Elder and Sister Watts

Elder and Sister Watts

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Sites Mission Statement

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Life here in the Rochester Mission has been, busy, rewarding, and spiritually uplifting. During the next few blog entries we hope to give readers a glimpse of what missionary life is like in the Hill Cumorah Historic Sites. This entry will provide a general overview of our life and the next six entries will go into more detail about the following:

The Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center
The Smith Family Farm
The Book of Mormon Historic Publishing Center or the EB Grandin Building
The Peter Whitmer Farm
The Rochester 2ND Ward
The Palmyra Temple

We have a monthly schedule, so that we work the same rotation of sites for one month at a time. Our schedule for February is:

MONDAY – 1:00 PM till 5:00 PM: The Smith Farm which consists of the Welcome Center (like a visitors’ center), the log home, the frame home, the barn, the cooper shop (barrel making shop) and the Sacred Grove. We have key messages and facts to learn about each of those locations within this site.

On Monday mornings we clean house, do laundry, grocery shop, etc. because we are busy working in Rochester on our preparation day.

Monday evenings are for Family Home Evening. Twice a month we meet with all of the Site Missionaries (12 couples) and often other missionaries couples for Family Home Evening. Besides site missionaries we have couples here on missions as Temple Missionaries that work in the Palmyra Temple and Facility Management Missionaries (3 couples). They often join us for Family Home Evening and other socials. There are two Senior Sisters that work at the Mission Home and they come also.

TUESDAY – 7:30 AM till 8:30 AM: District Meeting – The Historic Site Missionaries are divided into two districts. Our district meets Tuesday mornings and the focus of our meeting is missionary or site success stories and instruction from Preach My Gospel.

TUESDAY - 9:00 AM till 1:00 PM: The Book of Mormon Historic Publishing Site or EB Grandin Building where we give tours of three floors, the bookshop and EB Grandin’s office, the printing shop where the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormons were published and the bindery, where they were bound. This site has the most information to learn, but we really enjoy working at it.

Tuesday afternoon and evening we catch up on email, study and read, etc.

WEDNESDAY – 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM: The Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center – This is where visitors to Palmyra typically begin their tours. There are films, a room with the Christus and a Resource room with interactive videos about the history of this area.

Wednesday evening we have a “Site Meeting” with all of the Senior Couple Missionaries and all of the Sister Missionary Companionships (nine total) where we receive training and inspirational messages under the direction of our Site Directors, Elder and Sister Lenker. The young sister missionaries assigned to the historical sites work with us on Wednesdays and proselyte the rest of the time until we get more visitors, then we will have young sister missionaries with us at the sites all of the time.

THRUSDAY - 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM: The Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center – We work the same schedule as Wednesday. When we arrived on January 30, there was a display of bronze sculptures by artist Angela Johnson called “The Healing Power of Jesus Christ.” The exhibit came on October 25, 2009 and was scheduled to leave on January 31, 2010, but was held over until February 14. We felt so blessed to be able to enjoy the sculptures for 4 different days while we worked at this site.

Thursday afternoon and evenings are the same as Tuesdays. We study and prepare to proselyte in Rochester, NY.

FRIDAY – 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM: The Peter Whitmer Farm - The farm is not located in Palmyra, but is in Fayette and it takes us about 45 minutes to drive there. We usually leave at 10:00 AM. This site includes the (1)Fayette Chapel, which is beautiful and built in a Greek Revival style architecture, (2) the visitors’ center and (3) a replica of the Whitmer Farm. Again, there is a lot of information to learn at this site. At each site we have key messages, details, historical stories, dates, and related scriptures to learn.

Friday evening we go directly from the Whitmer Farm in Fayette to the Palmyra Temple to serve as Temple Ordinance Workers. We finish there at 10:00 PM

SATURDAY – We leave our apartment at 8:00 AM and drive to Greece, a suburb of Rochester, about 45 miles, to go to our Ward Missionary Correlation Meeting. After the meeting we go visit members of the Rochester 2ND Ward that the bishop has requested we visit. So far we have found 3 investigators for the young sister, assigned to our ward, to teach. We spend most of the day in Rochester and usually get home about 4:30 PM. If it isn’t too cold we like to go for a walk in the Sacred Grove when we get home.

SUNDAYWe leave for church at 8:15 AM to attend Sacrament at 9:30 AM. After the meeting block we spend the rest of the day doing visits. We have to say that the people in our ward don’t really believe in shoveling the snow off of their sidewalks and steps. Every single place we have visited has an accumulation of snow. Thankfully we have boots and adequate shoes for tromping in the snow!

Sunday evenings we sometimes have dinner invitations from other missionary couples or firesides. Otherwise we catch up on life.
The site couples here are a social bunch! We have been invited to dinner 5 times and there have been to 5 socials and firesides in three weeks. These couples are amazing people and we love getting to know each of them. They have such faith promoting stories about their circumstances of serving missions.

General Information: The weather here is cold and it snows almost every day, though the roads are nearly always clear and our driveway gets cleared early each morning by a company that clears the driveways, parking lots and sidewalks at the Church Historical sites. The salt they put on the roads ruins cars and shoes.

This is an example of a rusted out bumper. Notice to the right of the bumper; it is being held on with bailing wire!


  1. Sounds like they are keeping you busy with lots of good stuff.

    I'd love to see a picture of you both all bundled up in your snow boots and coats . . .

  2. I agree with Alisha. But WOW, you guys stay busy but you will make so many great memories!

  3. Wow! What a schedule, you sure are keeping busy. I'm glad you aren't bored:) I hope you get some sunshine soon and the snow melts away into a beautiful spring!