Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Beginning of a Dream Fulfilled: Gilbert Temple Ground Breaking

Can it be true that my little home-town of Gilbert is getting a temple?!  My heart is so full!  We were fortunate to be able to attend the Gilbert Temple Groundbreaking Ceremony yesterday.  What a beautiful experience.  We were there 2 hours early, and I'm glad we were because by the time it started, all 5,000 chairs set up were full, and there were rows and rows of people behind those chairs with their own camping chairs to sit in, and behind THAT there were tons of people standing.  My dad estimated that there were about 7,000 people there (and that doesn't count all the people who didn't go to the site & who went to their church buildings to see it broadcasted instead).  I'm so glad we were on the the temple grounds--sitting IN the dirt field that would become sacred & holy ground.  The Spirit was so strong!

 All I could think about was how badly I want my family to be eternal.  I love my husband Mitchell, and I love my precious and perfect baby boys.  They're so sweet and innocent!  All I want for them is to grow up in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to feel the power of God's love for them in their hearts, and to reach for an eternal family with us.

 Before the ceremony began, I decided that if I wanted my kids to be quiet during the talks that we should get some energy out by walking around.  We got to see many wonderful people who have become our friends over the years through church functions and service.  There were news-copters above that we waved at, and we walked up to the front to see where the groundbreaking would take place.  It was so cool to see so many shovels for the groundbreaking!  They all had a picture of what the Gilbert temple is going to look like.
 Me & Tyson
 Mitch
 Dad & Taylor

Hubs & Emmett
 
Lately Tyson has been pointing out every single "fire pump" he sees.  He's got an eye for finding them.  Mitch took Tyson for a ride in the stroller & they found this huge hydrant.  SO COOL!  : )
 Aunt Karla & Karly came with Uncle Russ, Uncle Russ didn't feel like standing in the line/crowd to see the shovels, so we took a picture with Kenny, Jake's friend when we were up there. : )
 Cute little Jodi had to work, so she wouldn't be able to stay around for the entire groundbreaking, but we're glad she got to come.  It actually turned out to be kind of special that she came because she was able to help a little boy in her ward named Luke to find his parents.  We don't think that was a coincidence that she came later than the rest of the family and happened to be right there when that little boy needed a familiar face & comfort until he found his family.  I'm glad she got to come and be there with us for a little bit.  (I wish that Mike & Erin could have been there with us--I almost tried to get a picture of the 4 of the siblings present, but it would still just feel empty without Erin, so I just took little group shots here & there). 
 We sat by my parents and brothers and their friend, Trevor during the ceremony. 

I'm so grateful my parents set the precedence for the rest of us by getting sealed in the temple.  I love my brothers & sisters so much.  I can't imagine being without them after this life.  I'm grateful for the example my parents have set, too, of  Seeking first the kingdom of God.  We made sacrifices throughout the years so that we could do the basic things regularly--scripture study, family home evening, going to church, attending the temple. 

They showed us what to do in order to put the Lord and family first.  The result:  close family relationships, knowing I can turn to them for anything, a deep imbedded desire to live so that I can be in my Heavenly Father's presence again with my family, an understanding that we're all in this together & our job is to help each other get back to the Lord's presence, and a respect for sacred things. 

The temple is a sacred ediface, and it's symbolic of how we should be inside--clean & pure, always reaching for the divine within us, and always focussing on the teachings of the Lord.
 The talks were beautiful.  Elder & Sister Costa talked about the people in the Amazon of Brazil, and the sacrifices they made to get to the temple--those people sold all that they had, and traveled in extreme heat and uncomfortable busses and boats, tried to keep their kids happy on the 2 week long trip, and they made these huge sacrifices just to get to the temple to receive the saving ordinances of the gospel.  How fortunate we are to have a temple so close in Mesa, and now to have our very own temple in Gilbert--it's an honor and a privilege.  It felt special to be there the entire time, but after the ground was dedicated, there really was a difference in the way it felt.  I can't describe it--it was slight & it was quiet, but it was different--it is a special place and it will bring peace to many people--members of the church & non-members alike, because it will be a place that will remind people to turn to God: "In faith we'll rely on the arm of Jehovah, to guide thru these last days of trouble and gloom."  --Hymn #3
After all the dignitaries and stake presidents and their wives got to break the ground, they invited everyone who wanted to come and help turn the soil to come up and grab a shovel.  Here's the proof that I got to dig up some soil to help start the making of the Gilbert Temple.  I love this place!  I love the Lord!  I love my family!  I love the gospel!  I have hope in the Savior of the World and in his plan!  I know that the family is CENTRAL to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of his children!  I know that sacred covenants available in holy temples allow families to be united beyond the grave!  What a gift!  I want my foundation in the Lord to always be FIRM, I want my children & grandchildren, not to mention my brothers and sisters and cousins to all feel what I know--to fear not and be not dismayed--Jesus Christ is our God & will still give us aid.  He'll "strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand", upheld by His righteous, omnipotent hand.  I could barely sing the last verse yesterday of this hymn, but my heart felt it so strongly:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, NO NEVER FORSAKE!