Sunday, August 08, 2010

Faith in Every Footstep

On Sunday we had to drive home and at the last moment we decided if we left right after church we'd be able to take a Southern detour into Missouri and see Adam-Ondi-Ahman and other Church History sites in the area.  First off it was a beautiful, hot, humid day (you can see the humidity in the picture, even!) when we got there it was so quiet and peaceful.  The country parts of Missouri seem untouched by time - there were some parts we'd drive through and I'd almost expect to see horses and buggies.  Gorgeous country with lots of humidity, though.  I was disappointed in how bright it was and my camera wasn't catching how beautiful it was in person.
As we walked up to the actual valley there was a family there in church clothes doing scriptures study.  It really had an impact on me to see a father teaching his six children as they were gathered around him on the Garden of Eden.  Such a beautiful site.
We did not drive around to the other side of the valley (Spring Hill and Tower Hill), which would have been awesome, instead we opted to try to visit Far West, Liberty, and Independence by closing time.  p.s. for anyone interested on making this trip, I would recommend watching Legacy first as a refresher before you go.  It would have been nice to include Nauvoo at the same time and follow the path of the Saints chronologically, but since we didn't have time (plus Nauvoo was our temple when we lived in Iowa and we had many, many trips there) . . . maybe some day.
Once, again, the landscape at Far West was so gorgeous and I was nothing if not frustrated that I couldn't get my camera to capture it.  As the saints settled there and looked down over the rolling hills at the exact same thing I was looking at, I wondered what they thought and felt.
Here is an original structure of the Community of Christ, they still hold services here.
Right across the street was the temple site and cornerstones.

We booked it down to Liberty Jail.  I knew this was a very special and sacred place, but I just did not expect it to have as much as an effect on me.  I think I cried so much I was dehydrated.  This place was where I had the strongest spiritual experience.

By the time we were done at Liberty Jail it was closing time in Independence and we had to decide to skip it or grab a hotel room and stay the night and take an extra day just for that location.  We opted to spend the money on the extra day.  We didn't know when we would be back to the area.  We stayed across the street from the Chiefs & Royals' stadiums.  We arrived at the Independence visitor's center right as it opened.  I was surprised to find out the church owned quite a bit of land in the area that they were keeping landscaped and fenced off.
We walked in and felt the Spirit almost immediately.  Sis. Powell was our tour guide for the day.  First she let us watch the display videos til we were ready to go see Mark Mabry's Reflections of Christ display that has be traveling around the visitor's centers.  I was SO EXCITED to see it in person.
There was SO MUCH to do there and see and learn we really only had an hour, so we fit in what we could.  I think we could have easily spent 3-4 hours with all the videos and activities.   I think they even have a theatre you can request to watch Legacy in, which would have been awesome, if we'd have had the time.
We had about an hour before we had to leave and we wanted to check out the seashell temple across the street.
First I just have to explain the difference between these two places.  My friend Janna served her mission at the Independence Visitor's Center, and she said one of the biggest missionary tools they have is to encourage people to visit the temple across the street and come back over and you can literally FEEL the difference in the Spirit.  I can't even begin to describe how true that is, but I'll attempt to.  So we walk in the buliding where there's a large lobby filled with flags and I hear organ music.  What sounds like scary, Halloween organ music.  We were told we just missed a tour that started 10 minutes ago and could walk up and join them if we'd like to.  So we started walking up a rounded walkway with some crazy, insane artwork while listening to spooky organ music.  I literally started laughing out loud because it was so bazaar the contrast between what we felt across the street.  Anyways, we finally caught up with our tour guide who was in the chapel and totally sweet and helpful and willing to answer all of our questions about their religion.  After the tour we made sure to stop by their museum/bookstore which has an AMAZING collection of personal effects from the Smith family.
It was definitely time to hit the road, and 24 hours later, we were home {whew}!

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