Sunday, November 27, 2016

Moms talk Nauvoo

From: AnnMarie Norton <>
Date: November 27, 2016 at 8:54:07 AM MST
To: "" <>
Subject: Moms talk Nauvoo

Moms talk Nauvoo
Good morning brothers and sisters,
I am so excited to be able to share with you some of the experiences that our family had at the Nauvoo pageant this past summer.
First of all I feel like I should give you some background about what the Nauvoo pageant is..
In Nauvoo the Church puts on 2 different pageants every other night except for Sunday night for the entire month of July. The Nauvoo pageant is narrated by parley p Pratt And emphasizes the prophetic mission of Joseph smith and honors the sacrifice, faith and courage of the Saints who gave their all to build a city and a temple to their God.

The British pageant explores events surrounding the beginning of the Church in the British Isles and the impact of the British member's abiding faith and deep love for one another and the Savior.

The core cast for each play is made up of 20 very talented professional actors and singers, the family cast (which we were a part of) is made up 120 people that mostly have no performing experience whatsoever. Families are chosen through an application process that happens the October before. Each family that is chosen commits to spending 2 weeks in Nauvoo. The first week is spent learning the 2 different pageants. The second week is spent performing and teaching the next group of families how to take your place and do the whole thing all over again. You might be interested to know that performing in the Nauvoo pageant is a mission and that each family member is set apart as a missionary of the Lord by their bishop before they leave for Nauvoo. It's really the only time that you get to serve a mission as a family which is really cool.

The prep work to participate in the Pageant was intense and from the very beginning I felt a very strong force working against us. There was music to memorize, Church history to learn and paperwork to figure out. Pioneer shoes to buy and haircuts to avoid and beards to grow.
The Logistics of feeding such a large family in an RV with a small fridge and very few outside options were very real, especially since our rigorous schedule gave us literally no time for shopping. We had to figure out logistics for someone to care for our  home and chickens and our dog while we were gone. Our oldest Jarod would have to miss the first couple of days and fly in late from across the country because of a proselyting choir tour that he was on. The list went on and on and it was definitely not an easy undertaking.
We worked and prayed and solved problems and just when we got to what we thought would be the easy part of traveling there things got really tricky. Within one block of pulling out of the driveway we looked out of our rearview mirror and saw one of the trailer tires flying off into a neighbors yard. Even though we had taken both our truck and our trailer to be thoroughly inspected so that they would be travel ready just a few days before. Clearly they were not. We spent and extra 3hours at a tire shop the day of our departure. We were so happy to be on our way, sure that nothing else could possibly go wrong. Boy were we wrong!!
The next evening we noticed that our truck was making some really funny noises, we were Caravaning with our friends the Bazinets and he is really good with cars so we asked him to come and drive for us for a while. Pretty soon after that the truck started to be surrounded by smoke. When he asked us to quickly get out of the car I knew it had to be really bad. He said we needed a tow truck! My hubby stayed with the truck and trailer while We all piled into our Caravaning friends truck and trailer to find the closest camp ground. It was very late at night and We were stranded in Laramie Wyoming and  the parts that we needed to fix our car were  nowhere near us. We stumbled upon a demolition derby mechanic that worked some miracles and we were on the road again but now we were a whole day late. We weren't  even an hour down the road when our friends that were caravaning with us called us to tell us that their truck was making the same strange noise. Ironically the same mechanic had worked on both trucks and made the same mistake on both of them. We had to spend another night in Laramie Wyoming. Now we would be at least 2 days late and tensions were high as we delt with this nagging feeling that someone really didn't want us in Nauvoo!!
We finally got there and as we walked up to the stage we saw a huge group of people singing and dancing in what seemed to be a very complicated and intricate scene. Our district leader Ben (that Nathan told you about) lovingly and reassuringly wisked us away and started to explain what we had missed and what our new schedule would be like. I was overwhelmed to say the least. We were the largest family there with the youngest children and I had NO idea how we were going to learn all that we needed to learn to be ready to perform especially since we were even shorter on time then the rest of the families. Nathan already shared with you what our schedule was like and so we just threw ourselves into the work and did what our leaders asked us to do. Sometimes it made no sense at the time but as the scenes came together we understood the directions of our leaders. The kids whined and complained along the way especially when we didn't understand why we were doing what we were doing. It was hard. Truth be told I complained as well as I struggled to see how this huge endeavor could ever be accomplished. We kept on going and trying though. We felt like true pioneers as we experienced exhaustion from the heat and the schedule and the lack of good food, we even experienced illness, but slowly line upon line or scene upon scene it started to make sense to us and we grew to understand how it all worked and where we needed to be. Our leaders just nursed us through the tough times encouraging and affirming our efforts. Even when we had to do it again and again. We felt nothing but love and admiration from them and it inspired us to carry on. They told us the stories of the pageant that we would be sharing with the masses and the spirit of that sacred place wormed into our hearts helping us to want to be a part of the great work that was started there. The more that we let go and trusted in faith the methods of our leaders the more peace and joy we felt. To our astonishment by the time it was time to perform we mostly knew what to do and we were able to feel the spirit of those sacred stories as we danced and sang our heart out!
After our adventure in Nauvoo was over we carried on with our travels to visit some family and even a famous roller coaster park. As we were on our way back to Utah we asked the kids what their very favorite part of the trip was. We were expecting them all to reply that the amusement part was their favorite and we were astonished to hear them all say that Nauvoo was their favorite and could we please go back next summer. In that moment the spirit taught me many things about our experience in Nauvoo. First of all I learned that we really do learn things best line upon line precept upon precept as it says in .... when we were obedient to our leaders and trusted their methods and experience in teaching other family's everything was eventually made known to us. We were able to help create something that was even bigger then what we could imagine by ourselves. Isn't that like the vision our father in heaven is trying to help us see of the lives that we can create with him here on earth.
I also learned that the best way to help someone to learn anything new is not by reprimanding or criticizing them but by loving and affirming them and recognizing what they are doing right. We felt safe with our leaders to make mistakes as we learned what we needed to do. This quote was shared with us in a district meeting and I feel that it has changed my life and my relationships...

Lastly I learned that we that we can do hard things and that joy comes from overcoming adversity. Sometimes we don't know what we really want in this life. We think that we want ease and comfort and entertainment but when we look back we realize that growth and joy come from doing hard things. Just like when my kids whined and complained that they wanted to go home at first but then after it was all said and done they loved it

Bears testimony that God knows what we need to create the vision of our lives that he has for us. If we will trust in him and in his methods we can experience joy through our adversity. We can also have joy as we reflect his love and his way of being by inspiring and encouraging Others to try again and not give up. I am grateful for the legacy that the pioneers left us of these principles so that we can learn about them and share them with others. I testify that These are eternal truths. Say in the name of Jesus Christ amen

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