Our family went on a whirlwind trip to upstate New York this summer. Right off the bat, things were exciting, because it was an opportunity for Brenden, our new driver, to get some serious expressway experience. Too bad the GPS (Nava-girl) was set on "scenic" - But we did see some lovely small towns along the old highway routes.
The big reason for our trip was to see our church's annual Hill Cumorrah Pageant in Palmyra, a very small town where the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took place. The pageant portrays many of the significant events in The Book of Mormon. There were a few things that surprised us about this event (in no particular order):
First, the number of people. There were so many, (And we actually found our good friends in the huge crowd!) all coming to feel the spirit and share this amazing experience with family and friends.
Second, the special effects of the performance - WOW!
Third, the people who were trying very hard to tell us that Latter-day Saints are wrong.
Fourth, the number of very friendly volunteers in the parking lot.
Fifth, the size of the parking lots (and the organized way we were able to get in and out of them).
Sixth, the spirit we could feel as soon as we stepped on to the church property.
We had a great experience. So glad we finally made it.
Before the pageant, we took the opportunity to go to the Sacred Grove, the place where Joseph Smith first kneeled to pray about which church to join. It is a beautiful forest that has been preserved and is filled with the Spirit of God. Feels good in there.
We talked about the similarities that Joseph Smith faced and what we were going to face when we left the grove. There were in Joseph's time, as in ours, those who do not believe what we know to be true, and try so hard to make us forget the witness we have had. The difference is that Joseph was alone for a time, while we have each other, and almost 14 million other members of the church. We felt secure in the knowledge of the restored gospel, just as Joseph felt strengthened and secure after his experience there.
We camped at a KOA that we stayed at a few years back. There were lots of church members - We camped next door to a cute little family from Pennsylvania who knew the Murrays. Small world. We had our traditional dutch over Monkey Bread with breakfast, and everyone was so helpful in getting packed up.
On to Niagra Falls!
We stayed on the American side as not all of us have proper id to go to Canada. But that is my favorite side anyway.
As soon as we walked out of the parking structure, we ran into our friends, the Zimmermans. Love that we found them twice in New York!
We had a great time! It was very windy and wet, which made for good hair, but also cooled us off. I wonder how many pictures there are in the world of families taken in this same spot?
We went up to the islands at the top of the falls and explored, and tried not to think about what would happen if one of us fell in to the rushing water.
A great trip with some great memories made.
The drive home gave Brenden that much needed experience on the freeway - two hours worth. I was ready to take over driving just before Cincinnati when we stopped for ice cream, and even though B felt confident, I insisted. So grateful I did! We ended up driving through terrible rain. It would have been difficult for us to change drivers safely, and terrifying for everyone if Brenden were driving.
That prompting from the Holy Ghost saved us a lot of grief. That is the Spirit that confirms to us that Heavenly Father is aware of us, watches out for us and gives us the opportunity to listen, or not.
I love that I know that.