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 . . .
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!
Great family ties here!! Love my Mom and siblings!
Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon! (with Jillian, Corinne, and Grant)
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.
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 temple – the 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.
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.
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.
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!