Sunday, January 7, 2018

7January 2018 Just getting caught up for 2018

I know I can't believe it either, it's 2018! Time is flying by, as it did in 2015, ending the last mission. It's been a great ride so far and more to come I'm sure. New Years Eve was spent with the missionaries playing games and eating food, of course. We used three apts. to gather in for food and games. When we started planning this I said I wouldn't plan on ringing in the new year, as we will most likely be sleeping by 10:30 pm 💤. Nope we stayed up and made to the new year 💪, welcome 2018 🎊. As always we really had a great time together 🎉. In case you hadn't noticed I'm trying something new. Right after church on New Years Eve Patty, the Weight's and I went to the White House to see the Christmas tree. It was cold, and breezy, I think about 17˙ wind chill at about 10˙. Which as I have seen lately is not that cold😮. After that we went to the Capital Building to see that tree.

White House Christmas Tree 

 There were several trains running 

Each State has its own tree 

White House 

Capital Building ⇡
Capital Tree⇣

New Years Day we spent taking down all the Christmas decorations, then later a couple of us got together to play some games, and eat food😕.

This last week, 2 January - 7 January 2018 has been fairly cold. It has snowed twice with temps down to 6 degrees, however temple work continues. It's always good in the temple, even simple everyday things seem more spiritual. Yesterday, Thursday 4 January We officiated the 5 pm session, since it was cold and snowy earlier not a lot of patrons were there. The 5 pm session had a couple taking out their own endowments, they spoke mandarin Chinese, the mother's escort was her daughter, she spoke english. Anyway it was interesting watching them watch me, as the endowment went forth. They did stand in the prayer circle, with their daughter and some other friends. Nothing big just nice as they changed their entire life.

7 January 2018, A closing statement for Sunday, Today is Fast Sunday the first of the year and we had a different experience for our meeting. As I have said it's been a little cold out, anyway the church building (for Rock Creek Ward) has some plumbing problems and so there was not heat in the chapel. It was decided to hold a combined Fast and Testimony meeting at the Visitors Center (next building over). You have seen pictures of this room as it is the same room used for all the concerts. Anyway is was like Stake Conference with sacrament. Meeting lasted 1 1/2 hrs, but since it's the only meeting it's OK. We usually attend one Sunday a month at Rock Creek Ward, so we picked this Sunday since it is "break the fast" here at the apts. Two pictures taken, I didn't think I should take any after the meeting started, so this is before.

Early on ↑ 

Filling up ↓

Friday, December 29, 2017

29 December 2017 Dinner with the Knowles and other journal items

Friday 15 and Sunday 17 December 2017, I think I mentioned earlier that in the month of December there would be a musical event everyday at the visitor's center. We haven't been to many, and there are still more to come, but Friday the 15th and Sunday the 17th we had a chance to see two great shows. On Friday was the Capital Carillon Bell Choir. It was one I wanted to see, as I love listening to choir bells. It was a great group of performers, with several bell styles, from small to very large each with it's own sound. The music was beautiful and sometimes unique. At the end of the show they invited anyone to come down and ask question and see the bells. I of course went down there and visited with some of the performers. They answered questions and let me try the bells myself. I rather enjoyed it. For some reason I didn't take any pictures?? Oh well next time I will. On Sunday the 17th we went with the Weight's, Bishop's and Snelson's to see The U.S. Army Band Brass And Percussion Ensemble. As you would expect they were very good and I did take some pictures.

Sunday 24 December {Christmas Eve} I'm just writing a couple of short items for the next couple of days. Started the day on the Metro train headed for church like most Sundays. It's Christmas Eve and only one meeting, Sacrament meeting. It was a good Christmas program, highlighted with the Merrill family, (President's family) singing/signing with Eric Scott, (2nd counselor) signing O Holy Night. Later we went to the Rockcreek ward for their sacrament so we could see their Christmas program. Capping the evening and night we went to Mike and Michelle Knowle's home for Christmas Eve dinner and a really nice visit. We met the Knowles while visiting Sara and her family when they lived in Laredo, Tx. Mike was in the branch presidency, Sara and Michelle hit it off great and still remain friends. Anyway Sara told them we were serving in the DC temple, and they live in Maryland they invited us over for dinner. I'm here to tell you it was a very good meal, homemade everything (pies in particular). It's about 30 miles away from us, meaning at least an hr. drive. We were having a great time and realized it was 10:30pm, so we needed to get home arriving about 11:45pm. Wonderful day and evening.

