Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Casey Cluff, Planting Visitor’s Center, Mulching Visitor’s Center, Temple Missionaries Volunteer, Rehearsing with Elder Witbeck
This morning at our FM prayer meeting Casey Cluff, the former Director of FM, came one last time to say goodbye and give our spiritual message for the prayer meeting. Casey served as the director of FM for 6 years and has been called to be the Mission President of the Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission, he reports in July. In his message he praised the FM staff and Missionaries for all of their hard work behind the scenes that make Nauvoo beautiful and help the guests feel the spirit of this very special place. He compared us to the lineman on a football team. He said, “. . . the FM workers do all of the work but don’t get much credit.”
Then, Casey compared the workers at FM to the early pioneer, Oliver Granger, a stalwart member of the church in the founding days of the church, and in Kirtland, Ohio. He was called upon to serve several missions for the church and do numerous thankless jobs by the Prophet Joseph Smith. During all of his hard work and sacrifice he received no acclaim, no notoriety and no earthly wealth but the Lord knew Oliver Granger. In D & C 117 the Lord says: “. . . I remember my servant Oliver Granger; behold, verily I say unto him that his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.”
Again today we had an excellent crew of volunteer missionaries as well as FM+ (Assigned to work with us) to help plant and mulch the Visitor’s Center gardens and the “Women’s Garden” flowerbeds. Sis. Johnson and I were really surprised that there were 7 Temple missionaries that had volunteered to help this morning. All together we had a total of 13 Seniors helping us in addition to the regular gardening staff and inters. They were a great crew; they caught on fast to what we needed done and they worked all morning enthusiastically.
The crew of volunteers and regular staff were so fast today that they not only got all of the planting done in short order, they also mulched so fast we needed two loads of shredded bark instead of one.
This afternoon Sis. Johnson and I had an appointment with Elder Witbeck to practice our duet for “Sunset by the Mississippi” next week. Elder Witbeck is one of the guitarists that will be accompanying us during our performance. This was our first real rehearsal and I think it went well even though Sis. Johnson and I are more than a little scared about singing in front of those huge “Sunset by the Mississippi” crowds.
This evening at 10:30pm Nauvoo time, 8:30pm Mesa, AZ time Tere video called us on “Face Time” so Sis. Johnson and I could participate in Kyle’s father’s blessing followed by Kyle’s setting apart as a Church Service Missionary by his Stake President. It was a real treat to be able to participate via Tere’s smart phone. Both blessings were very special. When the setting apart was finished by the Stake President, Kyle came over to the video phone and said to us, “I’m finally a missionary.” Also present were Kyle’s great grandparents, Jim & Betty Burk. Grandpa Burk was asked to stand in on both the blessing and the setting apart.