Our grand daughter, Avry, has many questions about the Nauvoo Mission that I will attempt to answer.
When we say we are "working" at the Carthage Jail, we mean that we are giving people a tour of the old historic jail. We let them see a film entitled "Impressions of a Prophet" which lasts 18 minutes. Then we talk a little bit about the history of the jail. After that we take people through the jail and talk about the events that took place leading up to the martyrdom of Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844. We usually play an audio tape which talks about the particulars in the shooting of Joseph, Hyrum, and John Taylor that lasts 4 minutes. We also often bear our testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and/or the authenticity of the Book of Mormon etc, as we feel impressed. People usually have many questions so that makes every experience different. The whole tour takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
Sometimes we take guests in the "History Room" and talk about paintings and carvings that depict the beginning of the church and some historical facts relating to Joseph and Hyrum's martyrdom. This part of the tour is usually reserved for people while they wait for the next tour to start.
We often take families through with children of all ages but I'd say 80% of the guests are adults. We also have had touring groups of young adults 20-30 years old. Last summer during the busy season, they easily had 4-600 guests in a day divided into about 15 tours. Between all of us, we can host three tour groups at one time. One group can be watching the film while one group is on the main floor of the jail, with a third group on the second floor. Right now we probably average about 75 guests in a day. We guess that probably 90-95% are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but since we don't ask that question, it may be off a bit.
We have a different schedule every day. We either work from 8:45 AM to 3 PM, 11:45 AM to 6 PM, or 9:45 AM to 6 PM with a break between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM. On Sundays, we are open from 12:15 to 5 PM and we work about half of the time meaning we work the whole shift or not at all about half the time. We have taken between 2-5 tours ourselves every day since we've been here. Well, that is until today. It was very slow for some reason and we only took one group through. Wednesdays are considered our "Preparation Day" when we shop, clean, cook meals for the week, run errands, or have fun.
We drive to Nauvoo almost every day. We perform in Rendezvous twice a week, we have practice for Sunset twice a week and will start performing it the end of May again twice a week. We also have a weekly missionary meeting every Wednesday morning, a monthly Zone meeting, a monthly District meeting, and a slew of other occasional meetings. Like tomorrow morning, we have to be in Nauvoo by 7 AM for a special breakfast commemorating the Saints leaving Winter Quarters for the Salt Lake basin. We also pick up mail in Nauvoo as well as get fitted for costumes in the sewing room etc. All meetings are mandatory which makes our trips to Nauvoo way too regular for comfort.
We also take turns opening and closing the visitor's center, cleaning the jail, or doing minor jobs outside. Anything major is done by the facility manager who is a missionary like us. All 250 of us are given assignments according to the needs at the time. We'll see the guy that mows our lawn doubling as a tour guide one day or playing the piano another. A teamster may be asked to be a facilities manager for the summer in place of caring for horses, but he may also be asked to sing a duet in Rendezvous. I think of Shakespeare, "What ere thy part, act well thy part". Being shy or having stage fright is not part of our vernacular. We are simply expected to get over it. There are even times our talents are magnified in answer to other missionaries prayers.
It seems that nothing here is optional. We all attend everything; participate fully in whatever is expected; and where we lack in talent or ability, is made up for as someone over us is praying that we'll come through. Amazing that it works so beautifully.
We've also enjoyed Susan Easton Black Durrant's lectures on the prophets. We've made it to two of the three she has offered. They are always in Nauvoo of course.
We still read scriptures every morning and read church history every chance we get. Gregg still reads an hour or two while I am good to get in 30 minutes. We still run, walk, or exercise at least 4 days a week, but we often have meetings that interfere with our routine. We are trying to eat the same as before our mission. Most of the other missionaries in Carthage eat fast food a good share of the time, but that doesn't work very well for us. We've made a big pot of soup every week so far. We also eat fresh ground bread for toast or tuna sandwiches, Peleo granola or popcorn for dessert, fish, tacos, burritos, or other easy to prepare meals. Elder Johnson still makes breakfast with sausage, cooked frozen vegetables, and eggs. We even had awful waffles when Adam was here.
So there is our life in a nut shell. Is that about as clear as mud? Feel free to comment so I know what you're interested in hearing about.
I always have to include a "funny". On Tuesday of this week a two year old on the tour kept calling me, "Grandma". The parents seemed a bit embarrassed for some reason so I replied, "I'd love to be his grandma." The todler immediately whipped back, "Where's grandpa?"