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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Interesting Posts by Matthew Martinich

Brother Matthew Martinich has been posting with a lot of cool Church-related posts lately. I would urge you all to visit this link. Among his recent posts are New Locations for Humanitarian Service Missions, the news that the first stake in the Czech Republic will be organized this Sunday, a request for updates on stake and district creations/dissolutions, and a report of the apostasy in Armenia that led to the disbanding of the sole stake there. Check them all out. Enjoy!

Temple Developments

Hello, all! Just wanted to post about some exciting developments in temple construction. Just since Saturday, scaffolding has been added to the dome of the Tucson Arizona temple, progress was made on the landscaping for the Fort Collins Colorado Temple, steeple framework has been installed atop the Cedar City Utah Temple, the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo temple site is in the process of being cleared and graded, and the Church is in the process of announcing the callings of new temple presidents. Thus far, the first presidents have been announced for the Fort Collins Colorado,Star Valley Wyoming,Hartford Connecticut and Philadelphia Pennsylvania temples have been announced. Also announced were new presidents for the Nashville Tennessee, Columbia River Washington, Chicago Illinois, Mexico City Mexico, Hong Kong China, and London England. The first presidents of the Provo City Center and Sapporo Japan temples were previously announced. With so much going on, I wanted to post again the updated lists of temple construction progress and temple related events for your information.

In the lists below, please note that there will be some differences between the numbering on my list and that of the LDS Church Temples website. I have put temples that are further along higher on the list, but other than that, it's pretty well chronological.

Temple Construction Progress (current as of 5/6/16)
Current Temple Status: 150 operating, 16 under construction (5 scheduled for dedication), 11 announced (1 had groundbreaking several years ago and construction is pending; 2 groundbreakings anticipated to be announced soon), 4 undergoing renovation (1 scheduled for rededication).

Dedication scheduled:
151. Sapporo Japan Temple: Furniture being delivered; preparing for open house; scheduled to be dedicated Sunday August 21, 2016.
152. Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple: Trees planted; interior work nearing completion; scheduled to be dedicated Sunday September 18, 2016.
153. Fort Collins Colorado Temple: Lampposts installed on the grounds; installing art glass; painting, and laying floor inside; scheduled to be dedicated Sunday October 16, 2016.
154. Star Valley Wyoming Temple: Angel Moroni placed on April 25, 2016; steeple lighting tests underway; scheduled to be dedicated Sunday October 30, 2016.
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Exterior cladding nearing completion; concrete poured for monument sign; interior painting and flooring underway; scheduled to be dedicated Sunday November 20, 2016.

Under Construction:
156. Paris France Temple: Attachment of exterior stone cladding nearing completion; interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime between late 2016 and early 2017.
157. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime during late 2017.
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Curbing poured for parking lot; sheetrock nearing completion; completion anticipated sometime during late 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Steeple framework attached; completion anticipated sometime during late 2017.
160. Tucson Arizona Temple: Exterior panels attached; completion anticipated sometime between late 2017 and early 2018.
161. Durban South Africa Temple: Ground broken on Saturday April 9, 2016; completion anticipated sometime during early 2018.
162. Concepcion Chile Temple: Exterior walls rising; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
163. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Clearing, grading site; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
164. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Ground broken on Saturday December 5, 2015; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
165. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Ground broken on Saturday February 20, 2016; completion anticipated sometime between early-and-mid 2019.
168. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Full-scale construction pending due to government-imposed delays; completion date TBD (To be determined).

Rededication scheduled:
33. Freiberg Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; adding extension; steeple covered; scheduled to be rededicated Sunday September 4, 2016.
Undergoing Renovation:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; reroofing underway; rededication anticipated sometime between late 2016 and early 2017.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2017.
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; construction trailers on site; rededication anticipated sometime during late 2017.

