Friday, April 10, 2015

April 10-Easter Program, Sister Visits, Spring is Here

Us at the Prairie Fire Burning
 Dear Family and Friends,

           Two weeks have flown by since I last wrote, and so many things have happened here on our mission in Nauvoo. On March 29, we had the Easter program, “Because He Lives.” It was a great success, despite of so much illness throughout Nauvoo community and the missionaries. There was a really bad influenza, and cold going around. But we were able to pull it off, and even had about 400 people in attendance. We weren’t in charge, but were on the committee. We helped with publicity, inviting the churches to participate, and Elder Schultz wrote all the narration, and introductions. We were so pleased with the response and performances from other churches. We had 3 Methodist churches, a Catholic, and Presbyterian churches all participate. There was such a great unity and coming together, and a wonderful variety of music; string quartet, a male vocal duet, and family of 11 sang together, a rousing Methodist choir with clapping, a fiddle and guitar duet, and 2 other choirs. All songs were about the Savior, and His atonement.

             The next day, Monday, we had the annual Prairie Grass Fire and Hot dog Event. The whole city turns out, and the fire department, with the mission, lights an acre square of tall prairie grass to see how fast it burns. It burned in about 3 minutes. 

            This was to show how the pioneers had to deal with these fires on their journey west. It was great fun to have a big picnic with the city and missionaries. 

            The weather has turned into Spring and has warmed up to about 65-70 degrees. Everything is turning green, and early flowers like daffodils and tulips are blossoming.

Look what was over us as we went into church today. A beautiful rainbow!

           The first weekend in April, there was a Nauvoo Women’s Retreat out at Camp Nauvoo- owned by the Community of Christ Church. There is a nice large lodge, where  many guest speakers came, and told interesting stories about the saints who lived here. There were also some modern saints who shared some of the humanitarian projects they are working on throughout the world. It was a wonderful event.

            One special highlight this past week was having my sister Lynnae, and her husband, Carl come to visit us. They have been called to serve in the Quetzaltenango Guatemala temple, for 23 months. They wanted to come and visit us before they leave in May. We had so much fun together. I'm doing a whole separate post with her posts to show all that we did.  We went on wagon rides, visited the Nauvoo Temple (and got to climb clear up to the bell tower), and while we served in our assignments, they visited many historical sites. We also had a fun drive out to the Amish communities in Betensport and Cantril, Iowa. It was a beautiful day for a drive, but unfortunately the Amish stores were closed for “Good Friday”, however we had fun anyway. We also watched the LDS General Conference together. We were so sad to see them leave us, knowing we won’t see each other for two years.
Here we are having dinner with Carl and his brother, Phil and wife, Susan. Lynnae is taking the picture

            We were excited to welcome many new couples to the mission, including Phil and Susan Knapp (Carl’s brother). And a funny coincidence: they were assigned to the home right next door to us. We have already had a barbecue with them, and are looking forward to getting to know them better.

            I would love to tell you how much we enjoy living right on the Mississippi River. I never realized what an awesome river this is to our country! It is over 2,000 miles long and is so wide, at some points over a mile, that you can’t see to the other side. When we stand on the hill by the Temple, we can see a whole wide panorama of the river as it curves around the bend here in Nauvoo. It is full of so much life; over 200 varieties of fish, and thousands of birds feed off the river, including pelicans, eagles, ducks, and geese. In the winter it literally turns solid white with snow and ice. Barges can’t pass through from November to March. But in the Spring, we see ducks and geese with their babies walking along the river’s edge. And groups of small turtles line up on long logs to warm in the sun. All day long and into the night we hear train whistles blowing from the railroad moving along the edge of the river banks. It is very peaceful and tranquil to live along this river.

            This past week we had the privilege of going to the home of a couple who live here in Nauvoo right on the river; Brother and Sister Tukuafu. They are an older couple who left Hawaii after raising 14 children, to come and spend their golden years here in Nauvoo, and serve in the temple. They have built a cool round house that looks like a cross between a log cabin, and The Hobbit’s house. Sister Tukuafu makes beautiful musical instruments in her own wood shop, like dulcimers, harps, and lyres. She plays a beautiful harp. They sang together for us while they both played. I was in awe of their willingness to share their talents, and open their home to us. They are so welcoming and gracious. It was really a treat to experience that. By the way, Tomasi Tukuafu is from Tonga, and a cousin to Mikeli Wolfgramm through his mother, Salote.

We had a great past two weeks doing missionary work. Elder Schultz taught 3 nonmember Japanese visitors, and shared his testimony in Japanese after giving them a tour of the visitors center. I had the great experience of teaching a French couple from Quebec, nonmembers who knew nothing about the Mormons, and were so interested. There was a little language barrier, but the spirit was strong when I bore my testimony. And there were hundreds more, mostly members here on their Spring breaks, bringing their children to experience Nauvoo, and strengthen their testimonies.

We love Nauvoo, we love the Lord and His restored church is true! May you all have a testimony of this truth, and live righteously. This is what brings true happiness. I want to end with a quote by Richard G. Scott:

“When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and mind be centered in His will, when you ask to be led by the Spirit to DO His will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way, and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience.”

 Love Elder and Sister Schultz

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