Friday, November 6, 2015

November 6, 2015 - Packed Up and Ready (not ready) to Say Goodbye!

Getting ready to leave.  We're all packed in our little car ready to drive across country to visit our children and get home to Brea, California.

It's been hard to say goodbye, but we made some good memories while here.  And we loved serving the Lord and being hands in His work.  Goodbye Nauvoo!

This is me in front of our little house we lived in while serving as missionaries.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27, 2015- Farewell Nauvoo

I love this red bush in front of our house during Fall.
Dear Family and Friends,

            I am sad to say this will be our last letter here in the mission field. We will be leaving on November 6, 2015 to come home. We will have been here for twenty months, and have had a wonderful mission. We received news last week that Elder Schultz (Harry) has prostate cancer that has spread into his left pelvic bone, and we need to go home to start treatments. As a result, we won’t be able to put on the Miracle of Christmas concert again. But we are handing it over to very capable missionaries here who have had much experience in music, pageants, productions, so we know it will be a success. 

Last dinner with our missionary group before going home last August
Our last performance of Sunset on the Mississippi

As we end our mission, a flood of feelings and memories keep coming to us. We feel so blessed and honored to have been called here to serve. What an awesome experience to represent those early saints who actually lived here in Nauvoo. I would like to share some of the wagon narration I give each week to visitors here, both members and nonmembers of our church:
            “We hope you’ve caught the spirit of Nauvoo as you’ve traveled with us today. It takes all kinds of people to make a community. In Old Nauvoo thousands came from many walks of life to form a community of believers in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will be able to hear more about the lives of those courageous men and women who built this city from a swampland in only six and half years, as you go through these homes and shops. They gave their all to build this beautiful city and the beautiful temple on the hill.”

            And another wonderful quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley about Nauvoo’s temple that I share:
            “Today facing west, on the high bluff overlooking the city of Nauvoo, across the Mississippi and over the plains of Iowa, there stands Joseph’s temple, a magnificent house of God. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, facing east to that beautiful temple in Nauvoo stands Brigham’s temple, the Salt Lake Temple. They look towards one another as bookends, between which there are volumes that speak of the suffering, the sorrow, the sacrifice, even the deaths of thousands who made the long journey from the Mississippi River to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.”

            These are examples of the kinds of people and stories that we have represented for the past 20 months. What a privilege! And most of all, I honor my own great great grandparents on both my mother’s and father’s sides who lived here. The Smiths, Whitings, Coxes, Berrys, Fieldings, and Harrises all left here and followed a prophet, Brigham Young, across the United States to Utah because of their strong faith. Oh how hard that must have been to walk away from their homes, businesses, farms, gardens, orchards, and load a wagon and head to an unknown place in the Rocky Mountains. Being here and seeing and living it has made this place come alive for me.

            We feel that we have gained so much more than we could have ever given on this mission. The other missionaries we have served with are valiant people, who have spent their lives in service to the Lord. We have grown to love them so much! They will be lifelong friends, almost like family. Our families have been blessed while being out here. Three grand babies have been born while here and three grandchildren baptized. Our business has carried on successfully, thanks to our sons, Ben, Ryan and Harrison.
       We have met hundreds of wonderful people from all over the United States and the world, while serving in the Visitor Center. We hope we have planted seeds of the gospel, and helped strengthen church members too. We have gotten acquainted with the amazing local citizens who live here in Nauvoo like Mayor McCarty, Fathers Sydlick and Tony from St Peter and Paul Catholic church, our pharmacist Luann Haas, Marian in the post office, Barton Golding, president of Chamber of Commerce, Kim Orth, young mom of 2 girls and head of Nauvoo Tourism, Robert Saint, owner of a hair salon, Durrell Nelson, in the temple presidency and owns the Fudge Shop, Laurie Peterson, director of the Nauvoo orchestra, Rick Marshall, the temple recorder and conductor of our Christmas concert- and so many more! We will miss them all! We have also been blessed by going out in the communities of Burlington and Fort Madison as members of the public affairs committee.  We met many Christian people with strong values who we have learned so much from, and made great friends.

Missionary friends at last breakfast before we all leave this month
       We have been able to attend the beautiful Nauvoo temple many times. What a blessing to be in that sacred House of the Lord, a replica of the original one that was destroyed. We will miss it so much. Our testimonies have been strengthened by our weekly and monthly trainings from our presidency and zone leaders. We also have been spiritually fed by church leaders who have come here to teach us i.e. Elder Tom Perry, Elder Jeffrey Holland, and many members from the Seventies quorums, and the Durrants.

       We have also felt the power of prayer and priesthood blessings on our mission.

