Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10, 2015 – At home in Brigham City

Thursday September 10, 2015

Well, we left Nauvoo on August 18th - just two days short of five months from the time we arrived there - and got home on the 21st.  I have been waiting to mail and post when I had more information about Ray’s surgery date.  We saw Dr. Robert Andtbacka again yesterday (Dianne was with us), and surgery is now scheduled for September 29th.  We have a pre-op appointment on the 17th, both of course at the Huntsman Cancer Institute Hospital.  They have confirmed that his tumor is a Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST), and though it is malignant, it is slow growing so the additional two weeks of waiting is not critical.  Ray also has a 4.3 cm Infrarenal Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm that the doctors have been watching for about 10 years – 5 cm is the point at which they want to do something about it.  Dr. Andtbacka is concerned that the GIST surgery might compromise the aneurysm and has asked a Vascular Surgeon to review the data and determine if it should be fixed before the surgery on the 29th.  If so, there is enough time for that to be done. 

On the bright side, Ray is feeling well and is being as active as always.  We have decided to sell our rig and truck.  The rig is in for repairs – not surprising after sitting in storage for two years.  We have asked them for an appraisal of the rig, as we have a buyer for the truck, and they will take the rig also if the price is right and right now we aren’t sure what that might be.  Anyway, a couple more weeks will give us more time to take care of that business.  It is sad in a way to get rid of the rig, as we have had many fun times traveling around.  Now however, we can go on some cruises or fly out to visit family and friends.

It was hard leaving our mission, but I know this is what we are supposed to be doing – taking care of Ray’s health.  We are in the Lord’s hands and he will bless us with strength and stamina for the surgery and healing that still lies ahead.

                                                            Sister Barbara with Sisters Nancy Swenson, Lee Ann Clark, Kathleen Windsor, and Sandra Walton at Lands and Records...........
                                                            Sister Barbara with Sisters Jacquolyn Wilks, Cynthia Clark, and Beverley Ramsay on another day at the Lands and Records........
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Elder Ray at the Riser Boot Shop.............
                                                                                                                                                                                      Elder Ray making a shoe.....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Elder Ray at the Tinsmith............

                                                           ...and "Jack of all trades"  Elder Ray making a tin pan.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Elder Ray and Sister Barbara's farewell photo............yes I cried!!

     On our way home we stopped at Liberty Jail in Missouri.  The Visitors Center is above, and the depiction of Joseph Smith and his companions confined to a dark and cold dungeon below the main floor is at the right.................

Then we went to Adam-ondi-Ahman in northern Missouri......

...and then to the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters in Nebraska.  The missionaries with us in the photo below were in the MTC with us - Elder Delbert and Sister Jo Ann Robinson.  It was great to see them again and they took us on a very interesting and informative tour.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 2, 2015 – August 8, 2015 – Week 21, in Nauvoo

Sunday, August 8, 2015

Dear family.

Sorry I have not sent messages to all of you for a couple of weeks,  We have been dealing with some health issues with Elder Ray and have been quite busy with Doctor appointments and mission duties.

We have kept our children informed, but waited to tell everyone until we had more details.  The prognosis is good for Elder Ray even though he has been diagnosed as having a small Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) in the lower portion of his stomach.  The GIST is cancerous, but the thing they were not able to determine from the biopsy is how fast it is growing - but it needs to be removed either way.  The recovery will be long, because the tumor is so close to the passage way to his small intestines they need to remove about 1/3 of his lower stomach, and do some re-sectioning of his intestines.

A very good Doctor in Utah has been recommended by Dr. Hoshi at the Iowa Cancer Clinic.  His name is Robert Hans Ingemar Andtbacka, M.D., C. M. of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake - he specializes in surgery for GIST and other Sarcoma's.

So we will be leaving our mission. The date of our leaving is not known - that will be determined by President Gibbins and Dr. Mark Udall, the Missionary Doctor, who we talked to last Friday.   It depends on when we get an appointment with the Doctor at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. 

So we will be going home.  We are sad to leave but we know this is important and we will follow through.

Farewell Nauvoo and the many friends we have made here. 

I will continue the blog as time permits, keeping you all up to date with what is happening.  

 Black smithy Ray (above)

           (right) Cooper Ray

Michael was here in Nauvoo for a short visit.  A delightful surprise and we loved it.

Elder Ray and Michael (left)

       (below) Sister Barbara and Michael

Another beautiful Sunset on the Missippi

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 15, 2015 – July 22, 2015 – Week 19, in Nauvoo

July 22, 2015

We started out this day with a Training meeting at 7:30 this morning.  We were honored by an address given by one of the new Seventy’s, Elder Tim B. Clark, which was very interesting and inspiring.  Afterwards, since it is our P-day, we went to breakfast at Grandpa John’s here in Nauvoo, and then went to Keokuk, Iowa for a haircut for Elder Ray, and to get a few groceries, and we put gas in the car just over the border in Missouri.  We also bought a painting and afghan in Nauvoo, Illinois, so we have been spreading our money around in three states today. 

