The highlight of this week was our trip to Palmyra and the Hill Cumorah Pageant as chaperons for the Pittsburgh Stake Youth Conference. We had four youth go from our ward and the Bishop asked us to go with them. Since there wasn’t room on the buses for everyone, we offered to drive up ourselves. It saved us an all-night trip on the bus which we felt was a good thing. We met the buses at the Sacred Grove on Friday morning about 0700 and had breakfast. There were about 120 people all together.
We were then able to walk through the grove for about 90 minutes and take in the spirit of that beautiful place. It was a wonderful time of the day to be there because there weren’t many people and there was plenty of opportunity to sit and read scriptures and feel. We could literally hear the bees humming and the sweet birds singing. It was a great way to start the day.
Rod and I were asked to go to the pageant site and save seats for our group. The security missionary in charge was very kind and let us save seats in a very good spot. He even supplied the tape and paper for signs to secure the spot.
We met up with the group at the Whitmer Farm and ate lunch. We then drove to the Seneca Lake Girls Camp where we stayed Friday night. It is patterned after the Heber Valley Girls Camp in Utah but on a much smaller scale. There were two missionary couples there to run the camp. We stayed in 8 of the cabins and had the central meeting hall, called Zion, for meals and group meetings. The youth from Wheeling Ward were Christian and Emily Oliver, Elise Wright and Helen Barker.
The cabins could sleep 16 people and were named after early women of the Church. There were bathrooms and showers for every four cabins.
After we got settled in camp and rested for a while, Rod and I drove back to the pageant site to make sure the seats were secure. The buses came later. We had about three hours to visit the cast and staff of the pageant.
The pageant was spectacular. What a great opportunity for the youth to experience.
This was the stage set up on Hill Cumorah.
This was a picture of the whole cast on stage and a picture of Nephi and the Tree of Life in honor of Brendan who played Nephi when he was in the pageant. After the pageant we all drove back to camp and had a very short night in the cabins.
Saturday morning we ate breakfast and then walked to the amphitheater for a testimony meeting. It was a spiritual meeting in a beautiful setting. After we packed up, the buses drove to the Joseph Smith Farm and the Palmyra Temple.
We all met for a group picture and then the buses started for home. Rod and I stayed to see the things we had missed and met several friends from home who were serving as volunteers for the pageant. The Browns from the Centerville Stake and the Johnsons who were previously from West Bountiful. We met up with the buses in Erie at an all-you-can-eat buffet and had our last trip event. We made it home to Wheeling about 10:30 that night.
Another highlight of the week was meeting President and Sister Topham. They are wonderful people and will lead this mission well.
We have to admit, the best part of the week was seeing some new less-active members at church on Sunday. That is what we have been working so hard to see happen in this area. The Lord is blessing the work here.