|Joseph and Emma Smith, Nauvoo Women's Garden (Photo by Pickle Barrel)|
October was an interesting month in the mission. I was thinking the crowds would continue to diminish but that was not the case. There were many bus tours and visitors in October making the sites more crowded than September. They were mainly people wanting to see the leaves turning but also people hoping for that perfect weather month - not too hot or too cold. They were not disappointed on that front. The weather was actually above average levels. In fact for the city Halloween activity it was 80 degrees and it was pleasant because the humidity is gone. We did have one morning where we had to scrape ice of the windshield to remind us of what is on the way.
Almost all of the corn and soy beans have been harvested from the fields. The fall colors are quite spectacular. Here are some examples near some of the famous historical sites.
|The Red Brick Store|
|Joseph Smith Homestead (Photo by Pickle Barrel)|
On Halloween, the City of Nauvoo hosted a Boo-ti-ful Nauvoo Festival. They estimate 5,000 people came to our little 1,000 person town. The missionaries were involved in the activities and parade. The main street was lined with over 500 pumpkins that were carved with great skill by members of the community and missionaries. The high light of the day was an old fashioned Halloween parade open to anyone who wanted to march in their costume. It was a fun night for everyone in attendance and the mission to be a part of the activities.
|Lots of work carving pumpkins|
|Very detailed and artistic talents|
|Senior Missionary Halloween wagon with entertainment|
In the winter months there will definitely be more free time in the sites including a few days where no one may come into a site. During this free time the missionaries can study and/or work on humanitarian projects. We are blessed that starting this year our missionaries have received access to the Teaching Center. This is a world wide internet based system where people can call, text, chat and e-mail their questions about the church. The Church also makes free Bibles and Book of Mormons available to those who request them. As a missionary, we can log on and click on people who are routed to the system with their questions and requests. It is amazing to me to see how many people are logged in to mormon.org and send in requests seeking answers to their questions. We can answer their questions and, in cases where they approve, have missionaries deliver the books or make personal visits to further answer their questions. We can stay in touch with the people and become their friends as they meet with the local missionaries. I am participating every minute I can find on the system. I have been in contact with people from Ireland, England, Russia, Nigeria, Brazil and many US States. In our historical mission we don't have many opportunities to meet and know people more as they pass through our site to the next. This is giving those who want to participate a chance to engage in more conventional proselyting work.
We are enjoying our mission. What a marvelous opportunity to meet so many people who visit and contact the Teaching Center. We are making new friends with our fellow missionaries. We are experiencing a change in seasons and seeing the beauty of the Midwest and the Mississippi River. We are learning so much more about Church history and the church members who lived here between 1939-1846. We are learning about the Midwest and getting to know some of the people who now live here and call it home. We are learning about farming and the big part that it plays in the lives of people living here in America's heartland. We are enjoying our little grandma house in this very small town that receives 250,000 visitors every year who want to learn more about the history and see the spectacular pageants. We are learning of the great joy that comes from being a missionary and testifying about our Savior Jesus Christ and the restored gospel.
There are Thanksgiving and Christmas activities planned for the community and mission. We look forward to our holidays here in Illinois but we will miss being around our family and friends. Thank goodness for social media and Facetime to see and feel the excitement of the grand kids.
All our love,
Elder and Sister Rober