            Elder Schultz and I have been performing a vignette called Thomas and Elizabeth in the Rendezvous nightly show. It is about a husband and wife who are preparing to leave and go west. But she doesn’t want to go, and he has to convince her, which he finally does. We sing a duet together at the end with very tender words which I would like to share in closing, and it expresses our true feelings about leaving Nauvoo:
            “And so Nauvoo, I say farewell to you, with numb and aching heart, one last adieu
            As through our tears we look to homes beyond, will ever we be fond of one as you?
            One cardinal song, one sunset glow, one Nauvoo dawn, one silhouette of woods on             snow…
            On templed hill, faint echoes ring…. Where prophets walked and talked with God,
            Their memories linger…
            And so we go and hide our aching hearts, No one will see our tears when we depart
            This home we leave will shelter memories clear, of all that we hold dear….In Old
             Nauvoo…. Farewell Nauvoo, Farewell Nauvoo.”

Thank you everyone who has written to us, encouraged us, sent us gifts, packages of treats and supported us on this mission. This place has truly made us better people than before, and we are grateful we had the opportunity to serve here in this blessed place.
We love you all, and look forward to seeing you soon.

Love Elder Harry and Sister Nancy Schultz

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October 15, 2015-Bootiful Nauvoo, Crick Cousins, old friends come to live

Dear Family and Friends;
            It has been a while since we last wrote, but time seems to fly by quickly. It is hard to remember what has happened in the last 3 weeks. It slowed down a bit here in Nauvoo in September, but the past 10 days in October have been crazy busy again like the summer. Many families are here on their fall breaks. It is becoming the beautiful autumn season, and the trees are turning many bright colors of reds, yellows, and oranges. I love this time of year. It is not cold yet, but chilly in the mornings and evenings; sweater weather. All of our fellow missionaries we came here with have left and gone home. But we have become good friends with the new missionaries who came out here last spring.

We were so excited to welcome Elder Schultz’s 11 Crick cousins from Indiana the end of September. We have an annual reunion in Indiana, but this year they came to Nauvoo! They stayed in the Motel Nauvoo right next to our home. We had Donald, Evelyn, Roberta and Joann, siblings from Aunt Mary, and their spouses. Also we had Nancy and Janet from Aunt Louise’s family with their spouses, and Ernie who is the husband of Doris, Uncle John’s daughter. She passed away this year, but we were so glad to have him come. The night they arrived we hosted a barbecue at our home, and the morning they left we also had a big breakfast.  We kept them busy for two days riding wagons, eating at the buffet, and visiting most of the historic sites. They also saw our Rendezvous show in the evening with our vignette “Thomas and Elizabeth”. We laughed so much, and had a wonderful time renewing family bonds. They are great hardworking, family-oriented, wonderful Christian people. We love them so much and appreciated that they made the effort to come here, so that we could join them.

            We have been busy in our regular assignments in the Visitors' Center, greeting guests, putting on movies, giving tours, solving technical problems in the building and helping with the media and sound system. Elder Schultz keeps the schedule and website up to date, and I still enjoy narrating on the wagon rides once a week. In addition, we were in charge of the concert that was here last Saturday night on our outdoor stage. In August, President Gibbons asked us to be in charge of this event, and we accepted. So we worked with the mission to help sponsor, with Nauvoo Tourism, “The Nashville Tribute Band”. We were in charge of all logistics, contracts, making sure the outdoor stage was ready with sound and lighting, and publicity; flyers, posters, press releases, etc. We are happy to announce that it was a resounding success!! We had an audience of over 1,000 people, and the concert was great! If you have never heard them before, please go on their website, and listen to some of their music. They are actually made up of 3 separate groups, all LDS professional musicians and songwriters in Nashville that come together to pay tribute to different people, such as Joseph Smith, the pioneers, and this one was called “The Redeemer”.  They wrote this program in honor of Jesus Christ, and from the perspective of those who knew him personally such as the Pharisees, Peter and other apostles, Mary Magdalene etc. What an amazing message they portrayed through beautiful music. 

      For the concert, we were excited to welcome our son Sam and his girlfriend, Maddie, and also Ryan Williams and his wife, Heather, who came for the concert. We had a fun weekend with them. Sam was the only one who had been here in Nauvoo before, so we showed the rest of them through the historic sites, etc.

    We've still had many visitors, even though the summer excitement has died down.  A few young sisters from last summer came back to visit us.  Four of them now live across the street from my sister, Cheryl, and are going to BYU.

            We are now involved in starting rehearsals for “The Miracle of Christmas” concert which will be December 19 and 20. We had over 50 attend our first choir rehearsal last Sunday. We will also have a children’s choir and live orchestra. It’s exciting to be part of this great event again. Our release date to go home is on Dec. 22, and we are trying to make it home by Christmas, depending on the highways. We have loved this mission so much, and will be leaving part of our hearts here in Nauvoo. It has truly changed our lives,and made us better people. Our testimonies and spirituality have grown in leaps and bounds!

            Many of our friends have come to visit, but we were excited when some of our dear friends, Bob & LeeAndra Lowe were called on the same mission as us.  We are able to spend lots of time with them before we leave.

            We are anxious to return home and get our house in order again. And we look forward to seeing all of you too. Thank you so much for your support. We love you all.

Love Elder and Sister Schultz