Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 26, 2015- City Presentations, RS Reenactment & New Assignments

Dear Family and Friends,

            How are you all? Time just seems to fly by so quickly! And every week is packed with so many activities here in Nauvoo. After my last letter, on March 18, we had the presentation at Burlington for their Mayor, and 50 Chamber of Commerce members. It went well, except for when we showed the 3 minutes video of Nauvoo, there was no sound- so the silence was embarrassing. We were using their computer, and they said it was working fine when they tested it. But other than that, it was very successful. We have followed up by scheduling a VIP tour for several of them to come to Nauvoo in May to have a wagon ride and short tour of the historic sites. We are hoping this will unify our “region,” and that they will want to refer many visitors to Nauvoo.

            Later that afternoon, I was able to attend the Relief Society Organization Reenactment in the Red Brick Store. All of us 40 sister missionaries wore our pioneer dresses, and rode in wagons down to the store.  We took pictures together as a group, and then went upstairs. Several missionaries took the parts of Joseph Smith, John Taylor, and Willard Richards. And then there were also many sisters depicting Emma Smith, Sarah Kimball, Lucy Mack Smith, Bathsheba Smith and others. What an amazing experience this was! I can’t even put it into words, to do it justice. To be there in the actual place the Relief Society was organized meant so much to me and all of us.   We sang the same hymns they sang, and the same words were spoken, taken from the notes of Willard Richards. Then I felt very honored to be asked to give the closing prayer as one of the only relatives of Emma Smith. (My great, great aunt)

            Last week, the director of “Rendezvous,” Sister Jones, handed us the script to learn a new vignette. Right now the 3 casts have been dwindling as missionaries go home. We are the only Peter and Abigail, until new missionaries can learn the part. But now she wants us to learn “Thomas and Elizabeth” who sing a song together at the end. We are working on memorizing and blocking it too. We are still very nervous, but have faith we can do it.

            Elder Schultz was also asked to be the new Audio Visual missionary for the mission! This is in addition to his other regular duties, and extra projects, i.e. updating the new website and directing the Visitor Center. He basically is in charge of setting up all the microphones, computers with power points, and lighting in the theaters for every training, sociable (fireside), Sunday meetings, etc. I guess he knows a lot about sound and lighting from his years of show experience! He also recently finished writing the whole script and introductions for the Easter program/concert that will be held this Sunday at the stake center. We have over 6 churches participating in this Interfaith Program, with 3 choirs, a string quartet, a family of 9 singing together, male and female soloists, and other various numbers. It should be a wonderful evening of music and spoken word; different from our Miracle of Christmas, but just as good.

            We were so excited and happy to welcome 12 new couples to our mission this past week. They are from all over Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. About 18 more couples come next month! We have been so short staffed, that many of the sites are shared by one set of missionaries. 

            We continue to have wonderful missionary experiences in the Visitor's Center. A Young Men's quorum from Arkansas- about 12 of them, plus leaders came to ride bikes down the Carthage trail, for a scout patch, and then tour Nauvoo.  Their leader said that he was helping to prepare future missionaries, and wanted them to “feel” the spirit here. Elder Schultz gave them a tour and was able to share his testimony as he told about these valiant saints who lived here, but had faith to follow a prophet to leave and go west.

 We also had 17 German exchange students come in today. All of them nonmembers, and had not even heard of Mormons. We gave them a wagon ride, they watched our 20-minute movie, and we handed them a bag with brochures and pamphlets. Also this week we have had numerous families on Spring Break from Idaho and Utah. It is so fun to help them plan their visit here, to make it memorable for their children.

We are surely very busy! We perform twice a week now, and we practice for the upcoming Sunset by the Mississippi show twice a week. We are also in the Mission Talent Show next week, performing our song and jokes from last summer. But I am also singing in a duet with another sister in my cast. So we spend extra time practicing for that and learning our new parts in the musical. Whew! But we love it here, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

We have also gotten to know many of the people who live here in Nauvoo as permanent citizens. We work with Kim Ourth, head of tourism, and a descendant of the Baxter winery people. She is a young mother, expecting her second baby, and such a hard worker. She is a strong and valiant Catholic woman, and we love her. We also have grown close to LuAnn, who has been the owner of the Nauvoo Pharmacy for 35 years, and a nonmember. Also I love Marian, a Lutheran here who is our postmistress in the little Nauvoo Post Office. Craig Dunn, the chiropractor, and his wife conduct tours down the Carthage Trail, and are great people. Lachland McKay, head of the Community of Christ sites and descendant of Joseph Smith has also become our good friend. We bond over being Smiths together, and he always pull me aside to tell me the latest “information” he has discovered about our ancestors. We love many members, too, who helped us and performed in the "Miracle of Christmas" show. The Miller, Saunders, Evans and Seaman families are awesome.  I taught all of their young children in the program, and we loved seeing them at Stake Conference last week. And many more that I can’t mention, but we understand now why it is so hard to leave here when our mission is done, because you grow to love the local people so much!

I better close now, because it is getting late. We surely love it when you write us back, even if it is only a few lines. We feel so distant and out of touch with everyone, so it really means a lot to us. If any of you are planning a trip here this summer, please let us know in advance so we can help reserve tickets for shows, and plan your itinerary. That is what we do best! We love you all, and we love serving this mission for the Lord, and sharing his restored gospel to all we meet!

Love Elder and Sister Schultz

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