Friday, September 2, 2016

End of Summer

This is our MTC (Missionary Training Center) Group.  In what seems like a blink of an eye we are now 6 months from the date we entered the MTC.  We can't believe how fast the mission is passing by and what a wonderful blessing it is to be called to serve here in Nauvoo.  Today was a sad day. We had a breakfast honoring 20 couples who are returning home in September following their 18 month mission.

In October and November another 20 couples will leave.  They are marvelous people who trained us at all our sites and were examples to us in every aspect of the mission.  We love them and will miss them.  They will be friends for life.   The best part of serving in this mission is the people - our fellow missionaries and the guests who come into our sites and see our shows.

We will be going from around 180 missionaries to 100 for the winter months.  There will be occasional days where we may not have anyone visit our site.  It will be such a change from the hectic summer months.  This is a very unique mission in several ways.  The summer/winter effect is definitely one of the major unique aspects.  You may ask what will we do to pass the time. In the past our missionaries have worked on humanitarian projects in the sites in addition to reading books and working on family history projects.  This winter we will be blessed with another option.  We will have access to the Church online Teaching Center. This program has links to the many Church websites that people can request contact with missionaries regarding questions they may have about the Church or receiving a free copy of the Bible or Book of Mormon. It is my understanding that only missionaries at Temple Square and Nauvoo are connected to this program.  I have been testing it.  It is amazing to see how many people are online and want to receive more information.  I have talked to English speaking people in Brazil and Europe.  It will give us an opportunity to get more personal with people who have an interest.  It will be a different environment than our tours where we testify of Christ and deliver Spiritual messages but only occasionally can talk one on one with the guests.  I am excited to make this tool an important part of the winter time.

With the departure of the stalwart couples in the next few months, the torch is being passed on some leadership callings for next spring and summer.  Sister Rober and I have been called to be Directors of the senior missionaries in the Sunset by the Mississippi Show.  Our job will be to train them on the music and choreography for all of the numbers involving senior missionaries in the show.  Obviously my resume had a small part with us being selected but the mission will be blessed with all of Sister Rober's experience in performances and teaching dance and theater to her students.  We are excited to work together on this project.  Elder Harry and Sister Nancy Schultz, personal friends of ours, were just called as the Directors of Nauvoo Entertainment and they have responsibility for the Sunset and Rendezvous shows.  We are excited to have the chance to work with them on our Sunset assignment. Here is a picture of Sister Rober with Elder and Sister Schultz (on left) and Elder and Sister Lowe. Sister Lowe is the Director of the Rendezvous Show.  Everyone one in the picture were members of the BYU Young Ambassador group many years ago.

We have already started one of our winter projects regarding the show. There is a children's parade in the Sunset Show every night.  Before the show, they get to color paper hats that they wear in the parade.  Our job is to prepare around 3,000 folded hats for next year's shows. We are distributing the materials to the sites already to have other missionaries help in the production of the hats.  I am also taking on the winter project of learning the banjo to be a potential member of the accompaniment band.  This may not be a good thing for my companions at the winter sites.

It is hard not to look back on the fantastic summer experiences and the spirit of the Pageants and other summer shows.  I feel I have written enough for this month but do want to share several pictures to help you share in our mission experiences.

Here are our 2016 cast pictures for the Sunset and Rendezvous shows.

My favorite summer shows were the BYU Folk Dancers and Vocal Point Group.

Here are a few additional Pageant pictures.  The first is the Young Performing Missionaries dancing in the Nauvoo Pageant. The second is the finale scene of the British Pageant.  The Senior Missionaries were invited to the stage to sing in the final number.  We did it a few times and it was fun.

And last but not least, here is a picture of Elder and Sister Rober enjoying serving as companions in this mission. The mission has been an wonderful opportunity to become closer in our lives!

Love to all!

Elder and Sister Rober