Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7- Family Visitors, Inquiring Minds, and being tourists

We only serve in the sites once a week cause we are over the Visitors Center so much. And yesterday we were at the Carthage Jail in regular clothes.
May 7, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,
            Hello again from the Illinois Nauvoo Mission. We are having wonderful experiences here. Each day I wake up so excited to serve in our various assignments. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself, because I can’t believe I am really here. I feel so blessed to be in Nauvoo.  The spirit is strong here, and great things happen every day. They strengthen our testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

            We have had some neat experiences this past week. We had a bus load of seniors from local communities come to see what our “culture” was like. They are learning about other cultures like Mennonites, and Amish. They thought we were similar to them. In the pioneer sites where we wear pioneer clothing, I am sure we look like them. We had the opportunity to tell them our religious beliefs. Also that afternoon, a class from Iowa State University on “Mormonism” came to learn about us. There is so much interest around here in the Midwest to find out more about the Mormons. We are surely becoming more in the forefront. Harry had a neat experience a few days ago. He took a minister’s family with his wife and 3 children on a tour of the visitors center. He has a small Christian congregation in Macomb, Ill., about an hour from here. They didn’t really want to see all the sites. They wanted to know more of what we believed. And they had open minds, and were very interested. He wanted to see the Joseph Smith movie, so they did, and afterwards asked for a copy to show his congregation. Harry gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to read it, and he said he would. He even opened up the section in Alma about faith that begins with a seed, and grows. Harry suggested he use it for one of his sermons. They really connected, and he gave him his phone number, and asked the minister to call him if he had more questions. It was a great missionary moment!      

            When visitors came in, I used to assume they were members of our church, because it seemed that way. But lately it is the opposite. I assume they are nonmembers and want to know more. We really love sharing our testimonies and beliefs with so many persons. We average about 300-400 persons a day coming into Nauvoo. When it is summer, it will be more like 2,000 people per day. We can really feel the work of the Lord hastening in these last days, and we are so excited to be part of it. Today I met an older woman who brought 2 young sister missionaries to see Nauvoo, from Burlington, Iowa. At first I thought she was a member in one of the wards. But she announced she was Catholic, and loved to come to Nauvoo because of the history. Her name is Zenta Logan. She loved the Woman’s Garden with the women’s statues. I gave her a Sisters in Zion book about the history of the Relief Society, and she was so excited. I also gave her a large picture of the statue of a woman praying. She loved it. We connected and I bore my testimony to her, and asked her to read it, and ponder why Nauvoo was so important to these saints who lived here and had to leave, because of religious persecution. Then I had her sit and listen to the recording in front of the Christus statue. She was very emotional and felt the spirit. I gave her a big hug when she left. I hope she will want to know more. These are just some of the experiences we have had.

Here are 2 more pictures from our show. The couple on the bench are the Chynoweths or acting presidents when we arrived. They went home yesterday! We grew close to them even in 6 weeks and will miss them so much! They are from St. George. Neat people.

            We are also very busy on a daily basis. We have district meetings monthly, and zone training meetings every Wednesday. This week, the first counselor in the Mission President gave a training about conversion; and how to invite others to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He asked Harry to stand and share his conversion story, of being a young 19 year old man, and the feelings he had. He shared that he felt the spirit strongly 3 times before joining the church, and already had a strong testimony of the Savior. First when he was a young boy in his Presbyterian Sunday School, then when he went to a production about  Jesus’s life as a teen, and again when he met Mormons in the Bluth Brothers theatre group where he played in the band.  He said that “feelings” are the most important introduction to the gospel. There was just something different about the people in that theatre. And of course as he learned more about their beliefs, he gained a testimony of this true gospel, and was baptized.

   We also have lots of social events and parties around here. Monthly there is a breakfast for all missionaries, and we all help bring the food. It is to say goodbye to the missionaries going home, and welcome new missionaries. Then in our casts for Rendezvous and Sunset shows, we have birthday celebrations in our green room meetings before shows, and we have monthly temple sessions, and potluck dinners afterwards. We also attend many events in the community sponsored by the mission, or the home wards, or other churches. Tomorrow is a celebration of Joseph and Emma when they moved into their Homestead house in 1839. It is sponsored by the Community of Christ church, formerly the Reorganized LDS Church. There is a dinner, and a campout, and a short trek into Nauvoo, with a celebration at their home site.

            The past few days we have had visitors; my 2 Whiting cousins from Mesa and St. Johns, Arizona. They are the granddaughters of my Great Aunt Elda, and Great Uncle Ernest:; Martha Brown’s  brother and sister (my grandmother). Their names are Daryl Smith Lee, and Sandy Dastrup West. They came together to see Nauvoo, not knowing I was there on a mission. It was so fun to spot them in the audience of our Rendezvous show. We hugged afterwards, and they came to see us in Carthage the next day. Then last night they came to our home for a visit. We had lots of fun reminiscing about Whiting reunions.   

Also this past week we went to Springfield, Illinois to visit Abraham Lincoln’s home, his museum and tomb there. It was amazing and so professionally made. Please visit it if you ever come out here. It is about 2 hours away but so worth it! I have an even more admiration for this great man, and all he stood for and accomplished.
Lincoln's Home

Museum of Lincoln's Life

Lincoln's Tomb
            I better close, and get ready for our show tonight. I miss you all very much, but being busy makes it easier. We love you all, and really hope you will all come out here and visit us this summer or next year. The church is true, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is moving forward across the world. We are so grateful to be part of it.

Love Elder and Sister Schultz,( Mom and Dad, Grammy and Grandpa)

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