Wow--can't believe it's been since May when I wrote! That is pretty bad...but this weekend was so memorable that I needed to write about it. I know that many of my posts are about my feelings about the Gospel and my religion--but I guess those are some of the most meaningful things to me...so I guess that is what I SHOULD write about! My family is doing pretty well. Since May we have added a new member to our family--cute little Ruby Johnson, born to our daughter, Emily, and her husband, Michael. She is just precious--there is nothing like a baby to help you "reconnect" to heaven--there is something so sweet about a newborn...and now, as she is starting to smile and respond, it is even more fun to have her around. We are so grateful she arrived here safe and sound. :) We love our precious grandchildren. :)
Well, now let me write about the events of this weekend. The Phoenix Arizona temple was dedicated this weekend, and is now ready to be opened and to be used. It has been an amazing fall for us--we went to the open house several times, with several different people. Each time was very meaningful and special to us. We are so thankful we could share that experience with people not of our same faith--the temple means so much to us, and it is so nice to share it with people who don't get to normally go into it. We loved doing that. After 3 weeks of open houses there, it was ready for a final cleaning and then to be dedicated. That is what this weekend was about.
For weeks, even months before a temple is dedicated, the teenagers in that temple district participate in learning dances and songs for a big cultural celebration that is held the Saturday night before a temple is dedicated. So many people are involved--and thousands of hours of service are given to teach dances, to coordinate huge numbers of youth and to make costumes for all the youth involved. It is a huge undertaking--and the final result was last night, where 4300 youth between the ages of 12 and 18 performed in a football stadium. There were songs and narrations about the history of Phoenix, and the Church's influence in that history--and it was all coordinated. It was an amazing show--and the enthusiasm and love of the youth was evident as you watched their faces as they performed. It was spectacular. I believe it is shown on U-Tube--if you want, you should watch part or all of it--it was great! After the performance, many of the performers gathered around where our church leaders were sitting--our president, whom we revere as a prophet of God, was right there, and it was wonderful to see how the youth just wanted to be where he was. It was so heartwarming. :)
Then today in 3 different sessions the temple was dedicated. As part of each service, there were probably 4 or 5 speakers--different ones at each session, beautiful music performed by 3 different choirs, composed of people chosen from the different areas in the temple district. One of those choirs was led by our dear cousin, Becky Allen, which made it even more special for us. A dedicatory prayer was read in each session, dedicating the temple to the work that it is designed to do. The Spirit was so strong in each session--I went to 2 of the 3 sessions. Each speaker talked about something different, but each talk had to do with the blessing of having this temple here and how we need to rededicate ourselves to going to the temple...just as the temple was dedicated for the work that goes on within its walls. It was an amazing experience, and I was just so grateful to be there.
I have a very special feeling towards this Phoenix Temple. We lived for our first 5 years of marriage on the west side, so many of the people who have been involved in all the activities getting ready for it are very close and dear friends and family to us. Plus Spence's family has been in Phoenix for several generations, and his granddad, JR Price, was one of the first leaders of the church here in Phoenix. He was very instrumental in its growth and progress...and so this temple is very dear to the hearts of our Price family. I felt quite emotional as I listened to some of the talks, and thought of what this all means to us--it makes me very grateful for the tremendous heritage I inherited when I married into this Price family...and just so very grateful for SO MANY good people who have sacrificed so much of their time and energy and talents to making this temple a reality. I am especially thankful to my Father in Heaven for blessing us here in the Valley with another temple--and I hope to rededicate MY life to serving in the temple, and doing all I can to build the kingdom of God here in the Phoenix area. I am so grateful for my membership in the Church, and for the blessings it has brought into my life, ever since I joined so many years ago.