We came home for lunch, and a haircut for Sister Barbara in Nauvoo.  Afterwards we went to a historic site that Elder Ray had not been to yet, the Lyon Drug Store.  Then we toured the Community of Christ (formerly called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) sites in a tour they provide of Joseph and Emma’s homestead, 

the "Red Brick Store.......

 - The Relief Society was organized in the room upstairs, and the Prophet Joseph Smith and other leaders of the Church met there too....

and the Mansion House where Emma lived the rest of her life. 

Our guide was LDS however, and he is attending the University in Logan, Utah. 

We took pictures along the                   Mississippi.... 

....the beautiful clouds and green trees....

       and of the beautiful wild Tiger Lilies that are blooming in abundance right now.

Elder Ray serves a lot in the Blacksmith shop,and it is a very popular and busy place - and we took pictures of people going in and out for tours. 

He nearly had heat stroke last week making horse shoes by the blacksmith forge.

On Monday night we were able to go to the British Pageant after our Sunset show – It was wonderfully done even though it was just a dress rehearsal.  We did get rained on a little and had to walk through some mud to get to it, but worth it all.  If any of you are planning on coming to visit us next year, do try to come in July when the pageants are in production.  This year the Nauvoo Pageant is on Tuesday’s, Thursday’s, and Saturday’s, and the British Pageant is on Wednesday’s and Friday’s.  During the last song of the British Pageant, all of the Nauvoo Missionaries that are available, walk onto the stage dressed in white shirts and dark pants and skirts – very moving.  

I think I have told you before, but to learn about the pageants go to:!shows-/c24qu

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 8, 2015 – July 15, 2015 – Week 18, in Nauvoo

July 15, 2015

Our cast dinner Saturday night with the Amish Family of John and Marie Bontrager was interesting and fun.   It rained hard all day, but stopped just in time for us to gather at the Nauvoo Visitors Center to car pool out to the Sunrise Bakery near Bonapart, Iowa.   It is about a 45 minute drive from here.   Marie cooked  a very nice meal for us - need I remind you that they live without the convenience of electricity, so she had to cook for about 60 people in her kerosene stove and brick oven.  Everything was delicious, especially her pies! We were enchanted by their six children which includes two sets of twins. 

Sunday we were “On Call” again so we rested after church and then our MTC group gathered at Elder Keith and Sister Beverly Ramsay’s home for a pot-luck dinner and visiting. 

Monday I served at the Lands and Records again as I usually do on Monday’s, and had the opportunity of helping make up a package for Elder Jeffrey Holland and his wife Patricia with the information we have in our files for their ancestors that were in Nauvoo.  It was an honor and very interesting.   Elder Holland is on a trip visiting Church History sites with 19 members of his family.  He honored us with an address in a special Missionary meeting Tuesday evening.    There are a lot of missionaries in Nauvoo right now, especially with all the people performing in the pageants.  The chapel was full as well as about a third of the Cultural Hall. With all the visitors also for Church on Sunday even the Cultural Hall was full to overflowing. 

Today, Wednesday and our off day, Elder Ray and I went to Springfield, Illinois – it took us about 2 and ½ hours to get there.   We visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and it was a wonderful experience.   When we were in the “funeral” room, I thought of my great-grandparents, James  and Rachel (King) Strait, who attended his funeral.  We were there for 2-3 hours.  We walked a couple of blocks to have lunch at The Feed Store.  After lunch we went to the Lincoln home for a movie and tour. 

We visited Lincoln’s Tomb and then drove back to Keokuk where we had dinner and bought a few groceries before coming home to get a little rest!

This is another statue in the Women's garden at the Visitor's Center called, Woman and Her Talents.  

This a Sun-stone from the original Nauvoo Temple - photo taken in 1963  when our family visited Nauvoo.

This is the same Sun-stone that now resides in the present Nauvoo Visitors Center. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

July 1, 2015 – July 8, 2015 – Week 17, in Nauvoo

July 8, 2015

As you know our mission call said we would be serving as Illinois, Nauvoo Visitors Center missionaries.  This coming Saturday, the 11th, is the first time we have been scheduled in the Visitors Center – our hours were to be 5:00-9:00 p.m.   Well our cast made plans to go to dinner that night in Bonnepart, Iowa with an Amish family that specializes in serving dinner to groups.  So Sister Stroud, who does the scheduling, managed to get two Young Single Missionaries to work for us.  We are now rescheduled to work day hours on Saturday.  Hopefully we get an opportunity to serve in the Visitors Center soon.