Announced:
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction preparation phase; plans approved by local government; groundbreaking date anticipated to be announced soon.
167. Arequipa Peru Temple: Construction preparation phase; temple site rezoned; acquiring building permits; groundbreaking date anticipated to be announced soon.
169. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
170. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning phase.
171. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase.
172. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
174. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
175. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
176. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
177. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

Key:
Bolded numbers and text denote temples whose number already exists (for renovations), or is certain due to a scheduled dedication, as well as information that is certain, such as dedication or groundbreaking dates.
Italicized numbers and text denote temples whose number may change based on the order in which future dedications and groundbreakings are scheduled.

Underlined numbers and text denote temples whose number may change based on the order in which their future groundbreakings are announced.

Upcoming Temple Events:

1.      Sunday August 21—Sapporo Japan Temple Dedication (151 operating, 15 under construction, 11 announced, 4 undergoing renovation)
NOTE: Since President Uchtdorf, being a native German, is the most likely person to preside at the rededication of the Frankfurt Germany temple, the next temple to be dedicated or rededicated, President Eyring will likely preside at this dedication. It would also not surprise me if Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles accompanied whoever is presiding, since he as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy was serving as president of the Asia North Area, presided at the groundbreaking.
2.      Sunday September 4—Freiberg Germany Temple Rededication (151 operating, 15 under construction, 11 announced, 3 undergoing renovation)
NOTE: Since President Uchtdorf is a native German, and since President Eyring may preside at the previous dedication, it would make sense if he (President Uchtdorf) presides at this rededication.
3.      Sunday September 18—Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple Dedication (152 operating, 14 under construction, 11 announced, 3 undergoing renovation)
NOTE: If President Uchtdorf presides at the previous rededication, and since President Eyring was the one who broke ground for this temple, it would make sense if he (President Eyring) presides at this dedication.
4.      Sunday October 16—Fort Collins Colorado Temple Dedication (153 operating, 13 under construction, 11 announced, 3 undergoing renovation)
NOTE: If President Eyring presides at the previous dedication, it would make sense if President Uchtdorf is asked to preside at this dedication. It is also not unreasonable to believe that Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will accompany whoever the presiding authority is, as Elder Rasband originally presided over the groundbreaking for this temple.
5.      Sunday October 30—Star Valley Wyoming Temple Dedication (154 operating, 12 under construction, 11 announced, 3 undergoing renovation)
NOTE: If President Uchtdorf presides at the previous dedication, it would make sense if President Eyring is asked to preside at this dedication. It would also not surprise me if Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy was one of the participants in the dedication. When this temple was originally announced, President Monson joked that he thought he’d dedicate that one because there’s good fishing up there, but as he hasn’t presided over a temple dedication in two years and as he may not be in the best of health, it is more likely that President Eyring will preside.
6.      Sunday November 20—Hartford Connecticut Temple Dedication (155 operating, 11 under construction, 11 announced, 3 undergoing renovation)
NOTE: If President Eyring presides at the previous temple dedication, the odds are very good that President Uchtdorf will preside at this temple dedication. President Monson was the one who presided at the groundbreaking, but as he is reportedly not in very good health, President Uchtdorf will likely be asked to preside.

An Angel to Watch Over Me--A Belated Mother's Day Tribute

Hello, dear readers. I haven't forgotten my long-promised intention to write a personal update. But with all the Church News lately (some of which I will focus on in other posts over the next little while), I have put that on hold for a future time yet to be determined. This post covers a very special topic to me.

Sunday, as many of you know, was Mother's Day. I called my mom Saturday night to see how she was doing and to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. It was, as it always is, wonderful to talk to her. In that special way she had, she answered only a few inquiries from me about how she and my dad were doing. Instead, she wanted to talk about me and Amy. She knew we had a lot going on. She also well knows that Mother's Day is always a difficult one for Amy because Amy lost her mom to complications of MS before we ever started dating. For the years preceding her mother's death, Amy and her brother Troy were Mom Nuttall's care givers. As a result, Amy felt a deep connection to her mom. Mother's Day is always hard for Amy because she's without her mother. I think my mom understands best how Amy feels, because Mom lost her  own mom a few years ago. So my mom asked me to be sure and tell Amy that she was thinking of her this weekend and praying that it would be a good one for her. If that wasn't enough, on Mother's Day, she sent Amy herself a text echoing the sentiments she had expressed to me the previous evening.

