Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 – Fertilize, Nauvoo Brass Band, “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo”
After our regular clean up of the grounds and sidewalks around the Carthage Visitor’s Center, Sis. Johnson resumed the task of hauling wood chips around the base of all the trees. I was off to The Bushnell House to mow, edge, weed eat and blow off the sidewalks. I was done in an hour and a half, a new record.

My next task was to fertilize all of the lawns around the visitor’s center. Last week I talked to, my boss Scott Higley, about several yellow patches of grass in the lawns around the visitor’s center and at The Bushnell house. He concluded that all of the lawns need to be fertilized. I didn’t get done, I’ll have to finish tomorrow.
This afternoon the Nauvoo Brass Band came to the visitor’s center and performed a concert titled “Carthage Hymnfest” with the Nauvoo Brass Band. They set up right outside of the Carthage Jail. They played all of the hymns of the restoration like; We thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet, Praise to the Man, The Spirit of God, Joseph Smith’s First Prayer, etc.  
The band did a great job. I enjoyed the music very much. Although I found it a little difficult to applaud religious hymns I’m used to hearing in sacrament meeting. But I got over it and I applauded with great enthusiasm like the others listening to them play.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016 – Rain, Memorial Day, “Sunset by the Mississippi”

Each morning before we leave the house to go to work, it is our custom to check the forecast on the internet to see if we are expecting showers.  This morning’s satellite loop showed no clouds and no rain in sight. Well, we had been working about 45 minutes when we heard the rumbling of thunder. It didn’t take long before Sis. Johnson and I were soaking wet from what the weatherman said was “No chance of rain.”
After the rain stopped I was able to start mowing the lawns. My boss, Scott Higley dropped by and we discussed some of the things I need him to bring me from FM. He said he would bring them by tomorrow afternoon. I asked, Why not this afternoon, on your way home? He said, I have the day off, it’s Memorial Day! What! I exclaimed, I don’t get Memorial Day off. Then he said, No you don’t, you’re a missionary. He’s right; missionaries don’t get Memorial Day off or the 4th of July, or Christmas, or New Year’s Day, or any other national holiday. We’re missionaries and we serve the Lord 24/7 365 day a year.

Tonight we performed in “Sunset by the Mississippi” again. Our first show was last Saturday night and I just found out the attendance was 483 cheering people in the audience, they were a good crowd. 
In tonight’s performance of “Sunset” everyone in the cast did a super job, no miscues, no mistakes and no botched dance routines.  I even got all of my lines right! I still have stage fright but at least I didn’t flub any of my lines this time. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016 – Church, Family Living Center, District Dinner/Meeting

After church this morning we had an assignment to serve in the “Family Living Center” from 12:30 until closing at 5:00pm. Yesterday Sis. Johnson and I spent several hours there to familiarize ourselves with all of the teaching stations, the scripts and tools. 
The “Family Living Center” is a large building that has several displays of pioneer era home & farm tools. In addition, there are seven teaching stations. Each station is designed to show what it was like to work and live in Nauvoo in the 1840’s, the skills a family had to have to survive in the frontier era and the tools needed to work, build and live. The stations are Pioneer Kitchen & Bread Making, Candle Making, Barrel Making, Rope Making, Wool & Flax Spinning, Weaving, Rug Making, and Pottery Making.

After some orientation and watching the other seniors give their demonstrations, Sis. Johnson and I were thrown right into the mix. We hit the ground running and felt very comfortable teaching and demonstrating in all of the stations in the “Family Living Center”. 
We were very busy all day. There was a constant parade of visitor coming through the “Family Living Center.”  By the end of the day we had almost 200 visitors and about 15 to 20% of those were not members of the LDS church.
One of the groups of visitors Sis. Johnson got to teach was a hard core Harley biker gang! They were seriously tattooed, sleeveless shirts, bandanas, leather vests, mean and ugly looking people. However Sis. Johnson said they were polite and very nice to teach and talk to. It is interesting how I tend to judge people based on their appearance.  Who knows, maybe they were all members of the church. We will never know because we are not allowed to ask a person’s religion. But I will try to do better and not judge people by how they look.

Tonight we attended District Training Meeting at Elder and Sis. Hutchinson’s home. They live right next door do us here on the grounds of the visitor’s center.

