Our Stake President, Michael Jones, came to Nauvoo. I'd like to say that he came to see us, but actually, his mother is a missionary here in Nauvoo and all of her children surprised her on her birthday. However, he did come out of his way to visit us while we were working in the Seventy's Hall on Sunday afternoon.
(For those of you who don't know what a Stake President is, he is a leader of about 4,000 members of the LDS church in a particular geographical area. In this case he is over Arvada Stake in Colorado. He is the one who set us apart as missionaries before we left home.)
Elder Johnson wonders if you can tell who's taller--he or President Jones?
We noticed the young sister missionaries one Sunday afternoon socializing with these beautiful horses. I had to take their picture. Aren't they sweet in their costumes? The sister missionaries I mean.
The young sisters have received their second mission calls. Two are going to Billings Montana, Two are going to Virginia, and two are going to California (It has slipped my mind which mission in California). It's unique to have them called in two's I think. I suspect part of the reason for that is so they don't have to travel alone. They leave in 10 days. We're going to miss them.
Here they are again getting ready to eat in their group home called the "Hatch House".
Our preparation day got changed last minute from Wednesday to Thursday which meant we didn't have an early morning training meeting that day nor did we have the play Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo to perform in that evening. So we took advantage of the change and did some sight seeing. We went to Hannibal, Missouri and checked out the Mark Twain sites. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but something was missing. Stay with me and I'll explain.
First we stopped at the Mark Twain Museum and among other things learned how Mark got his pen name. As you know, Samuel Clemens is his legal name.
We stopped at Lover's leap which overlooks the Mississippi River. The river below only looks narrow because you see an island on the far side. It is actually much wider on the other side of the island.
We talked to some bikers while at Lover's Leap. Since we are on full time missions,we are requested to wear missionary attire along with our name tag while in public. So it is a bit obvious that we are LDS. We are often stopped and a conversation follows on either where we're from and how long we've been out, or random connections that he/she has with the church. For example, while here, we learned that one of the bikers has the missionaries in her area over for dinner every other week. She also thinks we are really "nice" people. A couple of times we were told that the observer sees many missionaries from our church in their area and want us to know that some relative of theirs is a Mormon. Interesting, that this particular comment comes up so often.
Do we look bored or in need of approval or something? Oh well, we like the friendly conversations.
Our favorite spot was the Mark Twain Cave where historians think some of the writings in Tom Sawyer were inspired.
There are over 250,000 signatures in the cave. It's illegal to add your name now. In fact, some areas of the cave have restricted access because tourists might smudge the writings. Those retched tourists just can't be trusted can they? Apparently, Jesse James spent time in this cave and left his signature. With the new federal regulations, we only saw a picture of it.
Lastly, we went on the Mark Twain river boat. It was a warm day and the boat just went in a circle for a few miles at a very slow rate so it wasn't our favorite. It was mentioned that if the boat were to go upstream to Nauvoo at the current speed, it would take 18 hours. Interesting that they picked Nauvoo. They must have noticed our name tags too.
Note the bridges and muddy Mississippi River below as well as the full of life river banks. Being from the Arizona dessert, the whole world looks green in comparison, but the humid areas of the world are especially beautiful to me.
Okay, so here is the question I have for you. We've been giving tours almost every day for the past six months. As you know, we give tours at historic sites from real history. Samuel Clemons is a man out of history. Granted, his stories are just for fun but he is somewhat of a hero in many people's mind including mine, and I expected to feel the same way about them as I do where we serve. Why is there such a different feeling between Nauvoo and Carthage and these fun sites that we visit on our day off? I'm quite sure it is not my prejudices because it is a mammoth difference...not subtle at all.
If you have an idea, feel free to leave a comment.
Side note: The corn and soy beans are mostly brown now. I didn't know that farmers wait until the fields are completely dried out before harvesting them. I suppose that is evidence that I'm a city girl.
When we took the river boat ride, we saw the huge barges that are used to transport the grain down the Mississippi River. They are starting to collect them on the river. Once they have 12 loaded and ready, they will all go together.
Lastly, Elder Johnson and I have been asked to be assistant site leaders of Pioneer Past Times. I have mentioned this site before and we are excited to play a part. Basically, we get to help guests play with home made pioneer games once a week. Elder Johnson is particularly in heaven. (You may have guessed this if you know him at all.) The biggest change I want to make is in the dress up clothes that are available to the children. They are getting an overhaul and my sewing machine has been used non-stop for the past week. I hope to catch up on the work soon so I can sleep more than four hours at night. Why must I get so consumed? Oh well, I hope to do some good. (You may have guessed this about me as well.)