Our week has been crazy again and I have to tell a story on Elder Johnson. The 45 minute tour that we offer of the jail starts with an 18 minute film. After visiting with the guests for a bit, we usually step out while the film is playing. We watch the timer and come back a minute or two before the end. So, on one of the tours last week near the end of a busy day, we entered the dark room where the film was playing and sat in the back of the room with one minute to spare. By the time it ended, Elder Johnson was fast asleep. Wow! That has to be a record even for him.
The number of visitors is still about 300 to 400 per day. However, with the commemoration of Joseph and Hyrum's death this coming Friday, June 27th, we are expecting mayhem. Friday, we will have a special program outside where we can accommodate more guests. The mayors of Carthage, Nauvoo, Quincy, and Warsaw have been invited and the sites in Nauvoo are closing at 4 PM so all can come to Carthage. Closing early in Nauvoo, almost never happens. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
We are planning to shorten the tours to about 12 minutes rather than the 25 to 30 minutes each that day. Last yea,r there were almost 1200 visitors on June 27th and more are expected this year.
Below is a weird phenomena that we notice on cloudy days when the light is just right. In the Visitor's Center there are these two pictures of Joseph and Hyrum.
The Old Jail can be seen through the windows of the Visitor's Center across from these pictures. The picture of Joseph is reflected in the window of the jail. Can you see him below?
Hyrum's picture is reflected in the door of the summer kitchen. My photo didn't pick it up very well, but he's there if you look close.
The Visitor's Center was completed years before the pictures were hung so I'm guessing it's all coincidence (we don't really believe in coincidences), but it's kind of cool and fun to point out to the guests.
Below are two of the young sister missionaries in Nauvoo. There are 20 full time sister missionaries with six at a time serving in Carthage with us. We love them! They are so much fun.
They serve for 18 months serving here only during the summer. During the winter, they are called to an "outbound" mission that can be anywhere in the country. The ones who have served outbound talk well of their experience.
That does not include the young performing missionaries. They are only here for part of the summer and include band members as well as singers and dancers. I believe there are about 20 in each group. They are absolutely amazing. Of course, being called as a missionary adds strength when needed.
We attended a "going away" party for one of the senior missionary couples yesterday. Some of them only serve for six months during the summer as teamsters due to the increase of buggy and wagon rides needed. In the winter, they offer sleigh rides pulled by horses but the number of guests is much lower so we don't need as many teamsters. Most mission calls are for 18 months starting in the spring, so, we serve two summers and only one winter. Both missionary and guest numbers will drop drastically in the fall.
Actually,we are expecting everything to slow way down after the pageant in July. In fact, for the first time ever, there are two pageants this summer. The original pageant is about the saints leaving Nauvoo and migrating to the Salt Lake Valley, while the new one (this year only) is about the saints migrating from England to Nauvoo.
At the "going away" party we were each asked to tell an embarrassing memory. Many of the missionaries had horse stories to tell that we couldn't really relate to or compete with. However, with the topic at hand, I told of a time when we visited Huntley's in Tennessee. I have to use quite a bit of hair product to make my hair behave and one time during a quiet moment in church (sacrament meeting), two year old Morgan said rather loudly, "Gamma, you have cwap in your hair!"
We miss our family and friends.
I suspect I will have many more embarrassing moments to tell. Elder Johnson and I have been asked to be in a vignette for Rendezvous which includes singing. I will have to sing a few lines by myself.
Yikes! my willingness to "go and do" where ever and what ever I'm called to do is strained. I need a Nauvoo miracle or two...perhaps a sweeter sounding voice and nerves of steel would be nice. I think I had more confidence when I was younger and knew less.
Elder Johnson, on the other hand, is delighted. He plans to "tear them up". Whatever that means. My hope is that our strengths will rub off on each other which can and has happened already.
Truth is... it's not all about me. None of the missionaries are here to shine or look impressive to others. Our purpose is to have the sweet Spirit of the Lord with us and carry a message of love in whatever we're asked to do.
As Shakespeare said, "What er thou art, act well thy part." With a little (or perhaps, a lot) of help, it's all good.