Our meeting started with a dinner with all four couples in the district. We all brought ingredients for a “Potato Bar”, Mmmm- Goood! Our District Leader, Elder Horlacher and his wife are being transferred to Nauvoo next week, so this dinner & meeting was a farewell send off too. 
The training was excellent. The subject was, “How we can teach people, not lessons.” The other three couples in our district all give tours at the Visitor’s Center and Carthage Jail. They all know what it is like to feel the spirit testify as the guests walk through the jail and stand on the very spot where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred. They each shared stories and experiences of how they feel the spirit of the Holy Ghost as they guide and teach the guests. As Elder Horlacher put it, this is hallowed ground; Carthage is the Crown Jewel of a visitor’s experience when they come to Nauvoo.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016 – Sidewalks, Shopping in Keokuk, Family Living Ctr, “Sunset by the Mississippi”

Again overnight we had heavy rains, so, even though today is our P-day, Sis. Johnson and I spent the first part of the day picking up limbs and blowing the sidewalks around the visitor’s center. 
Since today is our P-day we were off to Keokuk, Iowa to do our weekly shopping. After our shopping was done we decided to drive up Grand Avenue before heading home. This street has some of the old majestic grand homes of a hundred years ago. It was a pretty drive with a great view of the Mississippi, the old grand homes and peaceful city parks. We’ve heard of this from other Senior Missionaries, we loved the self guided tour of discovery.
This afternoon we spent several hours at the “Family Living Center” to learn the script, procedures and tools we will need tomorrow afternoon. We’ve been assigned to serve there Sunday from 12:30 to 5PM.
Tonight was the d├ębut of our summer show, “Sunset by the Mississippi.” We’ve been practicing for two full months and tonight we finally took the big stage.  Sis. Johnson said, “I really enjoyed our show. I had a lot of fun.” And then she looked over her shoulder at me and said with a big smile, “A star is born!”

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016 – More rain, FM “Employee Appreciation” BBQ, Wood Chips, Dinner
We had heavy rain overnight again. So Sis. Johnson was out on the sidewalk early to clean up the mess.  After she finished she hauled wood chips and covered the ground around four more trees. After cleaning up around the visitor’s center I was off to the Bushnell House to mow and clean.

A little before noon Sis. Johnson and I were off to FM (Nauvoo Facilities Maintenance) in Nauvoo to attend a picnic/BBQ luncheon. Every year at this time FM has this BBQ to show appreciation to all of their employees (there families are invited too), as well as the volunteers (Senior Missionaries) that work at FM.
FM has about two dozen paid employees. There are probably double that number in senior missionaries who’s calling is to work at FM too. Plus there are other senior missionaries that are tour guides in the Historic Sites that volunteer to help at FM on their P-day and other free time.

After the luncheon my boss, Scott Higley, helped me with several chores. He fixed my line trimmer and leaf blower. He gave me 200#’s of chemical fertilizer to spread on the grounds at Carthage and he filled my dump truck with another load of wood chips.  Sis. Johnson and I have a lot of work ahead of us.

This evening we had Sis. Missionaries for dinner. Again we had Sis. Nelson and Sis. Chapman. Sis. Johnson prepared a wonderful lasagna dinner and we topped it off with chocolate chip ice cream. 

As is the custom, every time the sisters are invited for dinner they leave a spiritual message. Tonight’s message was on faith. And, coincidentally when the sisters first arrived I mentioned that Sis. Johnson was better because of her faith in the priesthood blessing she received. That earlier comment tied right in to their message. They read from Moroni 7: 36-37. And, yes, “…it is by faith that miracles are wrought….”

36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

 37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016 – Sis. Johnson is better, Arkansas City YM, Wood chips around trees, Rendezvous
Sis. Johnson is much better this morning.  Overnight we had over an inch of rain with high winds. That means a lot of clean up for Sis. Johnson and I. She isn’t dizzy any more so she worked on watering the plants and cleaning the sidewalks for a couple hours this morning. She was tired but doesn’t have any of the allergy symptoms any more.  The priesthood blessing, her faith, the doctor’s prescription and ear exercises did the trick.

