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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Important Posts by Matthew Martinich

Matthew Martinich has done two significant posts on his blog in the last little while. This post is to draw attention to those monumental posts. As with any of Matt's posts that I make mention of on this blog, I would much prefer that any comments on these posts be made on the LDS Church Growth Blog at the addresses of the original posts featured below, instead of so commenting here.

That said, here's the details on these two posts. The Church has reestablished a stake in Liberia. What wonderful news! It is marvelous to see Church growth, and it is especially good to have heard of this reestablishment, especially as the stake was just disbanded about a year or two ago due to political unrest. The problems in Liberia must have cleared up enough to warrant reinstating that stake. Great news!

Matt's second recent significant post focused on the creation of new stakes in Brazil, Iowa, Nigeria and Thailand. In that same post, he reported the creation of new districts in the Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Click here to read that post.

With the report of new stakes created recently, the number of stakes either organized or yet to be organized this year now number 97. A mere 3 stakes need to be created to reach the 100 Matt has been projecting all along would be created by the end of this year. Stay tuned for all the latest updates.

As I stated during my first post made this morning, I had originally planned on doing four posts today. This post makes three. The remaining one was to be a Church news conglomeration. But because I feel so absolutely physically spent by all I have done since waking up for the day about 12 hours ago and by my attempts to recover from the after effects of the lumbar puncture, it will have to wait until I have gotten some sleep, perhaps twelve or so hours from now. Until I can do that post, I welcome your feedback on what I have done so far since my last updates, and I will do my best to read and (where applicable) respond to comments made on anything I have lately posted. Thanks.

Apostolic Age Averages

As of about an hour ago, here are the latest apostolic age averages. The average age of the First Presidency is 82.96 years. The average age of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is 74.51, and the average age of the 15 apostles is now 76.2. Nothing has changed with the tenure rank of President Nelson as Quorum President or where he sits in terms of nonagenarian rank, or with President Monson's tenure or age ranks as prophet. And nothing has changed in terms of which apostles are closest to those averages for their separate groups. Hope these periodic updates have proven interesting for you. Thanks, as always, for your kind attention.

Winnipeg Manitoba Temple Groundbreaking Held Yesterday/Temple Construction Progress Update

Yesterday (Saturday), the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Winnipeg Manitoba temple. While it was initially reported that Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy (who oversees the administration of the area in which this temple is located) would preside at the event and that Elder Larry Y. Wilson, General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Church's Temple Department, would accompany him, for whatever reason, those plans changed, and Elder Wilson was the one who actually presided at today's event. According to reports, construction of this temple is anticipated to last around 20 months. This puts it in contention for completion in late 2018 or early 2019, ahead of other temples which had a groundbreaking earlier this year.

Given the fact of the groundbreaking and the resulting necessary change in estimated construction completion order, in addition to the progress that has been made in temple construction since my last such posted report on Monday last week, I thought I would include such an update in this post today. As always, comments and feedback of any kind are welcome.

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 12/3/16)
Current Temple Status: 155 operating; scheduled for dedication; 11 under construction; 1 scheduled for rededication; 2 undergoing renovation; 10 announced; (NOTE: Up to 2 additional temples may soon have a groundbreaking announced).

Dedication scheduled:
156. Paris France Temple: Interior work underway; open house and dedication dates announced; scheduled to be dedicated on Sunday May 21, 2017.

Under Construction:
157. Meridian Idaho Temple: Exterior lighting tests underway; welcome center reopens in stake center; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
158. Cedar City Utah Temple: Installing sprinkler systems and planting bushes; installing window frames and art glass; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
159. Tucson Arizona Temple: Adding landscaping structures and walkways; plumbing water feature; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Cupola assembly attached to steeple framework; paving main entrance; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
162. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Building the exterior walls; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
163. Durban South Africa Temple: Pouring the foundations; connecting to city utilities; installing sewage lines; landscaping entrance mounds; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
164. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Exterior walls rising; completion anticipated sometime between 2018 and 2019.
165. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; completion anticipated sometime between 2018 and 2019.
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Concrete forms surrounding main floor exterior walls; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
166. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Pouring meetinghouse footings; clearing temple site; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.

Scheduled for rededication:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; finish work underway; rededication scheduled for Sunday June 4, 2017.

Undergoing Renovation:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in late 2017.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in 2018.