Monday 25 December {Christmas Day!!} Today was spent opening gifts, from each other and the kids. As a side note, almost everyday we found something on the doorway from one of the missionaries. It is truly a loving friendly group. Christmas dinner was a progressive dinner, building 20 hosted the appetizers, building 16 hosted the salads, building 14 hosted the main course and our building, # 18 hosted the desserts. As always to much good good food and as always good good people. 

Thursday 28  December,  All week long missionaries have been coming in early or staying late to help out while the part time district workers take time off for family or vacation. It has kept us extra busy, but extra time in temple is a good thing. Anyway tonight we had tickets for one of the Visitor's Center nightly concerts, the Baxter Family Bluegrass Concert. Well, I like bluegrass and I like Christmas music, gotta like both together. I did, it was good wholesome family entertainment, an LDS family who play several bluegrass instruments, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. And as you would think they all play other instruments. From 4 yrs old to dad and mom, the bass player was a member of the ward. I have a couple of videos, which I can't post, because I don't know how to make them work. Maybe I'll post one on FB.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

10 &11 Dec 2017 Visitor's Center and Colton's Christmas party

Saturday 9 December 2017, It snowed all day, but only dropped about 2 inches of snow. That's some small flakes! Still it was the first snow fall of the season. Pictures below.

Sunday 10 December, Everyday in December there is an event going on at the Temple visitor center and we (missionaries and district workers) are asked to help usher and just be a presence at the visitor center. Our schedule is such that we can't be there very often, however we decided to help out this last Sunday. We were first asked to watch/guard the room that has all the manger scenes. There is a room set up with donated manger scenes from around the world. Our job was to usher people, smile a lot, and welcome people as they pass through the room. Also to make sure the little kiddos don't handle the mangers, as they are donated from various people.  We were able to usher one of the many concerts that are held everyday. It was a Youth concert, Young Columbian Youth Singers, their performance was an American history in song, then ending with a medley of Christmas Carols. I thought it was very well done and enjoyable to watch. We hope to see more in the future. I didn't get any pictures, but I have some for the next page.

Monday 11 December 2017,  Christmas party at President and Sister Colton. What a great evening this was, all the missionaries and some district workers gathered together at the Colton's home for dinner and fun, with some caroling thrown in. I imagine there were about 65 - 70 people there. It was the last "farewell" to the Sudweeks who as of today left for home. They will be the last missionaries to leave before the temple closing. Since we came, the missionaries who were leaving and those arriving would have a monthly "Hail and farewell, basically a hello to the newcomers and a goodbye to the ones leaving. If you look back a couple of post you'll see the one we were in at the Folger's farm. Anyway each leaving couple would do some kind of a skit or presentation. The Sudweek's was a group reading on the birth of Christ. It was great fun and tender, and I have asked them to send me a copy of the skit. I played the "Wise Man". After dinner we talked then gathered around for Christmas caroling. I did take some pictures, not many, but some. 

 Snow starting

↑😅 At the temple↓


Colton's back of house 


Front house 

Setting up dinner 

Here we go a caroling... 

Wayne and Sue Slade singing away
Dawn Dyer in the middle 

President Colton playing his harmonica
Sister Johnson, ward choir director, in front.

Name dropping time! Just saying, 
1. Brother Parker, the temple recorder is the grandson of President Ezra Taft Benson. He is a wonderful man, very humble and kind.
2. One of the district workers, Tom Hugh Nibley, is the son of LDS author/scholar Hugh Nibley. 
3. Sister Hatch (one of the Hatch's) is a district worker, wife of Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.
just saying...

Thursday14 December 2017, Rock Creek Ward temple day. I wanted to add this short piece and a little history with it. When the Rock Creek Ward has a temple day, Brother Chin, a missionary and sealer in the temple asks if anyone has any family names that would like done. Now saying this, I mean family as in a you have searched and found a complete family's work to do. For example, last night we did the sealing of a husband to his wife (first) then sealed their eight children in order to their parents. As each child was sealed Brother Chin seated them in a row, the middle two seat for the parents, then on either side the children in order of their birth. When that was completed we sealed one of the daughters to her husband, then sealed their four children to them. Following that we sealed three other children to their spouses. So when we finished we had 5 families eternally sealed all seating together. It was really nice and you could really feel the spirit. All the patrons and workers were temple missionaries or full time district workers from the ward, Patty and I excepted as we are in the deaf branch, but live in the ward area. I wish I had pictures, but of course don't so you have to imagine it in my mind with me. It was beautiful!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2 December 2017 Tender mercies at the temple