Yes, I said ear exercises! A Sister in our cast had the same problem last year three times. She told Sis. Johnson about exercises to fix the crystal in your inner ear. It worked, who knew?
After I mowed the visitor’s center lawn I started the project of spreading wood chips around the trees on the visitor’s center grounds. While I was working next to the sidewalk spreading wood chips several of the visitors stopped me to ask questions and comment on the grounds.
One of the visitors was a young men’s group from Arkansas City, Kansas. It’s a small town 500 miles southwest of here on the Kansas/Oklahoma border. Their leaders brought all of the young men from their branch. They have 3 days here and in Nauvoo. They plan to see all of the historic sites and then attend the Temple to do baptisms for the dead on Saturday morning. Good group of young men. 
This is a great place to bring youth to. The history and the tours are nice but the spirit that is felt here is the best. To be here and spend time on these hallowed grounds is a tremendous testimony builder.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 – Zone Training Mtg., Sis. Johnson’s Rx, Wood Chips and stump grinder

Early each Wednesday we attend our Mission-wide training meeting in Nauvoo. But this morning Sis. Johnson still didn’t feel well enough to attend. Her symptoms include dizziness and loss of balance, but no fever. I talked to the Mission Doctor, Dr. Rasmussen, he said she doesn’t have a cold, she is suffering from allergies. Sis. Johnson’s sinuses are swollen and congested causing pressure on her inner ear. That is why she is dizzy and can’t keep her balance. 
Last Monday Sis. Johnson spent the whole day working in the shadow of the visitor center’s Locus trees that line the sidewalks. All day there was a constant barrage of pollen falling from them. After I used the leaf blower to clean the sidewalks, I would look back and it didn’t look like I had blown at all. Within seconds the sidewalks were covered with pollen again.

Sis. Johnson doesn’t normally suffer from allergies or hay fever but it was explained to me that this isn’t Arizona. This is the Mid-West and this time of year the pollen is 100 times worse here than in Arizona. Even a non-allergy sufferer can succumb to all of this pollen in the air. Before I left Nauvoo I stopped at the pharmacy and had Sis. Johnson’s prescription filled.

This afternoon the YPM’s (Young Performing Missionaries) were taking a tour of the Carthage Jail. Last week it was the band members that came. Today it was the dancers & singers. While they were getting their tour from one of the senior missionaries, I asked Elder Hutchinson (also a tour guide and our neighbor) to assist me in giving Sis. Johnson a blessing.
While I was still in Nauvoo my boss, Scott Higley, loaded my dump truck with a load of wood chips. Sis. Johnson and I (Well, when she starts feeling better) will be spreading them out under each tree circle here at the visitor’s center. The idea is to cover the bare ground under the tree where there is no grass so it looks good to the visitors. We will start with the trees nearest the sidewalks were the visitors pass by.
This evening Sis. Johnson was feeling much better. Although her head still feels like the world is spinning, she can keep her balance much better since she took the medication. So, she decided to go with me to our “Sunset by the Mississippi” play practice. She wanted to go tonight because our director had some important instructions on her place on the stage, etc.  She didn’t perform and go out on stage to do her regular spinning & dancing, that would have been a disaster.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 – Sprinklers, Sis. Johnson has a cold

This morning Sis. Johnson woke up with cold like symptoms so she didn’t go to work today. The rest has helped, she is feeling better but we decided to skip tonight’s Cast pot luck dinner in Nauvoo. Hopefully she’ll continue to improve and feel up to working and attending our “Sunset in Old Nauvoo” practice tomorrow evening. 
Today is my day to work at The Bushnell House. But, early this morning at the visitor’s center the sprinkler system was running its program and irrigating many of its zones. And, again today, I spent about an hour fixing a half dozen broken sprinkler heads. This time I didn’t get nearly as wet because I found a rain suit in the storage shed. The top half was missing but the lower half worked very nicely to keep me dry.

While I was mowing the grass around the Peony bushes at the Bushnell House, there were several flowers hanging right on the ground. It would have broken my heart to have run them over with the mower, so I picked them and brought them home to Sis. Johnson.  Helping Sis. Johnson recover is a much better use of the peonies than letting them get squashed under the mowers wheels.  
While I was mowing the grass around the Peony bushes at the Bushnell House, there were several flowers hanging right on the ground. It would have broken my heart to have run them over with the mower, so I picked them and brought them home to Sis. Johnson.  Helping Sis. Johnson recover is a much better use of the peonies than letting them get squashed under the mowers wheels.