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Monday, January 19, 2015

Two More Temples to be Dedicated in 2015/Temple Progress Report/General Update

Hello, friends! I realize it has been two weeks since I last updated my blog, but things have been kind of crazy. Life caught up with me in a major way, and with everything I've been dealing with, I haven't had the time or motivation to blog. So I thought I would write today and give an update on the major events of the last two weeks.

First of all, as I always do, I want to begin this blog post with the latest news from the Church. I posted earlier about the dedication dates for the Cordoba Argentina and Payson Utah Temples. Well, the First Presidency on Friday announced the open houses and dedication dates for the Trujillo Peru and Indianapolis Indiana Temples. The Trujillo Peru Temple will be open to the public from Friday May 8-Saturday May 30. The cultural celebration will be held on June 20, and the temple will be dedicated in three sessions on June 21. Dedication services will be carried to the entire nation of Peru. The Indianapolis Indiana Temple will be open to the public from Friday July 17-Saturday August 8. The cultural celebration will be held on August 22, and the temple will be dedicated in three sessions on August 23. As with the Payson Utah dedication, dedication services for the Indianapolis Temple will only be carried to meetinghouses within the temple district. A temple president has already been named for the Trujillo Peru Temple, and an announcement is soon to come for the Indianapolis Indiana Temple. These temples will be the Church's 147th and 148th. has recently redone how the under construction and announced temples are listed. The webmaster established a separate section for temples preparing for dedication, listed the remaining under construction temples by anticipated completion date, and listed the announced temples by announcement date. I reproduce that list here to give you an idea of how temple construction is progressing. In doing so, I make it clear that I am basing my personalized list off of information on, and that these projections are therefore not owned by me. Note that the number by each temple indicates the order in which they had their groundbreaking or were announced and that this list is always subject to change.

Temples Undergoing Renovation:
26. Mexico City Mexico Temple: Anticipated to be completed in mid-2015.
86. Montreal Quebec Temple: Anticipated to be completed in late 2015.
91. Suva Fiji Temple: Anticipated to be completed in late 2015-early 2016.

Under Construction:
145. Cordoba Argentina Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday May 17, 2015.
146. Payson Utah Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 7, 2015.
147. Trujillo Peru Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 21, 2015.
148. Indianapolis Indiana Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday August 23, 2015.
154. Tijuana Mexico Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2015.
153. Provo City Center Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2015-early 2016.
149. Rome Italy Temple: Projected to be completed in early 2016. (There may be some issues finalizing construction here. Italian Saints will be observing a special fast for the temple's completion next Sunday, January 25.)
150. Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple: Projected to be completed in early-to-mid 2016.
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
156. Fort Collins Colorado Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
151. Sapporo Japan Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
157. Paris France Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2017.
152. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Projected to be completed in 2018. (Full scale operations still pending.)

167. Tucson Arizona Temple: Construction approval phase; general contractor selected; groundbreaking anticipated in 2015.
160. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Planning and approval phase; land purchase finalized; groundbreaking anticipated in 2015.
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Planning and approval phase; final piece of land for temple site acquired; groundbreaking pending.
159. Concepcion Chile Temple: Planning and approval phase; temple and site designs complete; groundbreaking pending.
163. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Planning and approval phase; temple and site designs complete; groundbreaking pending.
166. Star Valley Wyoming Temple: Planning and approval phase; initial design plans complete; groundbreaking pending.
162. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
165. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
170. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
161. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
164. Durban South Africa Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
169. Cedar City Utah Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.

With the progress being made on temples, I wouldn't be surprised to see more new temples announced soon, although I recognize President Monson's desire to see all the temples currently announced or under construction moved along a bit before additional temples are announced. So it'll be interesting to see what happens with temple announcements over the next several general conferences.

I totally spaced out on the fact that there was a CES devotional for young adults last week. I felt bad about missing it. Thankfully, had it available as an archived video event, so I watched it tonight. Brother Randall L. Ridd, Second Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, spoke about living and acting with purpose, particularly focusing on the vital importance of real intent. It was a great talk and I was glad to be able to watch it.

