Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer Has Arrived

Judging by the weather, summer has definitely arrived.  Most days in the month of June have been over 90 degrees.  We are lucky that the humidity has been moderate so it has been bearable.  We are in need of rain.  Everyone here counts on summer showers to water the lawns and especially their corn fields.  Last June was an very wet month.  Looking forward to several days in the 80's in next weeks forecast.  Working around the forge in the blacksmith is the worst hot day site assignment.  They keep close track of the heat index here.  If it were to get to 105 (with the humidity effect) all outdoor activities are shut down.

This month we were in the mode of performing our shows.  The Sunset on the Mississippi show takes place at 7 pm every night.  There are three casts of senior missionaries.  Each cast performs twice per week.  Our nights for Sunset in June were Monday/Thursday.  That rotates every month so we begin Tuesday/Friday for July this week. Sister Rober and I perform a specialty number as part of the show one time each week.  Here is a video of our number.


I am surprised at how I am being stretched on this mission.  I never would have believed that I would ever be able to play the piano in front of an audience.  Her partner in the number is one of the Young Performing Missionaries (YPM) that come here every summer to sing and dance in the shows and around town.  Here are the YPM's air born in their clogging number in the show.

This is the Nauvoo Brass Band that accompanies the show.

The Senior Missionaries do a group polka number.  Sister Rober and I are in this shot.

The excitement level is beginning to build for the Nauvoo Pageants.  Beginning on July 5 and running through the month of July, there are performances at 8:30 pm every night except Sunday.  There is a Nauvoo Pageant and a British Pageant. The British Pageant is the story of the Mormon missionaries who traveled to England in the 1830's and their efforts to preach the Gospel there.  There were many people who accepted their message, were baptized and immigrated to the America.  Many of them made their way to Nauvoo. The Nauvoo Pageant is the story of this growth of this beautiful city from arrival in 1839 to the exodus in February of 1846.  During the peak period of Nauvoo, there were around 15,000 people living here.  It was equal in population to Chicago during this period.

They have a pretty cool program associated with the pageant.  Around 25 families travel here to be extras in the production for a two week period.  In their first week they practice. In the second week they are in the show.  In the week they perform, another group of families arrive for practice and so it goes for the month.  It is a commitment of time but a memory for life for the lucky families that are picked to come here.  The Senior Missionaries in our mission have no official parts in the pageant activities.  We do have the opportunity on an optional basis to come on the stage at the end of the British Pageant and sing the Mormon Missionary Anthem "Called to Serve" as part of the finale.  We are looking forward to doing this a few times.

Our work in the sites continues to be wonderful experience.  As we testify of the stories of the residents of Nauvoo it increases our appreciation of the lessons we can learn from their faith and endurance to make it through difficult times.  Our goal is to have people go home from Nauvoo inspired to do hard things in their lives as they remember the examples of those who lived here.  Our tours are growing in numbers as the Pageants near. During the year, around 250,000 visitors come to this town which has a population of around 1,000 people.  In the month of July during Pageant the visitors number around 50,000.  The missionaries who were here last summer are warning us to prepare for a wild month as this little town reaches a fever pitch and our tours can have over twenty visitors every fifteen minutes. One of the fun things that happens is meeting people here that we know from back home and they have no idea we are serving as missionaries.  Several times we meet friends of our children who recognize the name on our badges.  The summer schedule is physically tiring with six hour shifts in the sites and shows four nights per week.  We love the pace and the Spirit that comes with it.  It feels good to crash in bed at night totally exhausted.  Each week we get one day off - our Preparation Day - to go grocery shopping, clean the house and catch up on the wash.

The summer sunsets are supposed to be spectacular.  Due to our drought and the lack of clouds we are waiting for that experience.  Here is my best sunset picture so far.  You can see the Mississippi River in the background.

This is a sculpture of Joseph and Hyrum Smith riding out of town to go to Carthage where they were both murdered by an angry mob on June 27, 1844.  They sealed their testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with their blood on that fateful day.

The Church does an excellent job of maintaining the grounds in such a beautiful manner.  Here are some other interesting pictures of the beautiful grounds and some of our animal friends.

I have taken to flowers here due to the spirit of the grounds. This is the side entrance to our little home and the extent of my flower garden.  It is easy to weed and keep up this small area.

That is our June report.  We are looking forward to the challenges and excitement of July Pageant month.

Love to all,

Elder and Sister Rober