Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15- The fun of our mission and The Christmas Walk

Dear Family and Friends,

            I am writing this letter from home because I have been sick the past 2 days with the flu. We have had a very memorable past 2 weeks, and I wanted to share them with you. I usually tell you about the missionary experiences we have in the Visitors’ Center, but I want to tell you about how “Fun” it is to be on this mission, and to participate in wonderful events here.

            I already shared with you about the “Bootiful Nauvoo,” which had over 3,000 people here on the main street up on the bluff (that is where all the hotels and stores are.” It was very fun and successful- we as missionaries were able to carve pumpkins – over 500, make up candy and kettle corn bags to give out, and ride on the Crazy Band wagon. We played funny rhythm instruments like kazoos, tambourines, and sticks along with a tape of music played through loud speakers. This was great fun to be involved.

            Then over Thanksgiving, I shared about our event where we brought 125 investigators, less-actives, and others to Nauvoo, gave them tours, and fed them a delicious dinner. Then this was followed by a show of entertainment (which we had the fun of singing and performing, telling jokes, etc. for them.)

Here isa  flyer for the Christmas Walk
            But on December 5th and 6th, we had a wonderful weekend of fun activities that I would like to share with you. For the past 3 months, besides preparing and rehearsing for this Christmas Program, we as a mission have been working on the annual traditional “Christmas Walk” that took place on Friday night. It started with a Christmas Tree Lighting in the Visitors’ Center where 400 people gathered to listen to the Warsaw High School Choir and Jazz Band. There were short speeches from the mayor, John McCarty, a nice nonmember man here, and president Gibbons. Then the missionaries sang a song, “Light up the Tree” and the mayor pushed the button to turn the lights on. So Fun!! 

            Afterwards, wagons were at the doors to take the people down to the sites where the walk began. They were dropped off down by the main Center, and spread to 4 homes that people were positioned to tell Christmas stories with musicians playing background music, i.e. guitar, violins, etc. Then at the cultural hall there was a Live Nativity acted out by missionaries too, with angels who sang, shepherds, wise men, and a harpist. It was really amazing. Then they ended the evening by coming to the Family Living Center for food; homemade cookies, fresh veggies with dip, cheeseballs with crackers, and hot chocolate and apple cider. All the sites are decorated in wonderful old-fashioned Christmas decorations, and all the sidewalks were lined with luminary bags of candles. Also along the whole street were big oil barrels with fires burning, and a group of carolers by each one singing songs- so atmospheric. I was on the Food Committee, and also sang in the live band of entertainment in the Family Living Center where the food was being served. There was a guitarist, Elder Schultz on the standup bass, a piano, and clarinet. It was so much fun, and we had people dancing to Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and Jingle Bell Rock, and singing along to other fun songs. What a great night to feel the Christmas spirit and unify this community and other neighboring towns.

Singing in the live band.

            On Saturday night, Dec. 6th, there was The Messiah, a community production that also is a tradition in this small town. Elder Schultz and I sang in it. We have been practicing every Thursday night in the Methodist church. Many people from other faiths took part. The choir had about 40 singers, with only 10 missionaries, and a live orchestra of about 16. We performed it in the St Peter and Paul Catholic Church next door to the temple. I can’t tell you what an incredible experience this was! For such a small town to put on such a professional Messiah was remarkable. And fun!! We were even treated to refreshments over in the Rectory, where the two priests live. There are no nuns there anymore since they tore down the Girls’ School which was across the street from there. The Catholic elementary school here doesn’t even have any teachers who are nuns. Now we are in the last week of our “Miracle of Christmas” concert. It is performed this Saturday and Sunday nights. We are very excited to see it all come together after so much hard work! The bell choir sounds great, the children’s chorus is sounding so good, and the live orchestra backing the big adult choir is amazing! We are trying to have it videotaped so maybe we can post some of it on our blog.

      We also had my niece come visit us this month.  It was so fun to see her.  Here a few pictures she sent for us.

             We think of you all at this special holiday season celebrating our Savior’s birth. May we live His commandments to show our love for Him and each other.                       

             Love The Schultzes

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