Thursday, October 31, 2013



Here are some first impressions and observations of the first month of our mission experience:

BEAUTIFUL TEMPLE GROUNDS!  We drove straight to the temple before we even found our apartment—wanted to see it first, before anything else.  Summer flowers were still blooming everywhere.  Tall, tall green trees surround the temple and parking lot so that the outside world is invisible.  (Temple insight:  We leave the world behind when we come to the temple!)  Then early one morning, about three days later, we decided to WALK to the temple to see how long it took.  (Only about 15 minutes at a brisk walk up and down the hilly streets, but with no sidewalks, we decided it wouldn’t be good to do it every day.)  And as we walked through the temple grounds, they were digging up all the summer flowers! And planting spring bulbs!!  Then the next day when we arrived for our interview with the President, they were planting mums and kale and other fall-blooming plants.  (Ed occasionally nibbles on the decorative kale plants (both green and purple) as we pass by!)  This week the green trees surrounding the temple are all turning different shades of yellow, orange and red!  Stunning view from the bridge of the temple—the huge foyer area that goes from the front doors of the temple to the actual temple itself.  This area has floor-to-ceiling (20 feet tall) windows down both sides.  I love when I am assigned to be a greeter there!!! 

INSIGHT:  I want my life to be as well-cared-for as the temple grounds always are.  I should be gardening in every season to see what things need to be dug out and what new things can be planted.  This scripture was quoted in our preparation meeting last week:  Doctrine and Covenants 97:8-9  “All among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice, . . . they are accepted of me.  For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.”    (see also verse 7)      2013-10-25 14.11.39                                                     

        fall colors                  

GREAT NEIGHBORS! Just like our great neighbors in Aurora!  There are 3 apartments on the lower level of our building where we are and our doors all form a semi-circle—so we call it our cul-de-sac!  And we even have cul-de-sac get-togethers almost every weekend!  Mostly playing a simple card game called 2 Up 4 Down.  It’s Richard and Phyllis Jones, Bud and Jan Hylton, and us!  It makes it easier to be away from our great Colorado friends and neighbors!2013-10-26 21.46.36-2

Our apartment is the one on the bottom

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HIGH-PRICED GROCERIES! What more can we say—we knew it would be this way . . .  There’s no ARASH grocery store!  But we did find the H-Mart, which is a Korean grocery store, and they have better produce prices—but no dollar bags!

MORE TRAFFIC AND HONKING HORNS!   We haven’t ventured out on the highways very much yet. We walk to the Safeway about a half mile away and carry our groceries home in our environment-friendly cloth bags.  Makes us feel so urbanite!  We can walk to the post office, too.  It’s closer than Safeway.  And to a Chipotle restaurant and a good Chinese restaurant right across from Safeway.  Can’t ask for more than that, right?  Our neighborhood is an older one, and most of the homes don’t have garages, so there are lots of cars parked on both sides, making it impossible for 2 cars to go opposite directions at the same time.  But the homes are so nice, and again lots and lots of big, tall trees!!!  I do love the East!

LESS IS MORE!  We are actually enjoying a simpler life style.  Granted, it’s not the sacrifice we would have made if we’d gone to a 3rd-world country!   But it’s been good without a TV, or a dishwasher, or 3 extra bathrooms to keep clean, or a yard to rake and mow!  We eat every meal together, do dishes together, pray together morning and night, and take walks together!  Now if we can just discipline ourselves to use our time in productive ways when we are not at the temple.  We come home pretty tired, and are tempted just to crash, or socialize with all our fun new friends.  But we want to spend more time studying the scriptures, keeping some sort of journal, and doing family history and more indexing on the FamilySearch site.  AND more time keeping in touch with our kids through emails and FaceTime, etc. There are lots of things we are learning by being in the temple five days a week, but none more important than the reminder that families are forever! The whole purpose of temples (134 of them operating all over the world!) is to bind families together and prepare families to live with God again!  We are so blessed to be a small part of this great, world-wide work!

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                         Hay ride

                   Ward picnic at the Pratt Barn. Bishop Mieremet behind us!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


On March 7, 2013 we submitted our mission papers to church headquarters, and on Monday, April 8 we received our mission call to serve in the WASHINGTON, D.C. TEMPLE! Six months later we are finally here! Keeping the temple in sight during that long wait was challenging, but we did our best to attend the Denver temple as often as we could, while finishing projects around the house and yard, and wrapping up Ed's employment at Home Depot. It was a bitter sweet feeling for him on his last day of work August 17.

I guess our mission began officially the next day, August 18, when President Richard L. Millett set us apart as missionaries. The blessings and promises we received were wonderful! Then ten days later we drove off in our recently purchased 2010 Toyota Camry. The Colorado good-byes to kids and grandkids were also bitter-sweet . . .

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We first headed WEST and spent 3 weeks in Utah – a great place to keep temples in sight and strengthen our FAMILY TIES. We attended the Jordan River temple, the Draper temple, and the Oquirrh Mountain temple! (How awesome it was to meet Jan McKinnon's sister there!) On Saturday, September 14, we checked in at the Radisson Hotel – with the Salt Lake temple in sight two blocks away!

