Sometimes the best plans are the most unexpected ones. Our original spring plan involved visiting the Very Large Array in NM, heading through Flagstaff and Page, AZ, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and then driving north. Instead, however, we decided to spend more time in Arkansas, and take a direct route from New Mexico to Moab to meet up with some traveling friends. One of my favorite (and least favorite) parts of traveling full time is the certainty that plans will change.
Our new route took us through Blanding, UT where some Northern CA friends had just relocated last November. We love these friends, and it was great to catch up, see their new small-town life and get reacquainted. They have six kids still living at home which provided plenty of opportunity for games and play dates.
While we were there, my friend Janae, casually mentioned she had just signed her 10 and 18 year old daughters up to participate in the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, UT and they were still looking for more participants. Immediately, we thought, “no way we can make that work” but after our traveling friends made the decision to skip Moab and head to Idaho we realized we didn’t have any pressing commitments for the month of June. Our thoughts immediately became, “why not?”
Following our sign up, we raced north to Sandy, UT to take care of some housekeeping items, visit with my family, and get some truck repairs done. We needed to be in Manti by Sunday, May 29th for an opening fireside devotional and then rehearsals which started June 1st.
For those who are not familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka “Mormons”, the Manti pageant follows a fictional young couple in their search for religious truth in the early 1800’s, the events surrounding Joseph Smith and his translation of the ancient record, and the depiction of Jesus Christ visiting the people in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
We are excited to share our faith and testimony with the thousands of people that come to see the pageant every year. We will be participating in large group scenes together as family and this will be a learning experience for all of us! Rachel is also going to learn how to square dance for a scene with the Mormon Pioneers, and we will all get a “road school” lesson in theater, production, working in large groups, and performance.
We have settled ourselves into an RV Park for the entire month of June (a first for us!) and plan to still work, school (and sleep!) during the day while attending rehearsals in the evenings. The pageant performances run from 9:30-11:30pm and many of our rehearsals are also very much past the kids’ bedtimes.
While I’m nervous about being in one place for so long, not having air conditioning (our spot is only a 20amp electric hook up!), and being up late at night, we think the experience for our family will be worth it. We’ve learned that mixing things up once in awhile is a good thing and are excited for this opportunity.