Saturday 2 December 2017, we were asked to officiate the last session of our shift (4:30). Earlier at the preparation meeting President Swift asked us if we were going to the Deaf Branch Christmas party, we said we had to officiate the 4:30 session. He said we could have asked to change the schedule to enable us to go, but we thought no we'll do the session. Now you known we are the only missionaries who use sign language, and is one reason we are here. Also we know that the 3rd Friday is the ASL day. However a deaf patron can come in anytime, as was the case tonight. While we were waiting for the patrons to come in the session, the shift coordinator came to us and said a deaf patron was coming in and wanted to attend the 4:30 session. I was at the door and a man came in, I asked him if his wife was with him, thinking about them being the witness couple, he said yes she was. I went to speak with her and found out she was the deaf patron. I asked her in sign if she would like to act as the witness, she was surprised that I knew ASL and agreed to act as the witness couple. I proceeded to run the session as a ASL session. We had closed caption with ASL interpreting. The prayer circle was done like an ASL session and the veil also. It was really a great blessing to be available for her. The coordinators mentioned as we all did that the details are in the Lords hands, He knows where we need to be and why. It's our responsibility to do it. I know it doesn't sound like much but when you are the only ASL missionaries there working any shift and time, and the one session we are working on that day she picks to attend. I feel blessed to be involved. I will say it's not the first time or only time we had deaf patrons while we have been there. It just works out that way.

Sunday 3 December 2017. Brookside Apts. break-the-fast. It is our floor's turn to host the break-the-fast for our building (#20).  We decided on Mexican food, I made tostadas, and cheese crips. We also had enchiladas, chips and salsa, and beans. Once again to much food, good food though! 1 picture to show, very simple. This is our apt. what you can't see is that to the left is the apt the sisters ate in and to the right is where the food was set up and of course straight ahead (our apt.) is where the brethren ate. Again you can see the closeness of the apartments, and so the closeness of the people.

Monday 4 December 2017, Pemberley on Pond. This is a bi-annual event with the temple district workers and missionaries. Brother and Sister Jenkins invite all the missionaries and full time district workers to their home for a luncheon. Since it's December it is a Christmas luncheon. The Rock Creek Ward ( missionaries ward) asked us to head this activity up. Brother and Sister Jenkins provide all the meat, plates, flatware and drinks. We bring a side or dessert, again to much food, but what a fun time. They have a piano and an old pump organ, which someone starts playing Christmas carols.  They have no children nor of course grandchildren, so they share with neighbors and missionaries. Here are some pictures of the place, which is called Pemberly on Pond, I know there is a reason, I just don't know what it is.

I thought this was cute, a silver tea set with hot apple cider  

gathered around the tree 

Some shots of the house and surrounding area
Pond below 

Continuation of the day; on the way home we stopped at the Battlefield of Bull Run. I'm telling you history is everywhere. Bull Run or the Battle of Manassas as the confederates called it, was the first real battle of the Civil War. Neither side was really prepared for the battle, new green recruits, neither thinking the battle or the war would last. Both hoping to end it in one battle. Sadly 4 years later and 600,000 American lives later it ends. Anyway about seven hundred forty- seven men died and about 4,000 wounded between both sides at Bull Run ending in a Confederate victory. Another thing about this battle is, this is where Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson stood his ground earning his famous nick name Stonewall Jackson. I love the history here. 

 This house was owned by an elderly widow (Judith Henry), who refused to leave her house
when the canon bombs started. She was killed from an explosion. Her grave is on the property

The battle took place on Henry Hill

Bull Run Monument 

Judith Henry is the widow that was killed 

Until next time, May God Bless America

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

18 November 2017 ASL endowment

I just realized I hadn't published this page until now so it will appear out of order, but it is what it is. Last night, Friday 17 November, was ASL temple night in which we did a ASL endowment session. Now when I write about the temple things I try to keep it simple and not say or write anything I shouldn't, saying this please understand I'm not keeping things secret, but sacred. Sister Slade and I were patrons for the session, which was good because it allowed the deaf members to be the ordinance workers. We work in the temple everyday, so it was better for them. Patty and I were the witness couple. I have been in a few ASL sessions, so I knew how it was, but I did learn something last night I didn't know. Being vague, here it is. In the prayer circle, the worker organizing the prayer and giving it, is the follower (if there is one). The voice giving instruction is James. If Peter is the officiator then James is the follower. The other things I learned, not because I didn't know it, but never saw it was the ASL group signing the prayer. As in a regular session the culmination of the endowment is the vale, so it was with the ASL session. Without saying much, I really enjoyed the vale in ASL. It takes longer for sure, but it's interesting. All in all it was a good session and shift. I will finish this page with reports on some up coming events, as they happen. Everyday at the temple is special, something always keeps me thinking and ever worshiping my God. I thank Him daily for the opportunity to serve here and in the temple. There are ups and downs but, what a blessing the temple is to all the world. We are a covenant people for sure. Until next time, keep the faith.

