Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014-Investigators, Brickmaker, the Amish and Camels

Dear Friends and Family:

      Hello from Nauvoo, Illinois. How are you all? We think about you very much while we have been here, which is about five weeks! The time has gone by quickly. We are very busy and enjoy serving the Lord here. Living in this small town of 1,000 (not including the missionaries) is at a slower pace. The people are very friendly to us. There are 6 main religions here with beautiful churches; Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Community of Christ, Baptist, and of course LDS. Our church owns about one third of the land here in Nauvoo now, so we are a prominent voice in the community. We have great relationships with all of these people, and work together. Our chapel is a stake center for all the surrounding wards and branches in this area: Hamilton, Warsaw, Keokuk, Fort Madison, Montrose, etc. The 300 missionaries, both site like us, and temple missionaries meet in our own sacrament meeting and auxiliaries. There are also 2 home wards that meet here.

         We are learning so much since we have been here; about this and other surrounding communities, and on our preparation day we enjoy driving around the countryside. Much of it is typical of Midwestern towns with miles and miles of farmland. We love to explore the small towns and go in their little shops and antique places to browse. The Amish and Mennonites have many communities around here. The mission buys their horses for the carriage and wagon rides from them, because they breed really hearty large horses similar to Clydesdales. An interesting observation: Quincy, Illinois which is about one hour south of here, is the city that took in the 5,500 Mormon refugees when they were driven from Missouri. And they did this for months until they could buy land in Commerce, and start a new city. We really honor the people of Quincy, and Pres. Hinckley gave them a check in 2002 when the Nauvoo Temple was dedicated, to thank them for their unselfishness. Since 1839,  Quincy has “flourished” into a great city of about 40,000 people, and has a Sam's Club, and all other modern stores and restaurants. While Nauvoo here has never grown bigger after the Saints were driven out in 1846; something interesting to ponder, that maybe that is why Quincy has progressed and Nauvoo hasn’t.

Dad’s been looking everywhere for red hot candies. He finally found them at Dutchmans in Cantril, Iowa. An Amish store we had to drive to for his black pioneer hat. 

At a farm on the way was this camel just chewing. Ha!

         We are also learning great amounts of knowledge about this city back in those pioneer times, that my brain is swimming! I feel like a sponge soaking it all in. Each day we serve in a different site, and tell about the people who lived there or worked there. We always give a gospel message, i.e. today I serve in the Seventies Hall which was where the quorums of seventies were taught the gospel before going on missions. I have read up on that information, and our key message is: “Just as the seventies, or missionaries were sent out into the world by Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel in all the lands, missionaries today are preaching His gospel all over the world.” Then we tell about how the building was built, and its purpose; it was also a museum, a school, a worship place, and a library. Elder Schultz is serving in the brickyard today, wearing his pioneer clothes, making the souvenir bricks that are given out during each tour.

        Yesterday I was just in the Lucy Mack Smith Home. It was really special and emotional. I cried reading about her and telling how she lost 7 of her 8 sons in life. Yet she never waivered in her faith and support of the restored gospel.

         It is starting to get very busy here, with lots of tourists.  We serve in the Visitors Center 4 times a week, wearing regular missionary clothes. We enjoy meeting all the different people who come in there. Yesterday we had 2 nonmember couples come in. One was from England, touring the U.S. and I asked, “What brings you to Nauvoo?” and the man answered, “Google!” then he added that Nauvoo is on a list of 1001 places to visit in the U.S. before you die. So we were able to teach them why Nauvoo was here and important in American history. We gave them a Book of Mormon, because they were very interested in the native Americans. And we bore our testimonies. They said a large white temple has been built in their city of Lankershire, and wanted to know about it. So we shared all about temples. It was amazing to be able to really be missionaries! They were so interested and asked many questions. The other couple was from Michigan, and a little older, but also very inquisitive. They wanted to know if we were the original Mormon church or the one that broke off and went out west. We were able to explain the history and gospel, and bear our testimonies and give them a referral card too. We are really called referring missionaries, not proselyting ones. We “plant” seeds of interest and give information, and hopefully they will want to know more at some later time. One of the church leaders, (can’t remember who) said after doing a survey, that converts usually have about 6 or 7 contacts with LDS beliefs or people before they actually want to know more.

A typical day for us is like this; we wake about 7:00 am, have companion study and prayers, breakfast, make lunches and get ready to be in our sites by 8:45 am. They open at 9:00 am. We always have prayer in each site with the others who serve there. Then we have different schedules, like some get out at 2:30 pm, others not until 5:00 pm when they close, but get to take a lunch break of a couple of hours and come back. We run home, have dinner, and are back by 6:15 pm to either perform in “Rendezvous” show, twice a week, or rehearse 2 nights for the new outdoor show which starts in May, called “Sunset on the Mississippi.”  We are having fun, getting to know so many new friends in our casts, and who we serve with each day. They are all amazing people with wonderful life stories, who have also been through trials and struggles, like all of us, but have remained faithful. We are honored to serve with them. We feel a little “out of place” though. We are the only couple from Southern California. Most everyone is either from a ranch or farm, or a small town in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming or Montana. I relate most with the Chynoweths (sha-nahf) who are great people from St. George. He is the first counselor in the mission presidency and he worked for  Kaibab Lumber in Arizona and knows the Whitings. They are leaving May 8th though, because their mission is done. We will miss them tremendously.

We love all the people here very much! We had district meeting last night at our home, and the discussion after dinner and our meeting was so funny to us. There are 5 couples, and only 2 of us don’t have ranches, etc. They were talking about rodeos, and their children who love to ride broncos, etc. and one has a college degree in it, and another in horse shoeing. We felt very out of our element, but enjoyed the conversation! Then our district leaders asked if we could as a district feed the 19 young singles sisters next Sunday. Now we were talking! That was easy for us!! Making food for many is just what we can do! Ha!

Well, I better close and get ready to serve at the Seventies Hall. I don’t know if all of you heard, but Heather, our daughter had a baby girl last Monday, April 20. They named her Poppy Mae. She is so tiny and precious! We are so sad to have not been there, but the Georgiannas, and our daughter, Amber Buhrley, were there to help. We are so grateful to them. We love you all, and pray for you daily. Remember to stay strong, keep your covenants, and serve the Lord in any calling you are asked! The Lord will POUR out his blessings!

Love Elder and Sister Schultz

 (or Mom & Dad, or Grammy & Grampa, or Aunt Nancy & Uncle Harry)

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