On this Day in Church History hosted a special Riverside Service honoring the anniversary of the “Miracle of the Quails,” which happened October 9, 1846. Our service was held in Montrose, Iowa on the banks of the Mississippi directly across from the Nauvoo temple where the early pioneers camped in desolate circumstances after they lost the Battle of Nauvoo. The service was attended by descendants of pioneer Eliza Clayton Margetts who experienced this miracle and recorded her “reminiscence.”
The Camp of the Poor
Travel back with me 176 years.
The year was 1846.
The October morning was cold and biting.
Imagine over 600 people camped out right here on this riverbank.
They were sick and shivering. They didn’t even have blankets.
Food was scarce. They were starving.
This group of Saints included the old and the young—there were even babies.
It truly was “The Camp of the Poor.”
Faith in Miracles
If I had been in their place I might have looked at so much suffering and been tempted to ask:
“God, why hast Thou forsaken us?”
Perhaps some of these Saints did ask this, but I personally believe that most did not. Why?
Because faith precedes miracles.
I imagine that these Saints wore their suffering like jeweled crowns upon their heads. They lifted their eyes to the sky and together they prayed:
“On Heaven and on Earth, let not our will, but Thy will be done.”
They offered their sacrifices unto the Lord and just like in the days of Exodus the Lord rained down manna, or quail, upon them.
Miracles DO Happen
But that was THEN, not NOW. Can miracles really happen to me, to you, to us?
I’m here to testify that miracles are as abundant today as the quails that once covered this encampment.
Just last month I witnessed multiple miracles.
I saw hearts healed.
I saw sisters strengthened.
I watched as a branch as big as a pick-up truck fell atop a group of children playing below. Not one of them was marred by so much as a twig.
Jesus Christ is our King and Savior. He is willing and waiting to reveal His matchless power. The only thing we need to do is to have the faith to open our eyes and see it.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Do you believe in miracles? Share your experience below!
A big SHOUT OUT and THANK YOU to the families who participated in and helped with our Riverside Service! Thank you to Jodi Clayton for the photography!
1. Hartley, William G. “The Pioneer Trek: Nauvoo to Winter Quarters,” Ensign, June 1997.
2. Hartley, William G. “ ‘How Shall I Gather?’ ” Ensign, October 1997.
3. Johnson, Sherrie. “Crossing Iowa,” Liahona, October 1997.
4. Nelson, Russell M. “The Exodus Repeated,” Ensign, July 1999.