Friday, July 8, 2011

Our First Work Day

We took this picture last year and I added the caption
to put it in my office. But during the winter
the big tree on the right fell during a storm.
The Hill Cumorah Pageant doesn’t officially begin until tonight, and the busloads of tourists don’t come until today so yesterday we had a chance to get accustomed to what we are supposed to be doing without a lot of stress, but we kept busy all day. Our shift ran from 8:30 to 2:00. We began with a devotional and singing, “An Angel From On High” that set the tone for the day. Our first station of the morning was at one of the two entrances to the Sacred Grove where we got to greet visitors and count how many came.

Last year there were guided tours and we had to keep people in groups and make them wait in lines, but that was very distracting from the Spirit of this place and so this year we are letting people go through as they come. The sister missionaries are stationed in the Log Home and in the Frame Home to answer any questions, but there is no formal tour. I like this a lot better. Now people can go at their own pace and "drink" in the Spirit of the place to their hearts content without being herded!

Once again I marvel at the difference in the people who come here. I encountered a man I’d known in high school while walking through the grove who was dressed in a white shirt and tie and his wife had on a dress. I talked to him for a little while and as we parted I commented on the way they were dressed and what a difference it would make in their visit to the Grove and he said, “Yes, I just couldn’t bear the thoughts of entering this sacred place in shorts.”

You can see the difference in the people who come here with that reverent attitude and those who don’t. They do have a different experience in the Grove. There were several families who had gone to the temple to do baptisms and then came to the Farm and immediately changed into casual clothes before they went through the Grove. I wanted to tell them to wait until they gone through the Grove to change, but of course, I can’t. And I do know that some people don’t have dressy clothes with them, but for those who do and can the reverence it displays makes a difference in their experience in the Grove.

After our shift ended, we toured the Grandin building where the Book of Mormon was printed. There are two large portraits there of E. B. Grandin and his wife. The Grandin’s never joined the Church but their lives parallel Emma and Joseph’s lives in that they were about the same age, Egbert died about the same time as Joseph. As I looked at his portrait I wondered if he ever realized what an important part of history he was playing.

After our tour we went out to the Chase Berry Farm and had shortcake with fresh strawberries and raspberries. After that we finally got to see D1 and her family who are in the Pageant. They live in South Carolina so we haven’t seen these grandchildren since last year and they have grown! I think there should be a law that children can’t move away and separate grandchildren from their grandparents!

The climax of the day was watching the dress rehearsal of the pageant. We walked through the visitor’s center before that and one of the Sister missionaries introduced herself as one of my past students. It was so fun to see one of my students serving and doing so much good! I loved it. Being the dress rehearsal, the hecklers and anti-Mormons were not in attendance which made it nice.

This year the young man playing the part of the Savior just returned from his mission a week before rehearsals started and the child who runs to him after he descends from heaven is his little sister so as he gathered her up in his arms he kissed her on the cheek. It was so tender and sweet and so real.

I wish you could all be here. It is an amazing experience to be bathed in the Spirit all day long and to be reminded at every glance of all the miracles and tender mercies and power of God. I hope you can feel a tiny bit of this spirit as I share our experiences. This gospel is true and the Lord’s work is moving forward in powerful, miraculous ways now, just as it did in the beginning.

1 comment:

Cathy Bubert said...

One of my dreams is to visit the sacred Church History Sites on the East Coast. I feel like your descriptions and observations are the next best thing to being there! Thanks for sharing.