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)
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!
Our apartment is the one on the bottom
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!
Ward picnic at the Pratt Barn. Bishop Mieremet behind us!