We are beginning to settle into our busy schedule. The crowds picked up around Easter as many families came to visit on their spring breaks. We are in a slower mode now but that will change as many school tours will be coming through in the month of May. We have received 50 new missionaries (counting us) since mid-March. Another 25 will arrive in the next three weeks. Our mission will be close to 180 senior missionaries at that point. Most all of the missionaries are on 18 month missions. In September and October around 75 missionaries will go home to lower our numbers in the quiet winter until the next spring buildup. We already hate the think of losing the good friends we are making who are experienced at all of the sites and shows and helping us learn.
Two weeks ago we received 30 sister missionaries who will be here through September. At that time they are sent on "outbound" missions to other states. About half of the ones we received were here last summer and will now complete their last six months in Nauvoo mainly working in the Visitor Center. We had a fireside last Sunday and they all reported about their outbound experiences in Houston, Washington DC, Montana and Virginia. On May 6th we will be receiving around 40 Young Performing Missionaries. They are very talented in song, dance and instruments. They are called as missionaries for four months each summer. Half of these are in a brass band that plays at the Sunset on the Mississippi Show every night and during the day they play on a horse drawn wagon at many locations. The other half are in day time shows and the nightly Sunset Show. They are unbelievably talented and full of energy. The best time to visit Nauvoo is in June-August when they are here. The busiest month here by far is July when the two Pageants run Monday-Saturday from July 5-30 this year.
There are around 25 of our senior missionaries who are called as Teamsters to work with the horses and oxen involved in the wagon tours and carriage rides. I am developing a love for these marvelous horses. Every morning at 8 am they are called in from the pastures to the barn. In the barn they each have a slot with their name above it where they have learned to go each day. They have an order they understand on lining up to enter single file and never miss finding their slots. We went for a carriage ride out through the country side last week that was very beautiful and spiritual as the Teamsters told us faith promoting stories about many of the Saints who were in Nauvoo. The animals add a special spirit to the mission.
Several people have asked me what is my favorite part of the mission. My answer is always the people we meet here. The other senior missionaries are so fun and inspirational to be with at the sites, church and other meetings. They bring many years of faithful service to the mission from all walks of life. The other group of people are those who come to visit from all over the world. It is wonderful to meet them and share the experiences of the sites and the examples of the faithful Saints who lived here from 1839 to 1846. Here is an interesting fact I learned since arriving. When the Saints fled Missouri under the extermination order put out on them, they crossed the Mississippi and were taken care of by the wonderful people of Quincy Illinois (60 miles South of Nauvoo). What I didn't know was that 5500 Saints were taken in by the 1500 people who lived in Quincy at that time. What an act of love and compassion by the Quincy people. One of my favorite conference talks this month was from Elder Kearon who talked about his European assignment and experiences meeting several of the refugees entering Europe from the mid-east turmoil.
I am so grateful to be here in Nauvoo. We are looking forward to the excitement of the summer season and so glad we were able to arrive in the first group so we can get more confident in our tours and shows, My testimony is growing for the people who lived here and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, especially for Joseph and Hyrum Smith who sealed their testimony with their blood and to the many saints who died on the trail crossing the plains to the west.
Sister Rober: Nauvoo is so beautiful here with Spring flowers in full bloom. Being here is truly a dream. We are very busy each day in the sites and in the evenings performing in "Rendezvous In Old Nauvoo" and rehearsing for "Sunset On The Mississippi" which will be up on the stage the end of May. Elder Rober recently performed in the Mission Talent Show by playing his "Nauvoo Boogie" (or "In The Mood" ragtime.) He was a big hit and I was so proud of him. We are meeting amazing people each day who come to visit Nauvoo from all over even as far away as Australia recently. Non-members often comment on "the feeling" here. They feel something very special here, We served at Carthage this past week for a day and had a most remarkable opportunity to feel the spirit there especially in the martydom room. It was truly a gift to be there. We have ancestors who lived here and made the Exodus with the Saints. I am hoping to have more time to do more research here. We are busy all the time with our schedule and soon, the summer schedule will be even busier (and we love it!!)