That said, it's time to update you on what has happened in the last couple of weeks. Work has kept me busy. I have been learning so much and have been grateful for the opportunity this job affords me to help other people. I have twice had the privilege of reviewing my effectiveness and proficiency with my team lead. While those reviews have been daunting in some ways because it seems I have a lot to work on, I am getting better at doing the job, which is good. And the great thing is, I still have the chance to improve. With some call centers, if you're not up to par by a certain point, you're out on your ear. But with this job, as long as progress is being made, every employee is given as many chances as they need to improve. We had one day two weeks ago where the required dress was business formal. The higher-ups apparently liked it so much that all last week was business formal as well. Amy was able to find me several more button-up shirts for a reasonable price, and I enjoyed the chance to break them in. My work also implemented a new policy of only allowing us a predetermined amount  of time to finish the work on each account at the end of every call. So it has been interesting trying to beat the clock or else to get caught up on account notes during lulls in the queue. I will definitely have to work harder at that. On Thursday, we received notification that the next day would be business casual, but as Amy had gone to the trouble of procuring a business formal shirt and tie for me to wear on Friday, I wore that. On Friday, I finished what was supposed to be my last call of the day and took notes on the account. But the ringing of my headset reminded me that I had forgotten to set my workstation to a setting that would allow me to end the shift after finishing up that call, so I had to take the next one as well. That one took a bit of leg work, so by the time I finished that one up and did the notes for my last two calls, I was almost an hour past the time I should have been done for the day. It was good to clock in some overtime, especially with all the time I missed for medical appointments.

Two weeks ago, I saw my neurologist on Tuesday. It was a great visit that helped answer many concerns I had about my headaches. The next day, I finally got in to see my pulminologist. She ordered some blood work and X-rays to rule out infections and pneumonia. Thankfully, I didn't have either. She said her best recommendation was to have me use my maintenance inhaler as well as my rescue inhaler, as well as to try the prescription she had called in for my cough. She said even if we couldn't afford to get the whole prescription at once, if we could try it for a week or so, we'd be in good shape. I wound up getting a month's supply of that medication. I am doing a bit better, but still coughing. We followed up with her a week later, and she said that as there was no sign of infection or pneumonia from the X-rays and blood work she had me do, the coughing was likely due to the bad air in the atmosphere and that her best recommendation was to monitor my peak flows and use my rescue inhaler as needed while continuing to use the prescription she gave me for the cough. Last Monday, I went to the dentist to have two fillings taken care of. Thankfully they were uncomplicated and I didn't even need any Novocaine. I went to Physical Therapy both yesterday and the Saturday before that, and my physical therapist seemed pleased with my progress.

Last Sunday Amy wasn't feeling well and so I went to Church alone. Last night, I received a phone call from the secretary in my Elders' Quorum Presidency. He said the Elders' Quorum President wanted to meet with me this morning if I could make it. Instantly, I felt my stress skyrocket. I didn't sleep very well last night, and was only partially focused on things this morning before the appointment. I went in and saw him. He asked how my work was going, and seemed pleased when I responded it was going well. Then he got right to the point. He said that he felt impressed to release me as the substitute Elders' Quorum Instructor, a calling which I've had for about the last four years. I responded that I accepted the release, but that I would miss it. Apparently some other brethren in the quorum are more available now, and he wanted to give someone else a chance to step in and teach as the need arises. I am saddened by this release. I love teaching my brethren in the Elders' Quorum, and I don't know when or if I will ever get the opportunity to teach again. But I know there is truth in what Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy said in an August 2006 Ensign article:  "We need to graciously accept and acknowledge the inspiration that led to our release from a calling we loved." I would have much preferred to retain the instructor calling and be released as the ward media specialist. But I know that my Elders' Quorum President has been called of God, and since he holds the keys to inspiration for our quorum, I have to believe that this is the Lord's will. Will I miss teaching my brethren? More than I can say. But I can still contribute to the lessons by making comments when I feel inspired to do so. And so I have no doubts that this release is the Lord's will. And I will press forward with that knowledge.