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Lowe Ties

Great family ties here!!  Love my Mom and siblings!

Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon! (with Jillian, Corinne, and Grant)

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At the Jordan River Temple with Mom and Mirien                   Saying good-bye to the Churches in SLC!

KEEPING TEMPLES IN SIGHT was also our goal as we then headed East, stopping overnight in Aurora to reload our car (and see kids one more time!!) Before spending a couple days in West Des Moines with Marliese and her family, we went to a session in the Winter Quarters temple, and enjoyed learning about the history of the Church in that area at the Visitors Centers in WQ, at the Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs, and from an amazing farmer named Bob Brown at Mount Piscah. Thank you, Tom and Marliese, for taking us there and introducing us to Bob! We were reminded that the pioneers' miraculous trek of faith was book-ended by the building of the Nauvoo and Salt Lake temples. In spite of their trials, the saints' first priority (because it was God's first priority!) in each major settlement was to construct a house of God, where He could come, give His law, and endow them with power.

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2013-09-21 12.28.39 Winter Quarters Temple and Visitors Center

The next temple in sight was Chicago! (We forgot to take a picture there) We got there on a Tuesday afternoon, in time to attend the 6:00 session. The parking lot was almost empty when we arrived, and I was afraid maybe it was closed for cleaning – but thankfully it was not! There was one other young couple there (who had just moved from Colorado!) and one older sister in that session. We got to be the witness couple! We were surprised how unfamiliar that temple seemed to us, even though it had been our temple for our last 7 years in Indiana, and the temple where Mirien and Brian were married! It was sad to see how few members were there that day participating in the wonderful saving ordinances offered there! How easy it is to take our temples for granted. We are going to strive not to become complacent about the privilege of being guests in the Lord's house five or six days a week on our mission!

From Chicago, it was the Kirtland temple in our sight. We loved our day and a half there! What wonderful missionaries we met serving there, both young and older! One young sister missionary there is from a neighboring branch in the Vaughn's stake in Pennsylvania, and knows them! The Visitor Center director there, Elder Sorensen, is a good friend of Wade Fillmore's, having served with him in San Francisco, and also with him on their mission in the southeast US. Elder and Sister Sorensen gave us a VIP tour of the Kirtland restored sights. We were reminded that Kirtland was the first gathering place of the Saints where a command to build a temple was given. Even though they had to leave Kirtland after only a few years, they had been obedient and built a beautiful temple, where prophecy was fulfilled – the Lord came to His temple and they received God's law for governing the church there.

Elder Sorenson pointed out that the School of the Prophets, which met above the Whitney Store in Kirtland, was in actuality a templethe Lord's house, because he came there. Elder Sorensen shared accounts of many who saw the Savior and the Father there, and said ordinances were performed (washing of feet, cleansing with oil) there. He also said it could be called the first MTC – the elders were instructed there before being sent out to preach. Over and over in our training and in our travels we were reminded that power comes from ordinances.

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Sister Frankinberry who knows the Vaughns.              The Sorensens at the Visitors Center.

While we were this close to Lake Erie, we wanted to see it. After searching for about an hour, we found a state park with beach access. We got a picture of a lighthouse that was built in the 1900's. We met a man who was carrying binoculars and talked to him about birds. He said the warblers were out that day. He said he has been watching birds since he was a kid and has gone all around the world to pursue that interest. He said his world-wide species list has around 4,000 birds on it. His American list is over 500.

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   This is Lake Erie.  Can you see the little tiny lighthouse in the background?  Didn’t think so!

Well, who knew that Kirtland is only six hours from Washington, D.C.??? We were almost there – OUR temple was in sight! The five and a half month wait was over! We arrived in Kensington, MD (where the DC temple actually is) on Friday, September 27, at 5:00 pm, and before finding our apartment and unloading the car, we drove through the Temple parking lot and marveled that indeed this was OUR MISSION! We had arrived, and the temple would be in sight for the next 18 months!  Our first Sunday night there we arranged to meet Ken and Shari Knight at the Visitors Center for a concert.  Some great Indiana friends who are serving a mission in the DC North Mission.

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Tuesday, October 1 we were set apart by President Brian C Swinton, president of the Washington, D.C. temple. He and his wife visited with us for about a half an hour, then we were given a tour of the temple to get our bearings, and given our badges and our schedules. We will work two mid-day shifts (Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-7 pm) and three morning shifts (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8 am-1:30 pm). It is going to be GREAT! Our fellow missionaries and temple ordinance workers are amazing – so friendly and helpful and talented! Now if we can just put the right faces with the names . . .

Today is Thursday, October 3 – our second day on duty. We are loving every minute! In our preparation meeting today and yesterday a quote from President Uchtdorf was read about how each of us is known by name to God, from his great talk in the General RS meeting a few years ago. Then the correlation was made that this is true not only for us right now, but for every person who has ever lived on the earth, as evidenced by the fact that the name of each person whose work is done in the temple each day is said multiple times, and each ordinance is performed individually, with several hours of ordinances for each and every one! I wish I could say it as beautifully as it was said today.

SO, AS WE START THIS BLOG, our goal is to record highlights of our time here, and share some of the things we will learn and experience on our mission – our temple in-sights!  We commit to serve faithfully!