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Facing Destruction with Remarkable Bravery and Faith

It was just another typical summer morning.

Make breakfast. Get dressed. Take the kids to the park. Put the baby down for a nap. Get my morning workout in.

But then, the sky turned green.

We hid in our basement closet and waited for the storm to stop.

When it was over, we went outside and saw, to our utter amazement, a completely different world. Our picturesque and peaceful little town had been devastated. I’ve never seen such destruction.

A Town Destroyed

Trees toppled. Crops crumpled. Silos shredded. Barns busted. Windows wrecked. Roofs ripped away. In some cases, entire homes lost.

Seeing our beloved Nauvoo like this was absolutely shocking.

So, we all went to work.

We cleaned up our yards bit by bit and branch by branch. We all pitched in.

Our town has slowly pulled itself back together, but clean-up efforts are still underway.

With every new storm we have steeled our nerves for fear of the unknown. We have asked ourselves, what will happen this time?

It was a harrowing summer for my family and for many who live in Nauvoo and surrounding areas. I decided to search for comfort and strength in the stories of my ancestors—and this is what I found.

A Remarkable Story

I happened upon another remarkable story from my family history.

This story takes place in Denmark in the second half of the nineteenth century.

When this happened, my 2nd great-grandmother Emma Maren Hansen was a very young child.

They were from a town near Copenhagen. They had been converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after one of their daughters was miraculously healed by missionaries.

They left their home for a couple of days to attend a church conference in Copenhagen and when they returned this is what they discovered:

As they drove back to their house, at the end of their journey, and stopped, they just stared and stared, tears running down their faces. Where the cabin had been there was nothing but a heap of ashes where it had once stood. Captain Peder and his wife sat there in the cart with their family with the tears running down their cheeks. Then, saying nothing, he turned the cart around and slowly drove away with his family.

Their neighbors and friends had burned their house and neighboring farm down because of religious persecution. What unimaginable heartache they must have endured! But yet, somehow, they found the strength to travel back to Copenhagen and then on to America where they joined a handcart company and crossed the plains to Utah.

Facing the Storms of Life

What an incredible story of endurance and faith.

Reading stories like this widens my perspective on life.

Even when we come face-to-face with destruction, we can move on. Even when we face insurmountable odds, we can conquer.

We can do this because of our faith in Jesus Christ. He is the perfect Example of triumphant endurance. He heals our aching hearts and soothes our wounded souls.

My great-great grandmother’s family lost everything, but they didn’t give up. Their faith in Jesus Christ led them to travel over the Atlantic Ocean and walk a thousand miles across the plains of America to find a new home—a place of peace and safety.

When the unknowns of life storm down upon me and threaten my peace – I will think of the faith of my 2nd great-grandmother Emma Maren Hansen and like her and her family, I will choose to walk on.

With goodness and kindness,

Justina #NauvooBlogger


I wrote about the story of Emma Maren Hansen and her family using family history documents from

If you would like to read the story of the Hansen family’s conversion, you can read my relative Scot Facer Proctor’s article here.

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