Hello Everyone! Well, yesterday marked my first week here in Nauvoo, and I just love it! This past weekend has been a bit crazy because of all of the deaf and hard of hearing people that have come through because of Pageant. One day, I interpreted for 7 hours! I know that the Lord was strengthening me that day because I did not feel at all tired until I stepped into the door of the house, flopped down on my bed, and fell asleep. Who knew that I would ever want to go to bed before?!
The main people that I have been interpreting for are the Bonds. They are actually from Santa Quin, UT, and she teaches ASL at Spanish Fork High! They are just hilarious, and brighten my day. Thanks to them, I have now seen every performance, most of the sites, and walked every street here in Nauvoo. It was kind of amusing to interpret for shows that I have actually never seen before. I now know all of the words and songs to the performances, but I have not seen it yet! I am looking forward to next week when I can catch a show on my P-day.
Another person I interpreted a lot for this week was Viola. She was from Tennessee, and actually only known a local form of sign language, not ASL. We still tried to help her, even teach her some ASL, and to help her get the most out of it. She was here with her grand kids and it was so adorable to see them always watching out for their Grandma and making sure she was comfortable.
Well, one of my first investigators, William, set a date for baptism yesterday! I met him on Mormon.org Chat, and he was just so ready for the Gospel. I have gone through most of the discussions with him, he has read the Book of Mormon, and even downloaded the LDS Scriptures App onto his iphone! He shows a lot of initiative and wants to know for himself if this Church is true or not. Well, the other night, he found out, and agreed to be baptized! It was the answer to my prayers. I had been praying for him for the past few nights, and I felt prompted to ask for him to be open to baptism. Then it happened, and he is willing to talk with the local missionaries too! I called them right after, updated, and will continue to keep contact with William for the foreseeable future. I am so happy for William and love my role as a Visitor's Center Sister! We can help to bring so many to Christ using technology and can touch people in ways traditional missionary work cannot. I am so happy that I was called here to Nauvoo!
Well, I guess the only downside to being in Nauvoo is the bug bites. I swear, I put on a ton of bug spray on my calves. They practically drip with how much I put on, yet I still get bug bites. As of two days ago, I have 26 bug bites. I have worked at the Pageant since then, so I am sure that that number has multiplied.
Being at Nauvoo during the Pageant has been wonderful. It has been going on for three weeks (I think?) and people still flock to Nauvoo to be able to see the Pageant. I love watching it, and part of my job as a Young Sister Missionary (or YSM as they call us) is that we help seat people for the Pageant, and we walk around the County Fair talking to people. The County Fair is right by the Pageant grounds, and it is a pretty big shindig. They can teach you how to do an Irish Dance, a lot of pioneer games for the kids, a log-cutting competition, stick-pull, and carnival games. We go around, help people find things, and bring people closer to Christ. It is a lot of fun, but it is held in tall grass.... so for those of us that are city slickers, that means tick, chigger, mosquito, and spider bites. The sisters actually have fun trying to tell what type of bug bit us where! So far I have about three spider and one tick, the rest are mosquito and chiggers.
Living with the sisters in one house is a lot of fun. All 16 of us are put inside a house located up in town. The living room, parlor, and basement have all been converted into bedrooms. I am currently in the basement, aka the dungeon, where it is always cold. Sometimes thought it can be a nice change from the heat outside. The other places are just all over. The first night I stayed in the house (we were on the floor at that time since we did not have an assigned room) Sister Etherington and I were trying to find a linen closet, and we found a place we thought might be it. Little did we know it was actually a make-shift door for one of the bedrooms, and accidentally woke up three sleeping sisters. Whoops!
As far as food, we are given an allowance to buy our own food. We do not have dinner appointments, so we have to prepare all of our own food during the time allowed. Normally that would be fine, but they only give us half an hour (aka not even enough time to prepare noodles, eat them, and wash the pot) before we have to be back to the visitor's center, and during that half hour we were also supposed to have created another meal to bring for dinner. As a result I have gone hungry a few dinners here, but I am determined to make that change. I am determined to eat a MEAL for lunch and dinner, not just a quarter cup of oatmeal with almonds, or just a cup of peaches like most of the sisters do here. I mean come on, how are we expected to be happy, have energy, be able to think, and walk all over creation on just a cup of peaches! I think that I would develop some sort of mineral or vitamin deficiency if I ate like that every meal. And probably die of hunger. Not to be dramatic or anything ;) My companion and I are trying to come up with ways to eat well, and I think the title for Preparation Day might be changed to Food Preparation Day, where we cook the whole time and put the things in Tuppeware to eat later on in the week. Even though it seems tough, I still feel blessed that I can at least choose what I get to eat. I have heard so many horror stories of eating at member's houses that I start to appreciate our little kitchen.
For the next few weeks, I will be stationed mainly in the Nauvoo Visitor's Center, learning the ropes from Sister Dransfield. I love it, and it is especially fun when we get in these youth groups. Kids come here for EFY, Scout Camp, and Youth Conference, and flood the Visitor's Center with their coordinating bright shirts. The other day we had a group come in from North Carolina, and they were all wearing these bright yellow tie dye shirts. We kind of joked that we felt the spirit prompting us to talk to someone in a yellow shirt, but we were not sure which one!
The past few days have been exciting because Elder Oaks has been in town with his family for a retreat and to talk to all of the missionaries. I was actually talking to someone after the Pageant, turned around, and there he was! He looked at me, smiled, and shook my hand. It was kind of a surreal experience since I was not expecting it!
Spiritual Moment: I had the opportunity to interpret for a deaf group when they toured the Community of Christ sites. They are the ones that own the Mansion House, Nauvoo hotel, Nauvoo Mansion, and the Red Brick Store. I have never quite noticed the "special spirit" in Nauvoo until then. I had just thought I was excited to be here, and to be on my mission, but leaving into a different site, it almost felt like I had walked into a wall of cold water. I am now really grateful for that experience, and it makes me appreciate the small things of historic Nauvoo.
This past week, my companion and I have been focused on Faith. We know that with strong faith, miracles can happen. We put that to the test, and had faith that we could get five referrals from the visitors. Normally we will get one or two in a day. It is normally really hard since we have to be talking to them for a decent amount of time, but we had the faith and at the end of the day we got them! I have developed such a testimony of planning and goal-setting even though I have only been here for a week. It has helped me so much and I know it will help you too!