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Monday, July 4, 2016

Sapporo Japan Temple Open House

The Newsroom on lds.org reports that the Sapporo Japan temple open house is approaching. The public tours of the temple will run from Friday July 8 to Saturday July 23, excluding the Sundays of July 10 and July 17. The temple will be dedicated on President Thomas S. Monson's 88th birthday, August 21. In view of the temple-related events scheduled to happen soon, and especially since the next event is the rededication of the Freiburg Germany temple, at which I am anticipating that native German President Dieter F. Uchtdorf will preside, I am anticipating that President Henry B. Eyring will preside at this dedication. I can't be 100% sure on that. After all, I predicted that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf would preside at the dedication of the Provo City Center temple, and that was done by Elder Dallin H. Oaks and President Russell M. Nelson. I can't say whether the Church would have President Uchtdorf preside at two temple events in a row or whether they might have President Uchtdorf preside at this one and somehow then send President Eyring to the rededication. What I can say with a fair amount of certainty is that Elder Gary E. Stevenson will more than likely be one or the only one of the apostles to accompany whoever presides because he, as President of the Church geographical area in which the temple is, was the Seventy member presiding at the groundbreaking. That's just a brief temple news update. More news will follow as it becomes available, but I am not anticipating any major announcements relating to dedications or groundbreakings until August, as the apostles are currently on their annual July recess. Thanks for your readership and friendship.

Elder Neil L. Andersen throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Dodger's Game

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles's name was added to the growing list of people that have thrown out the first ceremonial pitch at the Dodger's game. Elder Andersen threw out the pitch on July 1st, joining the few who have done so from the top of the mound. The pitch was a strike right over the plate that was caught by Elder Ruben Acosta, an Area Seventy. On that same night, the national anthem was sung at the game by a Church member. This is most excellent news. For details, please see this link. Thanks to you all for your readership and friendship.

We have a pet bunny/The sixth anniversary of our engagement

This will be a personal news update. On this Independence Day, Amy and I received a pet bunny. Amy's brother Troy had jokingly been asking us a lot recently if we wanted one, as his property has been overtaken by one. When he asked us today, we took him up on the offer. He's a cute little black bunny with brown splotches. Amy and I haven't decided on a name for him/her yet, but I'm leaving it for Amy to do. She was always creative in choosing names for the fishes she had growing up. Among the most memorable is Zorath the Avenger and His Squire Flip the Elusive. I had suggested to Amy that we use one of the names from our list of those we made for our children, as it doesn't appear that we will be parents soon, but she said she wants the bunny's name to be as unique and special as he/she is, so I'm leaving it to her.

As this Independence Day also marked the 6th anniversary of our engagement, we did a couple of things to celebrate. I ordered Amy some books she'd been wanting, and she's getting me a copy of the October 2007 General Conference DVD. We additional got a set of Doctrine and Covenants tape cassettes and some VHS copies of movies we wanted. We had the opportunity to see both of our families today.

As per our established yearly tradition of going to the temple grounds where I propose to her all over again, we went there today. This year has taken a wear and tear on us and our marriage because of all the stress and setbacks we've experienced of late. I will post more about what's been going on at a later time, perhaps within the next few days. But my point in mentioning this is that I knew our special circumstances required special attention. So in the several days prior to our engagement anniversary, when Amy was either asleep or absorbed in her own projects, I compose a letter to her to let her know what she means to me. I typed mine, unlike the letter she sent me that started our relationship, which she had handwritten, because I was afraid that in the moment I wouldn't be able to read my own handwriting.

As part of the letter, I wrote her a song, with the borrowed tune of the country song "Could I Have This Dance?" Because I want to share the joy of this anniversary with all my readers, I include a copy of the lyrics:

I’ll always remember
            The song my heart played,
            The first time we met and I knew
           
            As I pondered my feelings,
And we went and we dated,
I fell in love with you.

May I have your love
For this life and beyond?
Will you be beside me
As every day dawns?

            When we are together,
I know we’ll carry on.
            May I have your love,
            For this life and beyond?

I can never forget
The joy of the moment
We knelt at the altar right here

As we made commitments,
And pledged to each other
I knew I had nothing to fear.

May I have your love
For this life and beyond?
Will you be beside me,
As every day dawns?

            When we work together,
I know we’ll carry on.
            May I have your love,

            For this life and beyond?

Finally, I wanted to close this post by sharing something with you about us that I never knew until tonight. When we had our wedding ceremony in the Mount Timpanogos Temple, three of my aunts (Sharon (now Wardle), Jacqui Howden, and Louise Sturt (a surrogate grandmother who in some ways is more dear to me than my own blood grandmothers because of her outstanding presence in my life), all observed that when Amy and I were looking into each other's eyes, she wasn't seeing me as I was now (a disabled man), but as I will be after being healed by the Savior at the time of His Second Coming, and that they could clearly see in our eyes that we loved each other and had known each other in the premortal life and had agreed to meet and marry here.  I thought that was really neat to hear, and I thank my family for sharing that with us tonight.

As I close this post, I share my infinite gratitude and everlasting love for this sweet woman, Amy Nuttall Stokes, who loved me enough to not be hung up on my physical disabilities and limitations. I will be eternally grateful to the Lord for bringing this remarkable individual into this insignificant man's life. I love you, sweetheart, now and forever!