Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015-Lots of new things, my walk in the Groves, and Elder Schultz speaking japanese

Dear Friends and Family,

            It has been three weeks since I last wrote and time seems to fly by so quickly. I apologize because this will be a long letter. Spring is here and Nauvoo is beautiful and green once again. We have had a lot of rain, and are still wearing sweaters and jackets, but it is warming up.

 Tonight we had our first district meeting with our new “Martin Harris” district. We have the Harwoods, who came out with our MTC group last year, and he is the first counselor in the presidency. We also have 2 young single sister missionaries, and two new couples; the Sullivans and Swensons, both from Utah. We had dinner here, and then discussed the principles President Gibbons was taught at the Mission Presidents training conference in Denver last month. All twelve apostles were there, which shows how important missionary work is to our leaders. This great work of bringing souls unto Christ is their first priority, and we surely feel it out here on our mission. We received the last 5 couples on Friday, so now we are up to our full quota for missionaries. And we really do need them! We are getting more and more visitors per day here; we average about 300-400 a day, and that will increase when school gets out.

Elder Schultz with Nauvoo Temple President James MacArthur. An old missionary leader from Japan. He was his AP.

            One big event here is the re-opening of the local grocery store, formerly named “Duck’s.” It is now the "Nauvoo Market," and was bought by 2 LDS men, and remodeled. It opened last Friday, and we are so glad! It is clean and very light, and has well stocked shelves. Now we don’t have to travel to Keokuk for everything!

            We have more new responsibilities added to our very busy lives. I became a wagon narrator last week, and narrated three school field trip wagons. It was a lot of fun telling 30 children on each wagon all about Nauvoo, and pointing out the different homes and shops. I only get to do it once a week, until we get busier. We only have six wagons and six carriages going out now, but starting next week, we will have 18 wagons and carriage rides. This is exciting!

            All of the new summer shows start next Saturday, May 23, including the outdoor "Sunset by the Mississippi" show. We are all busy learning our songs and actions to participate. They chose Harry and I to perform our song and jokes again. And then I will also be singing the duet with Sister Swindler and the blue grass band. That leads to Elder Schultz’s new job: he will be performing every night in that show, not just twice a week with our cast. That means we will not be doing our Peter and Abigail vignette, and I will go to Rendezvous show alone. The reason is that he is needed to play for several specialty numbers with his bass, in the small bluegrass band. Needless to say, he is in heaven!! One of the Young Performing Missionaries plays a five string banjo, so they have his bass, a guitar, a strumming banjo, and the picking banjo. A girl also plays a fiddle. So their band is playing “Dueling Banjos,” “Orange Blossom Special” and about 5 other numbers they are backing up. AND he is helping setup the sound equipment for the show, and making sure everything is hooked up correctly, so that the YPM sound intern can run it; lots of cords, cables, cordless microphones, and monitors. He is really  reliving his former life of shows and loving it!

            We are also very busy on the Public Affairs Committee. We are preparing for two BYU groups to come in the month of June: The Young Ambassadors and the Ballroom Dance Team. We have been setting up outreach events for them to help with service projects, and then perform at local cities i.e. Keokuk, Burlington, Fort Madison (our 2 cities), Carthage, Quincy, Hamilton and Montrose. This is to do missionary work, by getting people to come to Nauvoo to see them perform. We are also getting publicity materials out like flyers and posters- flooding the stores and public places. Elder Schultz and I are also hosting a VIP tour with all the leaders of Burlington on May 28- the mayor and 20 people are coming here (it is about an hour away) and we are providing a continental breakfast for them, taking them on wagon rides and to see some sites. A lot of planning has gone into this, so we hope it turns out!

            Elder Schultz also can’t get away from feeding the multitudes! 2 weeks ago he put on a “Grateful” breakfast to all of the FM (Facilities Management) people, men and women who literally run the place. There are about 60- he did a pancakes, sausages, and drinks, and they loved it. They have a big “break room” down at their complex, and he used their large griddle. This week he is feeding breakfast to all the teamsters: about 30 of them! He can’t get catering out of his blood!

             We continue to serve in the Visitor's Center as the site leaders, which means we are training lots of new couples on how to greet people, give them tours, help them plan their activities, show films, and be missionaries. We had a few familiar visitors this past two weeks. Buddy Youngreen, our good friend from Utah who was head of the Joseph Smith Sr. Family Organization for 33 years came with 2 friends. He is an expert on Nauvoo and Church History. We didn’t know he was coming, but we spent our whole Friday P-day with them, and he took us to special unknown places involving the Smith families. What a treat this was to listen to him explain many unique things. Then Devin Davis, or Elder Davis, who was a YPM last summer, came back to Nauvoo for a week-long visit, and he stayed with us in our extra bedroom. We really bonded and became his “other parents” last year, so we enjoyed catching up with him. Then yesterday, we saw and visited with Lacey Murdock and her new husband Barry ( I don’t remember their last name). She was in the Fullerton 8th singles ward when Harry was the bishop. They live in Arizona now, and seem so happy! We love seeing old friends and meeting new ones. That is one great thing about being in the Visitor's Center.

            I had a wonderful personal experience yesterday. I went on a walk down on the flats of Nauvoo, in what we call “The Groves.” They are next to the pageant stage, and it reminded me so much of The Sacred Grove. There is a winding path with “reader boards” telling about sermons given in the groves around Nauvoo by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young and others. They had to meet outside because there were no buildings big enough. It was a beautiful sunny day, with a quiet breeze blowing, and the birds were singing. I just sat on a bench and took it all in- I took time to ponder things, and just listen to the sounds. It was an amazing time and it really fed my soul. I was overcome with gratitude of being on a mission in this sacred place, and how much I have grown to love the former saints who lived here, but also the new people we have met; fellow missionaries, and Nauvoo citizens. I will really miss them when we have to leave in 7 months.

            I was privileged to give many tours these past weeks to nonmembers, and share my testimony. I met a great family from Japan yesterday who were here visiting, and chose to come to Nauvoo; a grandfather with his daughter and 3 grandchildren. They were not members but loved the history. I gave them Japanese Books of Mormon, and told what our church believed. Elder Schultz spoke Japanese to them and it was a special time. We have these experiences several times a day.
I am so grateful that I have this gospel to guide my life, and grateful for the Lord making it possible by restoring His church on the earth in these latter days. We are having an awesome mission!!!
Love to all of you,
Elder and Sister Schultz
Or (Mom and Dad)

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