Well, I've rambled on long enough. The hour is late and I need to get to bed. But I just wanted to post and let you know the latest happenings in my life. I will keep you informed on developments as they happen. Until I write again, all the best!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015! Well, another week has come and gone. Time is passing all too quickly. I don't know why, but especially lately, it seems like the time I spend with my sweet wife Amy seems to zoom past so fast it makes my head spin, while the time we are apart seems to drag on interminably. I am nonetheless grateful for the many blessings I have received this week. In this post I will try to enumerate some of those blessings.

First of all, on the Church News front, on Saturday, the Church published an article about new temple presidents that will start serving later this year. Temple presidents usually begin service on or around November 1, with their assignments typically announced in the summer/fall prior to the commencement of their service. So why did they announce these three presidents now? Because these three men and their wives will preside over the three temples that are closest to completion: Cordoba Argentina (scheduled to be dedicated on Sunday May 17), Payson Utah (scheduled to be dedicated on Sunday June 7), and Trujillo Peru (which is nearing completion, though no formal open house and dedication dates have been announced for this temple). I also discovered, much to my disappointment, that the Payson Utah Temple dedication will only be broadcasted to stakes within that temple district, rather than the entire state of Utah as with previous Utah temple dedications. That bummed me out more than a little, but I'll get over it. Other than that, there has been no significant progress made on temple construction or groundbreaking or anything like that.

I kind of halfway expected that the First Presidency would be sending out another e-mail newsletter this month, but so far I haven't received word that this will be the case. I am therefore assuming that such newsletters will only be sent out when there are major developments the First Presidency wants to share with the worldwide Church.

The last time I updated my listings of the prophets grouped by tenure and age and the tables of ages of the current apostles was December 14. I hadn't intended to update those listings again until January 25 (since I typically do it on Sundays and since the 24th is Elder D. Todd Christofferson's 70th birthday), but I had some time this week, and I thought I might as well do it. So I did. The next major milestone after Elder Christofferson's birthday will be on February 3, when the First Presidency will mark 7 years of service together. After that, the next major event happens on March 1, 2015, when President Thomas S. Monson will replace President Lorenzo Snow as the 8th oldest prophet in the Church's history. The next event of note will be President Henry B. Eyring's 82nd birthday on May 31. I hope I don't bore you guys with all this trivia. If I do, I apologize, but I find this information very interesting and hope some of you do as well. And since I am using this blog to "sound off" about things that are important or of note to me, I wanted to mention these things.

That being said, this week has been an eventful one. Once again, I was playing telephone tag with the Pulmonary Clinic. When we did finally get hold of each other, they told me that the physician's assistant I am seeing had (finally!) called in a prescription for my cough. When I went to pick it up at the pharmacy, however, I discovered that my insurance wouldn't cover it and that the pharmacy didn't have it in stock. So I relayed this information to the clinic, and after some more telephone tag, they told me to try Delsym, an over-the-counter cough suppressant, and to call if that didn't work, in which case I needed to be seen in clinic. So I went to pick it up the next day. But my pharmacist advised against it, saying that the Delsym had a similar cough suppressant effect as some of the pain medications I was already taking, so I had to call the clinic again and let them know that the over-the-counter stuff wasn't an option either. The clinic left me a message saying I would have to get an appointment to see the PA, which I already knew. So at this point I was beyond frustrated. I called the clinic on Friday for an appointment. I told them I was working and needed an appointment in the late afternoon, after which they promptly tried to schedule me in the morning. I again told them I needed  an appointment in the afternoon, and we finally settled on Wednesday at 3 pm. I don't know what I'm going to say at the appointment. I feel betrayed by the lack of care and concern shown for my plight by this office and its staff. I am really ticked off about the whole thing. So I hope between now and then I can calm down and that I won't say anything at the appointment that I wouldn't regret later.

Aside from the fiasco with the Pulmonary Clinic, this week has been a good one. I have learned and grown from all I have experienced. Work has treated me well. On Monday, I left early so that we could get Amy to the dentist for her semiannual cleaning. Her dad has been struggling with some health issues, and he wanted to take the van he has been letting us use in for some maintenance, so we have a different one for now. We are a little nervous about it, because this one's not on our insurance, but we have thankfully not had to worry about anything too terrible happening. On Friday Amy's oldest brother had some seizures and had to be taken to the hospital. Amy went to visit him after bringing me my lunch. We have been kept up-to-date on how he's doing, and, thankfully, he's at home now. But we worried about him for a couple of days, because they found several other problems with him while he was in the hospital. So we have been keeping Amy's dad and brother in our prayers.

