didn't care how long it took for our order. Each time a train came out everyone watched with excitement to see where the food would be delivered and we all cheered for everyone when they received their order.  It was a great way to wait for the food.

We had such so much fun with the Dannehl family and we wished they didn't have to go back to Ohio.  The drive is about 12 hours and it was a hard trip.  But we appreciate their willingness to come and be with us over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Now that the turkey is gone and the pumpkin pie is polished off we are getting ready for Christmas.  We even put up a little tree that we had in our apartment closet with the help of Katie and the kids.  In Africa we didn't have any decorations so this seems very cozy to have a tree.  The tree down town is taller than the buildings around it. It is so amazing that year after year they find a tree to bring to their Crown Plaza Christmas celebration.

We hope you are in the Christmas Spirit and thinking of ways to serve others.  Greg and I have thought of some ways to help missionaries have a wonderful Christmas and that has made us excited to be here on this mission and to be able to feel the love of our Savior.