As I have thought about my mom, I can't imagine how I'd feel if I didn't have her around anymore. For the first 20-some-odd years of my life, she was my caregiver and my advocate with the doctors and our pharmacies. She selflessly put her own life aside to ensure my siblings and I always had what we needed. I know that finishing college is one of her dreams, and I hope I can play some part in the future in making that happen. She constantly gives to other people, even and especially when that means more work for her. My mom came to America on a "short vacation" and has yet to make it back "home" to South Africa. She has constantly put her life and needs on hold to serve and minister to people. I can't say enough of this dear woman and the impact she has had on my life.

I could say the same about the many other "mothers" I've had throughout the years: ward members who provided my family with extra care and service when needed; my beloved grandmothers, aunts, and cousins (by both blood and adoption) whose examples are such a strength to me; my dearest older sister Joanna (whose active presence in my life I greatly miss, as I can no longer just pick up the phone anytime and hear her voice); my sweet younger sister Elizabeth (who is preparing to be a first-time mother), my sisters-in-law; and my dear mother-in-law that I have yet to meet, to whom much of the credit for her daughter being so wonderful belongs; the women I have known and served with as a missionary and temple worker, and so the list could go on.

And in mentioning those who have mother hearts and live mother lives, how can I forget to add my beloved eternal companion, Amy? She made it clear when we met that she had no interest or desire whatsoever in being a mother to me (which is very refreshing to me, as so many women before her viewed me merely as someone who brought out their innate abilities to mother). Amy is unique in so many ways, but particular in the fact that she is a mother, a mother without children. I will have to work hard to become a father. But Amy is already and will continue to be the very best mother, grandmother, and any infinite number of great-grandmothers this world has ever seen. All of the good things that have come into my life in the past six or seven years we've known each other can be traced back to my meeting and deciding to marry Amy.

I know that there is not a sufficient amount of words I could say to convey the depth of my feelings about mothers in general and the mothers in my life in particular. The closest I can come to adequately doing so is to quote two songs about mothers, then close with my testimony of mothers.

The first song is by Steven Jones. It's called, "A Mother's Eyes Reflect the Love of Heaven," Its' beautiful lyrics are:
A mother’s eyes reflect the love of heaven.
A love borne long before this life began.
A love which grows each day,
Which will not fade away,
A love inspired by Heavenly Father’s plan.

A mother’s hands reflect a life of service,
A life of sacrifice for those she loves,
And with her giving hands
She shapes the soul of man,
Prepares him for eternal life above.

A mother’s words teach children righteous living,
And her example leads them to the light,
She speaks the words of truth
That guide their tender youth,
And points the course they take throughout their lives.

A mother’s life reflects itself in our life,
Her ways of living are ingrained in ours,
And through the changing years
And days of joy and tears,
Her love will lead us on,
Her words will point the course,
Her hands will lift us up to God.

The second song is by Sally DeFord, an LDS mother. It's called "An Angel to Watch Over Me." The lyrics for that song are:

She watched by my cradle through long, sleepless nights.
She taught me to pray as she knelt by my side.
She guarded my childhood, and all through the years,
She echoed my laughter, she counted my tears.
In the arms of my mother, I came to believe
That God sent an angel to watch over me.

She taught me the meaning of courage and faith.
She taught me to live with the Lord as my strength.
She taught me to follow the pathway He marked.
She guided my steps when the journey grew dark.
And I know there were dangers that I could not see,
But God sent an angel to watch over me.

She taught me to serve with a spirit that sings.
She taught me to seek after heavenly things.
And because of her love and her kindness and care,
Because of the place that I hold in her prayers,
And because of her goodness, I still believe
That God sent an angel to watch over me.

I testify that mothers are truly angels sent from the presence of God. How fortunate we are to have mothers in our lives. We are constantly blessed by their kindness, compassion, love, and angelic support. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!