January 28th through January 24th: Monday I worked on the blog in the morning and then we went to the temple. The MTC asked us to open the temple a day early and let them have 4 sessions for the missionaries that have come since the closure started on the 4th. We had lined up 10 missionary couple and a few temple workers to assist us with these 4 sessions. There were 7 missionaries that had arrived at the MTC that had not received their endowments and they were leaving on Tuesday. So we happily opened the temple and had a wonderful afternoon serving these precious young men and women. What an honor to help them. We finished up about 6:00pm and decided to all go to dinner to celebrate the birthdays of Dawn and Eldon Hurst. Both have birthdays this week. We went to Tacotento, a Mexican restaurant that is really close to our apartments. It was fun to all be together and share a meal, we never do that kind of thing (NOT).
|Dinner at Tacotento, notice that everyone has on a sweater. It is chilly here.|
Tuesday was the official opening of the temple after the maintenance closing. I first had to go to the dentist and have a cavity fixed. Thanks area dental office! Then it was to the lab to have blood drawn to check my blood thinner. Finally, we got home and had some lunch and then went over to the temple to see how the afternoon shift was going with the new schedule of adding sessions at 2:00pm and 3:00pm. We need to get more of the workers to come on time. We are asking them to come an hour earlier. We only stayed a few hours and everything worked out well. I have been working on family names and John B. said his ward needed names for the youth to be able to go to the temple, so I shared with him the names of 50 men and 50 women. I also printed the cards for about 200 people and we will do the ordinances in this temple. I can’t believe how many names I am finding and how fast we can get the work done. We do have a little advantage. We just put our names ahead of the temple names and sometimes an entire session will be our names. I end up spending a few hours every day attaching records and hints and in the process find more names. I get so excited when I find a census record that adds 4 or 5 children or a marriage record that adds a spouse and parents. I think I am becoming a genealogy addict. But I figure it is a good use of down time. Wednesday we switched with the Rosales and they took the morning shift for us so that we could attend the world wide satellite broadcast to all the missionaries around the world. They said that it had been over a decade since they first did this. It was a wonderful and powerful meeting. We heard from many of the twelve and some of the seventy that serve on the missionary council. Then it was straight to the temple for the afternoon shift. That made for a pretty long day, but it was filled with the Spirit. Thursday we had presidency meeting and we just stayed for the afternoon shift. That made for 11 straight hours at the temple. Mom brought over some granola bars to keep us going. We had good attendance for the 2 new sessions. The sealer didn’t come in the evening so I got to be the sealer and did a 1 ½ hour session with my own family names. It was the most powerful experience I have had in years. There were 6 couples and every one of them needed tissues, even the men were wiping tears from their eyes. There really are many more blessings when we do family names as Elder Scott has taught us. Of course I needed an entire box of tissues. At times I could hardly talk. It is hard to describe what I felt. At the end of the session I told the group thanks for helping me do my family names and one of the men said “We didn’t know they were your family, but we could feel that they were.” Sometimes you wonder if you are making a difference, but I know I made a difference in the lives of at least 12 people that evening. It was a very rewarding experience. Friday we did some shopping, since on Monday we did not get a chance to go grocery shopping. We also had the opportunity to go and do a session in the temple. We spent some time working on talks. We have another stake conference this week end and a fire side for all of the north institute students. Saturday we got up at 3:00am. I set the alarm, but did not need it. I woke up 15 minutes before it went off. We got to the temple at 4:00am and had a great morning. We had sessions about every 30 minutes and every one of them was full and there were youth groups and sealings. It is so wonderful when the temple is full. We came home and had lunch and did a couple of hours of family search and then left for our stake conference assignment. We had printed a map to get to the stake center, but when we arrived, 10 minutes before the meeting was to start, we realized that we were at the wrong chapel. We called the stake president and of course we could not tell him where we were, we had no idea. I rolled down the window and asked a man on the street if he would tell the person on the phone where we were. I then handed him my I-phone. I had the thought, “Should I have just handed this guy my phone?” Well, he explained where we were and the stake president explained where we needed to go and we were off. The stake president left the meeting and went out and waited for us on the side of the road and then escorted us into a gated neighborhood. We arrived as they were announcing the program. Our talks went fine, but during the area seventies talk my phone went off. I had left it on when talking to the stake president and forgot to put it on vibrate. I got mine turned off and then Chris’ rang. The temple was trying to get a hold of us. The missionaries did not know we were at a stake conference and wanted to go to dinner. We were so embarrassed. Talk about making a bad first impression. Sunday we made sure we were early and we spoke right before the area seventy. The other speakers had taken a lot of time so I sent a note to the stake president asking what time he wanted us to end. We had to cut our talks short so that the visiting authority had his time. That was ok with us and we still felt like we did a good job. I ended right at the time they asked me to, so I hope that left a better impression.
|Alameda Stake Conference|
|The stake choir. The two boys sat right behind us and both had very nice voices.|
|Mom and her two new friends.|
|A proud papa and his 3 month old son. Made us think of Campbell.|
|Outside after conference.|
We then went home and made linner, which is lunch and dinner. We asked the Hurst’s if they wanted to go with us to the Fireside for the Institute. They said they would like to join us, so we 4 headed out to another chapel that we have never been to before. This time a “Lola”, our GPS Waze navigator, got us to the right place on time. Mom and I were the only speakers and they wanted us to take an hour. I think we hit a home run. Mom did a great job and had them laughing and crying. I then also made a few jokes which made them laugh. Mom said I hit them a bit hard about getting married, but I felt the Spirit and think that they got the message. My talk was on how to obtain eternal life. We left and I felt excited and uplifted. I was grateful for the Holy Ghost and the help I received. I had not prepared all that much and I made some changes during my presentation. I know when I have done something beyond my abilities and that talk was one of those times when divine help was evident.
|Institute Fireside--it was packed.|
|Mom's helper at the institute fireside. Sister Garcia one of our temple workers.|
I have had tears a number of times writing this blog. It was one of the best weeks we have had so far and I feel so blessed to be able to be here and participate in these meetings and in the temple. “How did this all happen?”, is still a question that is bouncing around in my mind. The Lord is in charge and is bountiful in His blessings to us. We give thanks everyday for our many blessings. We can’t imagine how we deserve this assignment.