28 November 2017 Temple Christmas Devotional, and other items admissible for journals.

Thursday 23 November 2017, Thanksgiving was spent with the temple missionaries, we all met at the church building and enjoyed each other's company and were thankful for all our blessings. It was a turkey dinner and lots of other food items. It was fun and delicious. The brethren sang a couple of thanksgiving songs with a duet from Brother Bishop and his twin (visiting from another mission near by) Elder Bishop. They sang "How Great Thou Art". Very nice, both have a lovely voice.Then there was the turkey gobbling demo, humorous for sure. I'll post the pictures at the bottom, as usual.  That was November 23rd, on Friday and Saturday temple days as usual, always things happen. Even very small sessions, (the one on Saturday I officiated had 3 patrons), but the policy is if someone comes to the temple we will have a session for them. Serving here is different than in Mesa, which is the only other temple I have served in. I'll give a couple of examples, saying this does not take away from either temple. Each has it's policies and workers and their ways. I have mentioned this before but it is one of the reason I like the DC temple, First thing you do is get OK'd on the various positions then start in working the positions. I only worked in Mesa a short time as a set apart ordinance worker, but in doing so was never asked or even mentioned to about being a coordinator, of any kind. Since being here I have been trained and worked as a Veil coordinator, Veil director, Initiatory director, Baptism director, endowment officiator, helped an own endowment patron through the veil, that's not happening in Mesa. I don't mean to sound negative it is just such a great experience  learning all this. If you are reading this and not a member of the church or have not been endowed it may not make sense, but it is a thrill to be used in such a capacity. Again as mentioned before, the opportunity to go from assignment to assignment daily and perform various ordinances is a blessing! I remember working in Mesa at the Recommend desk   ( front desk) and being told you don't make conversation with the patrons even if you know them, just politely welcome them and scan the Recommend, if they said anything  you can respond. At the desk here it's encouraged to say good morning, afternoon, evening, mention how happy you are to see them and in some cases someone might think you are mad if you don't say anything. I love being in the temple and seeing other workers come and go and talk with them because you know them and love them. Today I was waiting after my shift and was sitting with another missionary talking and then another missionary came and sat with us, just about everybody that walked by it was "hi" or "bye" or "enjoy the rest of your day"or "welcome to the temple". It's wonderful. The Spirit is strong, maybe it's because it's a mission or that we are there everyday, I just know it's pretty cool.  Anyway to close on this and in defense of Mesa, I bet the average time line of a Mesa worker is 15 yrs. Meaning the years of a Mesa temple worker is 15 or more years, they are established and set. Here in DC there are many who have been around that long, but are inter-mixed with young people and of course missionaries coming and going. The missionaries are the go to group, when we open on a Monday for a holiday, the presidency asked the district workers to see if they can work out their schedule to be there, but they say "we expect all missionaries to be there". Another case in point is an announcement was made stating "if the weather is bad or you feel you can't safely drive to your shift please don't try to come, just let your shift coordinator know, but this does not apply to missionaries we expect you to be here" ( smile). Of course it's a five minute drive.

Our Thanksgiving group 

 Elder Barney gobbling

Elder Hockett's turn 

Elder Papa and Brother Nelson's turn 

The Bishop twins

On Sunday 26 November 2017 was the DC Temple Devotional. All district workers and missionaries with their endowed family members were invited. It was held on the 7th floor (the Priesthood Room). Speakers were the Temple Presidency, Matron and Assistant to the Matron. Music was provided by the Washington DC Mormon Choir. All was beautiful and enjoyable. We invited Kenna Brown (Shirley's daughter) to join us. Speaking of Kenna we have had a couple opportunities to visit and have dinner with her. She is such a joy and a sweetheart. I would guess there were about 600+ people there. I wish I had pictures, but of course it's in the temple so that's not going to happen. All the missionaries were ushers and Patty and I were assigned to usher the ASL group, so we all know that means FRONT ROW SEATS. 3 aisles were reserved for the ASL, but only needed 7 spots which means we and Kenna and her friend sat on the second row up front. When it was over and we finished our assignments we went outside and the temple Christmas lights were on for the first time this season, it was beautiful.  At the Visitor Center is a cut-out of the temple for all to see the rooms inside, I edited it to explain:

