Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014-Anniversaries and Goodbyes

Dear Family and Friends;

            I can’t believe it is September already! In 9 days we will have been on our mission for 6 months! That is crazy! We have only one year left. We are really enjoying this amazing experience- it is so hard to put it into words what we experience each day. This past weekend was very busy again because of the holiday, and the Grape Festival, hosted by the Baxter family who make wine. They came after the Mormons left and have been here for over a hundred and fifty years.  They have put on this festival for 77 years. We don’t get too involved because there is free wine tasting and cheese, and a carnival, and live bands (heavy metal ones), but we did go down and get dinner there one night to show support. We have become good friends with Kim Orth, a descendant of the Baxters, who is over Nauvoo tourism, and the chamber of commerce here. She is not a member of our church, but so supportive of the LDS historical sites, and mission. We have had over 600 persons through the visitors center on Saturday and Sunday.

            It dawned on us today while we were there that on August 24, this year was the 50th anniversary of Harry joining the church in West L.A. California: 1964. He left on a mission to Japan only 9 months later! He hardly knew much doctrine of the gospel and  had to teach himself  Japanese language. It was for 2 ½ years.  The Nauvoo temple president, James MacArthur, was his AP in the mission. When Harry felt inadequate and new in the church, Elder MacArthur encouraged him. It has been great getting to know him and his wife at the temple.

            Many missionaries leave the mission this month; about 60, who have been here for 18 months. They have dropped our Rendezvous Show to 2 casts now, so we perform 3 times a week. It is so sad to see them leave. We are really going to miss them all! We have become such great friends as we have served with them. There are only going to be about 10 couples who came before us, so we will be the foundation of the mission now. There will be only about 120 missionaries, which sounds like a lot, but there are 30 sites that need 2 missionaries each, and teamsters who handle the wagon rides, and several FM (facilities management) who keep the physical place of our mission running; electrical, plumbing, heating, air cond, construction, and all the grounds and gardening! This is a massive place to manage and it takes all of us!

At our farewell missionary breakfast.

Goodbye skit by leaving missionaries.

Goodbye to President (1st Counselor) and Sister Jones. We became very good friends.

Goodbye also to our next door neighbors The Curtises

            I have had some marvelous experiences this past week in the visitors center. I met an older couple (in their 80’s) from Canton, Illinois who came to visit Nauvoo for the first time, named the Warrens. They wanted to know about the Mormons and what we believed. I took them on a tour of the Center, and shared the First Vision of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, how the saints came to Nauvoo, and why they left. The woman began to cry for the persecution of the saints, and was touched to hear their story. They saw the movie Joseph Smith, and I gave them a Book of Mormon, and they said they would read it. I felt such a bond and connection with them. As they left, she said, “Can I give you a hug? I feel like we have made a new friend, and I know we will meet again someday if not in this life, but the next.” It was a really emotional moment for me, and I felt so much love for them. This is what the gospel is all about! Love for each other. I feel such joy in sharing the gospel of our savior Jesus Christ. I have had many special experiences like this the past two days.  

            In the next two months we will be busy with senior groups coming to see Nauvoo’s historical sites, and the changing color of the autumn leaves. Also we have many elementary schools come on field trips. We want them to feel the spirit of this wonderful place and bring back their families to experience it. We look forward to seeing many of you in the future! Please start planning for next year; especially during the month of July to see the Pageant.

We love and miss you all!                     Elder and Sister Schultz

           We have had a lot of visitors over the summer.  Here are some pictures of my niece, Shannah Godfrey and her family we were able to visit with.  It was so fun to see them.