One of the fun things I did last week was go see the performance the city put on of Mary Poppins. Evan didn’t want to go so took the Elders on splits and I went with a couple of sisters from the branch. It was so much fun and the scenery was just as good as any professional production. This community has done some kind of play nearly every year since 1989 as part of their annual Schweitzer Fest which is a big celebration of the settling of their city. I also met some very fun people. Everyone here is so open and friendly.
We had talked to Tim and Cheryl Wilson about going back to Mammoth Caves and taking one of the better tours. They agreed it was a good time so they picked us up about 7:30 Monday morning. We also took Kaden their 6 year old grandson with us. We got there thinking they were on Eastern Time and we would make the 11:30 tour but it was sold out so we were trying for the 12 one but it sold out before we got to the front of the line but we heard a person ask about the 10:30 tour and there were still spots. We learned they were Central time and we had just enough time to get to the tour. We were glad because we didn’t want to wait clear until 1:15 for the next tour.
The tour was amazing. We were more than 300 feet underground and went up and down 440 stepsand had to go through Fat Man’s Misery which was very narrow and low. We actually had to duck down to get through some of the places and even turn around at one point to get down the stairs. I was really glad we went down first because my knees hurt more going down than coming up stairs. At the end we climbed up 155 stairs in a square tower of steps. The guide was very good in explaining what had gone on in the caves in the past 200 years with the mining of the saltpeter for gun powder during the war of 1812, the tuberculosis buildings and some of the finding of new caves. We learned that many mummified bodies had been found in the caves in the past and Cheryl can remember as a little girl that one of them was on display. It wasn’t until 1979 that this was discontinued. We learned about the eyeless fish and the myriad creatures that live in the caves. In one room it was very warm after the 55 degrees we had been in. It was due to the high water level of the river which runs through part of the cave. There have actually been times when some parts of the cave have been flooded because of the rain. When the guide turned out all the lights we truly saw what total darkness is. You couldn’t see your hand even right in front of your face. It really brought to life the story in the Book of Mormon when the Savior is crucified and the blackness covers the land. I can’t imagine what the tours used to be like when only a kerosene lamp was used. It was a wonderful tour but we came out pretty worn out. Two hours of climbing put some strain on our old out of shape bodies. The tour was only 2 miles of the over 400 miles of caves that have been found and opened. I wish we had the time and money to take every tour but there is no time.
We stopped in Cave City for some lunch and then went to Mike’s Rock shop so Tim could find his directions. I took Kaden and we went into the rock shop to look around and found some cute rock animals and I bought him a little wolf. He is such a sweet little boy. He kept taking Evan’s iPad and he played games for a little while but mostly loved playing the primary songs. He comes from a very less active family and only comes to church when his grandparents can get permission to bring him.
Our time for sightseeing is all too quickly coming to an end as we have only about 10 more Mondays so we plan on trying to go somewhere every Monday which bums the Elders because it means they have to do their own laundry and fix their own breakfast on Monday. I think we have spoiled them a little bit. We plan on going to visit the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln next week which won’t be nearly as long or hard as it is only about an hour from us.
We have continued to search for lost members of the branch. It seems as though the time just seems right when we find a new family we have been searching for. It is hard to think we are just finding some as the time is growing shorter but we will do all we can to help them come back while we are here. We just found another couple on Sunday who was so welcoming. There are two brothers who live next door to each other with their families. They live about 30 miles out which makes it harder to get to them regularly. Their parents are active in one of the wards but they both married Catholic girls and have had nothing to do with the church for a number of years. We will just continue to try and fellowship them so they have a positive feeling towards the members here.
We are both so grateful for the time we have had to get to know these people. This branch is so amazing. We only had 27 people to church on Sunday but testimony meeting still didn't have any pauses. The people here really know how to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel and the Savior. We have been here for 17 Fast Sundays and it never ceases to amaze me. We have been so blessed to be a part of this branch.
We love you all and hope you are taking every opportunity to share the gospel.
Elder & Sister Fullmer
Below are a picture of the temple trip I took with the Sisters, The cave pictures are Us on the stairs coming out of the cave, Fat mans misery where you have to turn to get, through and Evan goofing off and little Kaden at the rock shop with crazy windows. The last two of us on the steps of the Indianapolis Temple and just a picture of the temple.