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

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