Thursday was New Year's Day. I unfortunately didn't get off work early on New Year's Eve, but that's not a bad thing because it's money in the bank. I enjoyed the holiday and getting some extra rest. It was back to the grindstone on Friday. We received another very small check from work on Friday, but it turned out all right because we still had money left over from the anonymous benefactor. While our situation is not ideal, it is getting better. On Friday night, we gathered with my family for a game night. It was a lot of fun. Yesterday I went to Physical Therapy, ran some errands, then came home and rested. I was up far too late last night. However, thankfully, we switched from the 9 am Church block to the 11 am Church block, so I got to sleep some more after taking my first set of medication for the day. I got up and had time to pray and watch "Music & the Spoken Word" and update my documents before Church. Church itself was wonderful and very inspirational. I greatly enjoyed my attendance there. I came home and had a nap, only waking up at around 6 pm. The rest of this day has been spent with my beloved Amy, and how I have enjoyed that! As I said above, the time with her passes far too quickly while the time without her drags on relentlessly.

One thing I almost forgot to mention. This week, Amy and I finally got the rest of our Christmas presents: the books we had ordered. I am very excited to read the ones Amy got for me, one which I read back in Junior High and the other which I have never read before. It will be good to spend some time with those books.

Amy has been asked to do some additional work for her Relief Society Activities Committee calling, so she will be busy with that this week. I see my neurologist on Tuesday, my pulminologist on Wednesday, and my dentist on Thursday to get the remaining two fillings done. I am looking forward to these appointments because it means more time with Amy and getting some important health issues resolved. But I am not looking forward to missing the work I will have to miss to make these appointments happen. Oh, well. Not much I can do about that.

We found out a while back that my older sister's father-in-law is a real estate agent, and we have decided to seek his help in finding a house for us. Hopefully this will expedite the process. We are still living paycheck to paycheck. I unfortunately did not get an SSI check this month. I am ticked off about that as well because it seems like every time I talk to my SSI benefits specialist, she changes the rules about how I can qualify to receive SSI. At first I was told that if I earned more than $1,500 per month I wouldn't get anything. I was also told that the determination for whether I get SSI on any given month would be made based on what I earned two months prior to that. But now I am being told that the determination for whether I qualify for SSI on any given month is made based on my wages for that month. The long and the short of it is, I doubt if I will ever get SSI again as long as I'm working. This upsets me, because I am earning more or less the same amount that Amy brought in per month and I was told that less of my income would be counted against me in determining SSI eligibility. So I can only hope my wages cover all our necessities.

Other than the cough, my health has been relatively good. All things considered, while life could be better in some ways, it could also be much worse. So I rejoice in the goodness of the Lord in giving me the blessings He has bestowed on me, and I take confidence and comfort from the knowledge that He will provide for my needs in the future. All I have to do is have faith in Him and do my best, and He will make up the difference. That is wonderful to me, because I know all too well how much I muddy the waters of my life. I am grateful beyond expression for the incomparable atonement that enables me to constantly and consistently repent and change and become better. I know that "all things will work together for the good of them that walk uprightly." I have confidence that the future will be glorious because of Him and His sacrifice for me. I am especially grateful to know that when I am troubled or struggling, He is only a prayer away. There is no doubt in my mind that He loves all His children. I have felt that love in sacred, unforgettable, and unmistakable ways.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I know the Savior lives, and, more than that, I know the Savior. I love Him with all my heart. I know He is my Advocate with the Father, and I could not have a better Friend or role model. I feel like I can say, with Bruce R. McConkie,

"I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
"But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He did live and die for all of us, that He was resurrected, and that He will come again someday very soon. It is my hope and prayer that we may all be ready when that great day arrives, with our lamps full and burning brightly, ready to receive Him. I leave these thoughts and this testimony, which I know of myself to be true, with you all, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.