Sunday, November 13, 2016 – Choir, Riser Cheep Boots and Shoe Manufactory, MTC Group Dinner
This morning’s Sacrament meeting was very good. The theme and the subject for all of the talks was on prayer. We heard wonderful personal stories related about the power of prayer. And Sis. Johnson and I got to sing in the choir.
Our “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo” cast was asked to sing a medley of songs for the choir number. The songs were all from the children’s hymn book, and they were all on prayer. The high light was a solo by Elder Aina in the middle of the choir’s songs. He sang “If with All Our Heart” from the Children’s Hymn Book No. 15. Elder Aina has such a beautiful rich voice; it brings tears to my eyes to listen to him sing. He did a wonderful job.
At Noon today Sis. Johnson and I were assigned to give tours at the historic site, the “Riser Cheap Boot and Shoe Manufactory.” In the 1840’s “Cheap” meant inexpensive, not poorly made. George Riser was known in Nauvoo as a “Quality” boot and shoe maker.
I learned a lot about how the pioneers made shoes and boots. The Riser Boot Shop was actually in the Riser home. The whole two story building was only 16X16 feet. Upstairs was one bedroom for the whole family. Down stairs was the family kitchen with only a fireplace for cooking. George Riser was very busy so he hired three extra men to work with him. His wife, Christianna and all four men worked side by side in the cramped family kitchen. The average wage in Nauvoo at that time was a dollar a day and they worked 12 hour days.
George Riser was a very well respected and good man. When the saints were driven out of Nauvoo, George and his family left with the first wagon train of Saints for Utah. George was the first shoe maker in Salt Lake. He also helped settle several new locations in Utah. Later he was called to serve a mission in Germany. After his mission was over he stayed in Germany because he was then called to be the Mission President.
This evening all of the Elders and Sisters that we were with at the MTC all got together for a dinner and a reunion. We had a wonderful dinner and the best part was the time we spent together talking and socializing. All of these wonderful missionaries have become our very good friends.
At the dinner, Sis. Wilson made a comment that struck a chord with Sis. Johnson and I. When asked what was her favorite thing about serving in Nauvoo, she said something that is identical to the way Sis. Johnson feels. Sis Wilson explained that in the beginning she was very hesitant about the prospect of singing and dancing in “Rendezvous” and in the “Sunset by the Mississippi” productions. She explained she is basically very reserved and shy and would not, indeed, COULD NOT perform in front of an audience. Her fear of performing was so real it was paralyzing.
However, Sis Wilson went on to explain, she did manage to overcome her fear and began to perform each night with such great confidence and enthusiasm that she actually looked forward to each night’s show with great joy and anticipation. She mentioned to our cast director, Sis. Lowe, about her change of heart. Sis. Lowe explained the reason and I feel it is very profound. It is no accident that we feel so good when we are performing on stage. The Spirit of the Holy Ghost is working through us to testify of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The message we bring to the audience of the love of the Lord for his children is working through us, the performers. Our performance is our testimony of Jesus Christ and that is why we love to perform.