Last Sunday we went out to Carthage to take pictures of the Jail and Visitors Center there. 

Elder Couch, one of our Senior Missionaries helped put on a new roof on the Jail, and he saved the old original timbers that had to be taken down, and made picture frames for all of us.  We decided we needed a special photo to put in it.

Elder Ray and Sister Barbara by the Statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage - the jail is behind us.

Above is the jail with part of the Visitors Center showing on the left.

This is the shaded entrance to the Carthage Visitors Center.....

We travel a portion of the Great River Road along the Mississippi every time we go to Keokuk, Cathage, or Quincy.  This time we stopped and took a picture of the Arched Stone Brige - below...

Here is a new picture of our home on Knight Street with the lawn and trees green.   To the right you can see the sign we have in our front window designating this as the home of Elder and Sister Doying.....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June 24 – July 1, 2015 – Week 16, in Nauvoo

July 1, 2015

All the sites closed at 3:00 the afternoon of the 27th so we could all go to the Martyrdom Commemoration at at 5:00 p.m. at the Historic Carthage Jail Visitors Center.  Joseph and Hiram Smith were killed in Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844.  They had a wonderful program of music and remarks that touched our hearts and brought tears to our eyes more than once.

We are still getting lots of rain with lightning and thunder, but so far no damages here - only some outdoor plays have had to be moved from the outdoor stage into the Visitors Center theaters.  We did have a tornado warning one night which had us all on edge as we were doing one of our plays.  The hardest rain went around us and we had a pretty rainbow and a colorful sunset.   

The firefly’s are out in abundance now, along with the chiggers and mosquitoes! 

The Historic Nauvoo Visitors Center....

The Gardeners (Facilities Managers) have put out lots of pots of flowers as well as beautiful gardens filled to overflowing.  One of the flower beds above and one of the large pots in the Visitors Center Parking lot to the right.....

There are many colors and varieties of day lilies blooming everywhere.  Here are a couple by the Family Living Center...

Nauvoo is a beautiful place to serve, and the Spirit of Joy accompanies all our activities.  We are so happy to be serving the Lord and wish we could convey to you the Spirit of Nauvoo!  Just come and find out for yourselves!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 11 – June 24, 2015 – Weeks 14-15, in Nauvoo

June 24, 2015

Our neighbor Nelda and three of her daughters came to Nauvoo on the 17th, and they came to our Sunset show last Wednesday and we got to visit with them after the show.  They stayed afterwards to watch the BYU Ballroom Dance Company, and so did we.  The dancers are wonderful!   We got to see Nelda every day they were here, and it was so much fun!

On Saturday, June 20th,  marked our three month anniversary here in Nauvoo1  We did our play, Sunset on The Mississippi in the outdoor theater on that night, and during our prayer meeting before the show, Sister Lisa Brown, our director, told us that the incoming storm was being watched closely, and if we needed to leave early some acts would be deleted or they would just cancel the rest of the show.   As the night progressed the clouds kept getting darker and darker.  The Young Performing Missionaries do an act where they have a pretend Tornado warning.  They announce, “This is a test of the Nauvoo early tornado warning system.” And then they all sing in unison….BLAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.  Then they announce, “If this had been a real warning, you would have seen this:”  and they all start yelling and running around the stage and then run off in total confusion.   Well, tonight as they started running around  the Band director yelled, “Wrap it!” and we all jumped up and started leaving in a hurry, grabbing mike’s and equipment for shelter.  The wind had become really strong and a few drops were coming down.   Perfect timing, but I wonder if the audience thought it was actually a real tornado warning, although in the confusion I think they were already headed out before we were.  We got home before the hard rain actually started.   We had lots of rain and lightning and thunder long into the night. 

Another thunder storm last night.  We have had lots of them, and the storms have saturated the ground so flash flooding is possible.  We did not experience any, but some of the missionary homes had flooded basements.  Today we had heavy rain this morning as we went to our 7:45 training meeting, but it cleared up and it was actually sunny later in the day.  

We went to the Visitors Center and took some photo’s of the statues in the Women’s Garden. There are 9 statues.  

This statue is titled: 

    Joseph and Emma

The above is titled:   Woman,


              and this one is: Joyful Moment. 

It is our P-day and we finally got the chance to watch the musical The Promise performed by the Young Performing Missionaries.  They are so talented and this play can only be seen until August 8th.  Go to:!summer-shows-/c1n4o to see a little about all the summer shows. 

We even got to do our whole show in the open theater tonight.  NO RAIN!  We have had rain every week since we got here, and sometimes three or four times a week – some of the storms now are with the temperatures in the 70’ and 80’s.    You can imagine how that feels!

Looking forward to more visits with family and friends.