Winter semester can be hard for students as they trudge through thick snow, battle harsh Rexburg winds and resist the urge to stay in a cozy bed all day.

For two students here, winter reminds them of a different time in their past, sometimes even as long as 180 years ago. These students of course did not live during the 1840’s, but they wore pioneer dresses and made history as they served a year of their missions in the Nauvoo Historic Sites during the winter of 2020.

Evelin Magana, a senior at BYU-Idaho studying psychology, served as a Spanish-speaking missionary in Nauvoo, Illinois.

“It’s motivating to remember Nauvoo and how even though it can be hard for me some days to want to go out and do the things I need to do, it’s like I know that all I need is a better attitude about it,” Magana said.

Evelin Magana walking to her tour at the Jonathon Browning Gunsmith shop in her pioneer dress

Evelin Magana walking to her tour at the Jonathon Browning Gunsmith shop in her pioneer dress

Cassie McDaniel, who is finishing up her junior year studying biotechnology, also served with Magana as a tour guide in Nauvoo.

“(Being a tour guide) helped me realize the impact of the place that I was in,” McDaniel said, “when I took those moments to sit and think and reflect on all that happened there. So I just went outside and tried to appreciate where I was and the beauty that was there.”

Cassie McDaniel, former missionary at the Nauvoo Historic Sites mission

Cassie McDaniel, former missionary at the Nauvoo Historic Sites mission

Their insights conclude that there is so much to to be grateful for here in Rexburg during the winter. We just have to look for those good times and create some fun times.

“There’s a lot of fun stuff to do in Rexburg, even if most of them are outdoors,” McDaniel said. “There’s still lots to do indoors and then even some outdoors and its just about finding them and bringing the people that you love and care about with you to enjoy the fun as well.”