Saturday, March 5, 2016
Carthage: A Wonderful Experience
We are really enjoying being assigned to Carthage. We are learning lots as we prepare for the busy summer months. We can't plan for the individual families which will come but we do plan and schedule the many youth groups which arrive by the bus loads. The challenge is how to accommodate for the large groups all at once. We are very limited on space. Our film room will hold about a 100 at a time but the historic jail is very limited in space. The rooms are small and can only handle groups of about 25, up to 45. So we split the groups and stagger them into the different rooms. The real challenge is to spend the time without being rushed to have a deep spiritual experience for the guests. I am enjoying a spiritual feast each time I open up the jail for the day. I inspect the rooms making sure that everything is in order. I have the privilege of cleaning the floors and original wood work.
The reward comes each time as I ponder what took place there, with such strong spiritual feelings.
This time of the year our tours are small sometimes only one or two people. One experience I had with a non-member man was special.
This man was raised in Carthage and came back to visit family. He said that he had plenty of time so we were not in a rush. Our 18 minute film is generally how we start the tours. The film made for the Carthage Visitors Center talks about how others, both members and non-members, felt when they visited the Prophet Joseph Smith. This man was very interested in the historical aspect of the jail when and how it was built. He was very impressed with the workmanship and the materials used in the construction. I pointed out the many areas which are still original and in excellent condition. The jail is 177 years old. I gave the full presentation. In the martyrdom room I could see that he could feel the spirit. Outside the jail we talked about the restoration of the gospel. I presented him with a Book of Mormon and asked him if he would read it. He said that he would but then asked me how he could know it was true. I turned to Moroni 10:4-5 and underlined it. I explained that when you get to this part which I have marked you must do as the scripture says, ask. I explained that asking is to pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon asking God if this Book is true. He said that he would do this. I invited him to come back again and we could answer any questions regarding the book.
The weather is like a roller coaster. We had two days last week in the 60's and now its cold again, 14 degrees now and the weather report says "much colder than yesterday". Well I can't argue about that. I noticed that yesterday the farmers were starting to work the fields, cultivating and fertilizing. I do believe that Spring is right around the corner as I have seen the tulips starting to come up.