The Summer is just about over. We have appreciated the slight change in the hot muggy weather. It is always a challenge with the heat and humidity to work in the blacksmith shop making horseshoes by the forge. They had to shut down the wagons because of the heat index several times this year to protect the horses from the heat. There have been a lot of changes in the mission which will make things better. The health of the missionaries is a major concern for the mission presidency. I have been blessed to have a very small part in this as I have been able to sit in council with President Hall and President Hyte and President Blair. President Hyte and I were released last week from our callings. I learned a great deal regarding the mission and what it takes to keep it running smooth. With over 200 missionaries, young sister missionaries, young preforming missionaries, the Nauvoo Brass Band, the teamsters, facility management, and of course the historic sites and the plays and pageants all take a lot of coordination and effort. With only a few weeks left of our mission I find myself reflecting on the last 18 months.
What have I learned and experienced. I have enjoyed very much being with my companion. She works so hard and even when it isn't easy she has a smile for everyone. I have enjoyed the missionaries. Getting to know them has been a blessing. We will always cherish these friendships with such wonderful people. I have been forced out of my comfort zone with the performances in Sunset and Rendezvous. We have done things on the stage which I never would have done especially at this stage of our lives. We have enjoyed a measure of success. I came so far out of my shell that I even volunteered to sing a solo for the talent show. I was not chosen to preform for Sunset but had a marvelous experience when I was asked to sing the song "Angels Among Us" at a going away social for Elder and Sister Angell This is the song with I sang for the mission talent show. I didn't get discouraged because I had the experience of doing and trying. At one point I thought I could sing a solo in church but was told that the policy was to only have groups sing in sacrament meetings. I discovered that each hymn can be sung with heart and the best of my ability which would be my solo to the Lord. The saints in Nauvoo had many ways in which to accomplish the tasks at hand and not to be discouraged.
I have always felt that I could make quick and accurate judgment's of situations and people. I have had to adjust my thinking because I have been so wrong in my thinking. Some of my favorite missionaries are ones which I made an incorrect judgement.
I have a more meaningful testimony of the early saints in the church. I really appreciate and understand the trials and experiences. They are not just names in a book but have become real to me.
Every site has a story that needs to be told, understood and remembered. The deeper understanding of Joseph and Hyrum at Carthage will be a highlight of my mission. How when telling about Carthage the visitors were touched by the Spirit.
I have learned many practical skills of the saints. How to make a brick. How to make a horseshoe and a prairie diamond ring. Making ropes and shoes, barrels and clay pots. I even learned how to weave as well as making a gun barrel.
The performances at Rendezvous gave us the experiences of doing Jed and Annie which is no longer in the Rendezvous. The part of Thomas and Elizabeth required both a duet as well as a solo for us. I will confess that my favorite thing to do in Rendezvous was driving the horses in the "Streets" segment. I would always get a lot of comments and laughs from the audience as the driver is oblivious to the rough ride of the passengers.
I have experienced what a Zion society is like as we have served with so many wonderful Elders and Sisters here in Nauvoo. We will cherish their friendship forever. I know this work is of the Lord and that He hears and answers prayers. I know that He knows me and this gives me great comfort and hope as I want to see Him again and express my love to Him for all the blessings which He has been so good to give me and my family. Having two grandsons (Trevor and Richard) being missionaries while we have served has been a great blessing and honor.