  The 6th floor is where the sealing rooms are. There are 15 rooms some hold as many as 60 people
On the 4th floor there are 6 endowment rooms all around the Celestial Room.
On the 2nd floor, if you look smack dab in the middle is a mural depicting the Savior's coming on his right are the righteous and on his left, well not so good. it is an eye opening picture. One thing I noticed was that on the right there are children but none on the left side.

This is an interesting picture, what you are seeing is the cut-out of the temple display with the Christus reflecting from behind and the actual Temple in the glass outside. Cool huh!

Another reflection of the Christus  

  Kenna with Patty and I

Monday 27 November 2017 P-day, we decided to go to Fort McHenry in Baltimore MD. It is rich in American history, but I'm going to post this one historic battle:

War of 1812[edit]

Bombardment of Fort McHenry
Beginning at 6:00 a.m. on September 13, 1814, British warships under the command of Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane continuously bombarded Fort McHenry for 25 hours.[4] The American defenders had 18-, 24- and 32-pounder (8, 11, and 16 kg) cannons. The British guns had a range of 2 miles (3 km), and the British rockets had a 1.75-mile (2.8 km) range, but neither guns nor rockets were accurate. The British ships were unable to pass Fort McHenry and penetrate Baltimore Harbor because of its defenses, including a chain of 22 sunken ships, and the American cannons. The British vessels were only able to fire their rockets and mortars at the fort at the weapons' maximum range. The poor accuracy on both sides resulted in very little damage to either side before the British, having depleted their ammunition, ceased their attack on the morning of September 14.[5] Thus the naval part of the British invasion of Baltimore had been repulsed. Only one British warship, a bomb vessel, received a direct hit from the fort's return fire, which wounded one crewman.[citation needed]
The Americans, under the command of Major George Armistead, lost four killed—including one African-American soldier, Private William Williams, and a woman who was cut in half by a bomb as she carried supplies to the troops—and 24 wounded. At one point during the bombardment, a bomb crashed through the fort's powder magazine. Fortunately for the Americans, either the rain extinguished the fuse or the bomb was a dud.[6]

Star Spangled Banner[edit]

Flag that flew over Fort McHenry during its bombardment in 1814, which was witnessed by Francis Scott Key. The family of Major Armistead, the commander of the fort, kept the flag until they donated it to the Smithsonian in 1912.[7]
Francis Scott Key, a Washington lawyer who had come to Baltimore to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, a civilian prisoner of war, witnessed the bombardment from a nearby truce ship. An oversized American flag had been sewn by Mary Pickersgill for $405.90[8] in anticipation of the British attack on the fort. When Key saw the flag emerge intact in the dawn of September 14,[5] he was so moved that he began that morning to compose the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" that was later set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" which would later be renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and become the United States' national anthem.
It is a heart warming and touching story, I believe, if I may say, and I can because it's my blog, I think every American and specially those athletes protesting the during the National Anthem should see and hear the story. Maybe learn why Americans get upset when you degrade, protest or disrespect our Flag or our Anthem. Listen to the words of the Anthem and try to get a picture of what Francis Scott Key witnessed that morning. Remember after 25 hrs. of bombardment he didn't know who's flag was going to be raised, you see not only were the British attacking at the harbor but also a land attack to the northwest of Baltimore. No one knew how the land attack was going nor, because of the black powder smoke in the air after 25 hrs, how the sea attack was going. Then when the smoke finally cleared it was there, the Star Spangled Banner, the American Flag still waved. Anyone who knows and truly understands the American history can't help but know that the Hand of God was there, this is the "land of promise".  

We had the opportunity to unfurl a flag that was the actual size of the one
at Fort McHenry. Notice the size of the people to the flag.
The Flag is 40'x30'

If you can see the bridge, it is about 4 miles out. The British were 2 miles out lobbing shells
for 25 hrs. 

The barn looking building is where the powder kegs were kept.
One shell hit it square and landed inside, but it was a dud. Surely
this was a "coincidence". Hmmm?  

This is the same place the flag stood when it was hoisted up on 14 September 1814
The flag pole, which is a ship mast, is 90' in the air.

There is more to come, the history around here is rich. Until next time and as always "God Bless America"