Friday, 26 June 2015

Niagara Falls

Our day in Canada - Niagara Falls

After visiting a few more sites around Palmyra we drove straight through to Niagara Falls so that we could we could see falls in the morning!

I couldn't believe we were actually there!!! It was exciting to go into Canada even just for a day and say that we had been there.  The view for the falls was a lot better on that side as well.  For me the falls were much smaller than I originally expected, but still spectacular.  If we had enough money it would have been great to take a boat tour down at the bottom of the falls but maybe something for Jason and I to do ourselves a little later in life.  After viewing for most of the day we stopped in to have all you can eat pancakes and real Canadian Maple Syrup!  Absolutely yummo and yes we were all rolling out the door!!!

Hill Cumorah

One of the great places we were able to visit in regards to church history was the Hill Cumorah and visitors center.  It was surreal being able to climb and explore the area where Joseph Smith found the golden plates which were later translated into what we know as the Book of Mormon today! We also had time to visit one of the first book of Mormon Publication sites in Palmyra.

We were also amazed with the 'family' water fountain that was there.  There were 8 spots around the fountain.  Must get lots of large families visiting! We were also amazed that mum let us roll down the Hill Cumorah!!!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Sacred Grove

We began this day with beautiful weather ready to tour around Palmyra New York and learn more about church history. But unfortunately the weather dampened our experiences in some places.  We visited Peter Whitmer Log Home home first where the church was reorganised on 6th April 1830.  This home was fascinating to me as the main frame of the home is original with some remodeling on the inside.  The second picture was the actual room that the conference for 175th anniversary of the church was conducted and streamed live throughout the world.

We went through the visitors center and then drove onto the area known as the Sacred Grove.  When we arrived the weather was awful with loads of rain.  The missionaries at the visitors center talked us into visiting the Smith Family home and then deciding from there if we wanted to tour the grove or not.  Not only do the missionaries talk about the history of the church they really take the time to bear testimony and help the children to feel of the spirit at these places.  On the way to the Smiths family home we could see the new Palmyra temple spires through the rain and trees - it was beautiful!  After touring the home it was still raining slightly so we decided to wait in the barn for a little while and discuss as a family what were we going to do.  We had a couple of days up our sleeve so we could wait and come back but most of us wanted to walk around then and there.  Jason and I got a little tense with all the pros and cons so in the end we went back to the van and decided to come back the next day.  This didn't go down too well with the children so they asked if we could pray for the rain to stop.  How could we refuse this request!  The rain definitely eased so we rugged up and went for a walk and within about 10 minutes the sun was shining.  This experience really helped us.  We were also reminded by one of the missionaries that this was similar to Joseph and Emma who were having an argument one night when Joseph was trying to translate the Book of Mormon....because of the tension he could not translate the words or feel in tune with spirit for the revelation.  So he and his wife prayed and cleared the air and he was able to begin translating again.

We had an amazing time together as a family here in the Sacred Grove.  We were virtually the only people there for most of the time so we were able to pray together and by ourselves and ask Heavenly Father about the truthfulness of the events that happened in the groves to bring back Christ's church on the earth.  - Of course we had a little fun as well and Joanna prayed for a family dog...which we knew wouldn't come true for a long time but hey two years later we have Hugo - the huge dog!!!

Jordyn and Hugo 25-06-15

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Onto to Church Historical Sites

On Wednesday, the 8th of May we prepared to leave New Jersey and the fantastic area that is New York!!! Looking back on it all now it was just amazing to believe that we had a huge camper-van in the middle of a busy busy city with 6 children!  That morning we had the best breakfast burrito ever that I made Michael go back and buy 4 more.  I was constantly amazed at Jason's driving ability in such a big vehicle especially in busy areas.  Just trying to get out of New Jersey was crazy but he seemed to cope so well on the main freeways and highways.

We traveled onto Susquehanna County Pennsylvania to check out the place where the Aaronic Priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith in 1830.  This area had a marked out home of Emma and Joseph Smith and a cemetery with the markings of one of their children who had died.  This was very surreal for me that things I had heard throughout my life studying church history and here we were visiting the areas ourselves.  Unfortunately the weather was terrible so we couldn't stay too long but Jason was determined to visit the Susquehanna River!  So he traipsed through the mud and woods to find the markings that state where the priesthood blessing had been given.  Compared to all the other church areas there was hardly any historical buildings or information here but as I write this blog nearly 2 years later the church is currently building a visitors center and recreate a model of the Smiths home, which I believe will be very helpful to feel the spirit and capture the essence of this historical place.

That night we went to Bingham New York and had a real American diner meal at a place called - The Spot Diner.  It looked  really really dingy and very old fashioned but the prices for the food were really cheap and the service was so lovely just like the ladies in some of the American movies!!! We had a lovely time and the food was pretty good too! Then later that night we drove on a little more to get closer to some places to stop the next day and in a place called Auburn New York, we had our first and only prang in the big car!  Jason was trying to reverse as the car navigator sent us the wrong way and then we hit the back of the van.  Luckily it didn't cost too much to fix but it was still a pain that he had just the one scrape!