Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1-Busy, busy, busy!

Amazing sunset over the Mississippi

Dear Family and Friends,

            How are you all? I’m sorry for taking so long to write a letter. This past month of July has been crazy! Besides serving in the pioneer sites and visitor’s center, we perform twice a week in Rendezvous and twice a week in the Sunset Mississippi shows. Then in on the 2 other days, we help at the pageant, greeting guests, handing out programs, and helping them find seats. The pageants have been wonderful! They have told us we are 40% up in attendance from past years, just because of the British new pageant. Audiences have been overflowing, and the leaders have been thrilled with the response!

            One highlight of the British pageant is at the finale when the LDS saints are on a ship coming west to join the saints in Nauvoo, and help build the temple. The narrator summarizes by saying that the beginnings of missionary work in the restored gospel began in Great Britain (including Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England) and that now we have thousands of missionaries taking the gospel out into the four corners of the world. At that time all the missionaries, both proselyting from the Des Moines, Iowa, and Illinois missions, and the other 300 of us (incl. temple and site ones) line up down the aisles carrying Books of Mormon march in and up on stage singing “Called to Serve”. It is a real inspirational point of the pageant, and really emotional for us and the audience. Then we sing “Redeemer of Israel”- It is awesome! I wish all of you could have witnessed these pageants. Tonight is the last night.

            Because of the great numbers coming to the pageant, of course there have been amazing crowds in all of the sites too. Sometimes there are lines waiting to get in to see them. We are so impressed with the number of young families coming here to bring their children to experience this amazing city! I love helping them plan their days here to make the most of them, and to build and strengthen their testimonies.  And they are from all over; Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, N. Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Minnesota just to name a few! The church really is being strengthened all over the United States, and I am so excited to see it prosper and grow. Part of this missionary work is not just to find nonmembers ready to receive the gospel, but to strengthen the members and their families. We feel strongly that part of our mission is to help the youth, to prepare to be our future missionaries, and future mothers and fathers. We have had about 20 major youth conferences and 2 EFY’s, bringing in about 5,000 youth to experience Nauvoo. They feel such a strong spirit here, and their leaders tell us what a positive place this is to help them develop their testimonies. All are from the Midwest, and the east. We had 400 youth here this past week from Katy, Texas Stake (near Houston).

            Summer is the busiest time of year for Nauvoo.  If you ever come to visit, the pageant is a must see!  The pageant goes from July 8 to first weekend in August, so it ended last Saturday.  But if you come to stay after the pageant, it definitely isn't as busy.  It is really quiet, because most of the people had left town. So you would not have to fight lines and crowds, for the wagon rides, shows, etc. The young performing missionaries will be here one more week too, and we also have this one more week to perform in the Sunset show, and others.  If you don't want to drive and can't afford to fly, consider what many of our missionaries families do; They take the Amtrak our of SLC to Burlington (40 min. from here) and the cost is only about $200. for adults and half price for kids. It takes about 30 hours, but the travel is nice and pleasant- they have sleeping cars, and it would be an adventure.

            We have had many visitors in the past 3 weeks. They make being here not so difficult to miss our home and family. Tami and Angie Holker (maiden name) came with their families and surprised us! We were so excited to see them. We had breakfast one morning with the two of them, and shared so many memories from Ricks College Showtime Co. days.  

Tami and Angie surprised me. Love these girls!
From Angie's Instagram "Surprising this fine man in Nauvoo… our 2nd daddy… too many memories with this Potter!!!"

From Angie's Instragram- "A breakfast with champions in a special place, with the special people!!! They don’t get much better than these grandparents!!! We love you Harry and Nancy"

            Tammy Flake (maiden name) was also in Showtime, and came with her large family of 7 children. 

            We also had a nice reunion with Richard Law (Showtime Company 1982) and his wife Linda. He was a singer in Showtime Co. at Ricks in 1983/4- Their son, Elder Reggie Law, is a trombone player in the Nauvoo Brass band (YPMs) and they live in St. Anthony, Id.What great friends we have. 

            Also, my niece, Stephanie and John Hitchins came here for a couple of days. They stayed with us in our extra bedroom, and we had a lot of fun taking them to shows and all the sites. Then on Saturday we saw by surprise LeAnn (Brown) and Steve Noall from Orange Co. and their 4 children. LeAnn is the daughter of Aunt Nora Brown. They have been here for a few days. So fun to see all of them.

            And our good friend, Steve Allen, managing director of the church’s Missionary Department has been here for a few days seeing the pageants and what we all can do here to build up the missionary work. We have enjoyed spending time with him. He came to both of our performances, and took lots of pictures. We will send them when we get copies. 

Instagram pic-Look who came to Nauvoo! Steve Allen! Wow we have terrific friends.
Thanks Steve for all your missionary counsel.

            We have had a great time reminiscing about our days in Young Ambassadors and BYU. We shared so many memories together there. He introduced us to Elder David Warner, also here, who is managing director of the Priesthood department- They work together. He was the spearhead behind the two pageants; getting them written, produced and directed. He paid us a nice compliment when we met. He thanked us for being pioneers in the program bureau and Young Ambassadors. He said most of the creativity from the pageants came as a result of performers who have been in those groups, and knew the power that wholesome entertainment  has in missionary work in opening doors, and changing lives. He thanked us personally because he had heard from Steve what we had done. Wow! We are so grateful to have had the experiences we did at BYU and Ricks College. And that maybe we did somehow make a difference.

            Elder Allen (Steve) gave all the missionaries a great training in the morning, and shared some of the things happening in missionary work.  It is really exciting! To see this gospel move forward at such a fast rate! He said we have about 88,000 full time missionaries, and the projection in the next few years will be over 100,000! He said that 30% of these are the young sisters 19 years and up. This is amazing! He said the sister missionaries are so ready and prepared, and have strong testimonies to share. They are organized and very motivated! I see this in our 19 sisters serving here right now. What amazing mothers and wives they will be!

            Last week we were given direction from two general authorities; Elder Christoffel Golden, a seventy from South Africa, and Elder Joe Christensen, an emeritus seventy. Elder Golden told us not to dwell on the negatives out there and the doomsday people. That this is a wonderful time to be alive, and see the gospel move so rapidly into all the world. He said even though satan’s forces are out in full force, there is also much righteousness in the world. In the church, he said things are better. Sacrament attendance is higher, people are filling the temples and doing work for their ancestors, youth are also involved in indexing and turning in names. Saints are more obedient in paying tithing, and many are returning to activity. He said, “This is the GREAT age that all the past prophets spoke about! We are living it right now!” What an honor it is to be involved in this great work as a missionary. We truly love it here, and feel we are making a contribution.

            I would like to leave this message with you, that we heard in one of our zone conferences, for you to ponder:
            “If it wasn’t for Heavenly Father, we wouldn’t be here,
              If it wasn’t for Jesus Christ, it wouldn’t matter,
              If it wasn’t for Joseph Smith, none of us would know about it.”

       We love you all so much, and want you to really really strive to live the gospel!

There is no time to waste, watching television, and doing other frivolous unimportant things. Make each day count in serving the Lord!     

Love Elder and Sister Schultz

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