Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fort Lauderdate Temple Cultural Celebration & Dedication

5 May 2014

Dear family, friends, and everyone,

Only 3 more weekly emails to go after this one!  As usual, at this point I remember very little about what went on this week. A few fun points..

During Bishop's meeting (like correlation, but with Bishop Brown, who is very involved in the missionary work of our ward), Bishop Brown was trying to find the hymn he was thinking of to start off our meeting. We suggested that he hum a bit of it so we could help him. He turned to us and said, "I gotta tell you... I'm the first black man without rhythm." We died laughing.

Speaking of correlation, last night we were asked, along with some other missionaries in the Ft. Laud area, to help with replacing furniture in the temple after the dedication. More on that in a minute. At one point while we were waiting for the trucks of furniture to arrive and after we had already cleaned the temple to be ready for them, all the missionaries who were there, along with a few members who had come, were in the chapel. Our ward mission leader Brother Jensen was there so we sat down and had an impromptu correlation meeting! I think those plans will go through.

Helping out at the temple after the dedication! We got to
move the furniture back in that had been taken out for
the dedication... Well, the Elders moved it. We
dusted it all off as it came inside and vacuumed :)

So in cleaning the temple we got to go inside the newly-dedicated temple and clean it out - vacuum, dust, and remove the white chairs they had there for the dedication. When the temple furniture arrived we (and I mean the whole crew) unwrapped it, brought it inside, dusted it off (that was our job), and carried it to the rooms where it needed to go. We dusted almost all of the chairs in the temple last night. We left the temple at 9:30 and got home at 10. It was amazing. We wore white booties to protect the carpet and after scanning our recommends they gave each of us a white armband so we wouldn't have to scan the recommend every time we came in and out. I definitely saved mine.

Another amazing thing is that Sister Merrill's recent convert K is going through the temple on Tuesday night for the first time! She is one of three people who will be going through for the first time on the first day of operations, and Sister Merrill and her old companion Sister Karl get to go with her! They are both soo excited. Meanwhile Sister Furner and I get to go on exchanges up in Coral Springs :)

This is MLC at the Andersons' house.

I got to go to MLC, Mission Leadership Council, for the first and last time this Friday. It was fun. We all accounted for our own areas and our stewardships, then were trained by the Assistants on the importance and use of key indicators. Then President Anderson taught us about the faith cycle. We had Sister-Anderson-made lunch, took pictures, and off we went to apply what we had learned!

Sitting by Sister LeBaron and Sister Gordon...

On Saturday we got to go to the Cultural Celebration. Sorry for the use of so many exclamation marks and superlatives in this email, but it is all worth it. We arrived at the Nova University arena and saw all the other missionaries come in. Usually all the missionaries in the mission are gathered only once a year, at the Christmas mission conference. Since September we have been all together five times! So I got to see everyone I have ever served around :) It was fun; and probably the last time I will see most of them as missionaries!

The cultural celebration was great. The gospel singing, sign language, ocean life, mosquito swamp, hurricane, and helping hands were all very fun. But overall I was impressed not so much by the skill of the performers or the quality of the show as by the youth's power for righteousness. I also really really loved the mural at the end of Christ's coming. What you may not be able to see in the broadcast (https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/languages/florida-cultural-celebration/2014/04?lang=eng) is that it is made up of hundreds of pictures of baptisms. All we missionaries were asked to send in any baptismal pictures we had several weeks ago, and there they are! I'm hoping we can get our hands on a copy of it!

The Orellanas are a family from West Palm. I love them.

I got to see a lot of people I knew at the cultural celebration, which was so fun. Members from wards I've served in all over the place! I have served now in 5 different units (6 if you count the two weeks in Miami Shores before we split off..) and I know a lot of people. 
Cesar is also from West Palm. He was baptized less 
than a year before I got there, and was a tour guide 
at the temple every day of the open house. So awesome!
Meeting up with the Kempers at the Cultural Celebration--
Andrea, Aunt Jill, Caroline, Bridget, and HH

And at the end I got to see Uncle Rick, Aunt Jill, Andrea, Caroline, Tarl, William, and Bridget. That was fun :) I didn't even recognize William and Bridget they have grown so much! I am nervous for the family reunion this June.. I enjoyed speaking Spanish with Uncle Rick (well-remembered, btw. I was impressed) and also enjoyed seeing him and Tarl be supportive of keeping rules and getting home on time. Maybe I'm being judgy, but I definitely think that a returned missionary's continued respect and obedience for mission rules shows his character! (so thanks, I'm glad for the example)

One thing that I was considering as we prepared for the dedication on Sunday morning was the fact that from the time from Adam until Joseph Smith, there was one temple on the earth at a time. More counting the temples of the Nephites, but we don't know much about it/them, so we'll stick with that statistic - at least only one in the Eastern Hemisphere at a time. As of yesterday, there are now 143 operating temples in the world! That is incredible. 

And we got to see President Uchtdorf as he came out 
of the temple after the last dedicatory session. He 
came over and said hi to our group across the street too.

The dedication was wonderful. We got to hear from President Uchtdorf of course, Elder Christofferson of the Quorum of the 12, Elder Rasband of the Presidency of the 70, Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, Elder Kent Richards of the 70, and the new temple presidency and their wives. There were three dedicatory sessions and each one was different - different speakers, choirs, etc. (Oh, and I knew people from the choirs in each of the two sessions we were able to watch! And I think  saw Uncle Rick and Aunt Jill in the first session) I also really enjoyed the cornerstone ceremony. Elder Uchtdorf was giving a blow-by-blow because he had a clip-on microphone, and it was funny as different people were asked to come and put in the mortar. It felt right at home. 

Out of time, write to me! Not much time left to do it in!


Cousins, HH and Caroline Kemper Reid-Reynoso!

R & P are baptized!

The battery on my green watch is finally dead, almost
two years later. So I'm going to keep time using
my pump, and just had to commemorate the watch tan.

A pineapple plant. This photo is actually courtesy of 
Sister Ellett but it was cool so I thought I'd send it anyway..

Another one from Sister Ellett, who is serving in my old
area of Miami Beach English. This is one of my
favorite graffiti portraits in the art district.


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