Announced:
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: General contractor selected; groundbreaking pending.
169. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction preparation phase; plans approved by local government; groundbreaking pending.
170. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Bangkok Thailand 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 numbers 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 numbers may change based on the order in which future dedications and groundbreakings are scheduled.
Underlined numbers and text denote temples whose numbers may change based on progress towards planning, approval, and groundbreaking.

Red text denotes changes from the last posted temple progress update.

Report on the Lumbar Puncture and Results

Hello. This will be the first in a series of several rapid-fire posts that I will be doing over the next few hours to bring you all up to speed on the latest in personal and Church news. First is this post regarding personal news.

As many of you who regularly follow this blog know, I have been having some physical symptoms that I suspected may have been the result of a problem with my shunt, the device used to regulate the flow of my cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). After a lengthy debate with my neurosurgeon's nurse, we finally got a procedure scheduled for me to be checked out. Though not a new procedure by any means, it was new to me. My doctor recommended a lumbar puncture.

I spent the days prior to the procedure not being able to do much of consequence. We had several doctor's appointments this week. On Tuesday, we met with my allergist, who told me that as long as I was sick, we needed to hold off on allergy shots. Not a big surprise. She also mentioned that, because I had not received treatment from my ENT, the infection or virus was likely to linger until it either left on its own or was driven out by some form of treatment. She recommended that I schedule a visit with my ENT to follow-up on this matter. Fortunately, my ENT had an appointment available the next day. So, on Wednesday, we met with her. She gave me further recommendations for treatment, including approving an antibiotic. I have taken that for the latst several days and am feeling a little improved.

Finally, the day of the lumbar puncture arrived. I had to get up several hours earlier than I have been accustomed to for a while, and it didn't help that my apprehension, concern, and worry about having the procedure done, I only got a very limited amount of sleep. We got up, got ready, and headed out. It was a stormy day. While I was offering a prayer on our trip, someone brought to Amy's attention that we had a flat tire and needed to get it fixed. So Amy had to get out in the cold during the next rest stop and change it. Because I had never learned how to do that myself, I had to stand helplessly and watch her tend to it on her own. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.

Then, we resumed our journey. We got to Salt Lake in plenty of time for our appointment. They prepared me for the procedure by briefing me fully on what they were doing and what to expect as a result of having the procedure done. Then, all too soon, it was time for me to have the proceudre done. Due to my startle reflex in my muscles, I had some difficulty with the preparation process. I was glad when I heard that they were using something I use daily for pain to numb the injection site. It must have been done very effectively, because when the needle went in, I barely felt it. All through the procedure, the caring professionals with Huntsman Cancer Institute made sure that I was comfortable and that they were explaining every part of what they were doing. We made plenty of small talk and found a surprising connection because they knew Dr. Weinstein, my neurologist that works at that same facility, at least by reputation. So we were able to talk about that common connection. All too soon, the examination was over. They had me lying on a bed in the hallway for half an hour after the procedure. They then said we were free to go.

We were able to find a good lunch at a restaurant that we had never before heard of or tried. The food was very good. All too soon, it was time to go to my follow-up appointment with my neurosurgeon's nurse, Joan.

When we were ushered back to see her and she came into the room, she was delighted to tell me that there seemed to be no apparent problems with my shunt. We also asked for confirmation that the setting had been confirmed and was correct, and she assured us on this point. She then took great care to take down a complete list of my symptoms, and her recommendation to us was to either ask Dr. Weinstein if these physical complaints could be medication-related, or to follow up with as many doctors with as many specialties as we have on board to find out fi any of these symptoms might be related to another yet-to-be-diagnosed problem with me. We were happy to eliminate a problem with my shunt, but feel frustrated that we are no closer to answers about what is ailing me than we were before the exam was done. So now the real fun begins.

In the meantime, I did feel a little better physically after the examination, and that lasted most of the day Thursday. But I have spent the last two days in absolute misery because the pain and swelling around the injection site is horrendous, and I have had a sharp, dramatic, and extreme increase in my head pain and neurological symptoms.

My physical status is why I have, with some small exceptions, been off the radar as far as blogging or doing anything normal for the last couple of days. I feel utterly helpless and hopeless because I don't know how long this intense pain will last, and because we are no closer to figuring out what's wrong with me. I have been doing everything I can to treat my pain. Last night was another night in which I got little or no sleep, and, having been inactive since coming home on Thursday, I doubt we will be able to resume completely normal conditions until sometime next week.

Through all that I have been experiencing, I have to say that my best confort has come from my wife's presence and willingness to do even simple things I am not currently able to do post-exam. This absolute commitment and support is not something foreign to me. She has always been there and gone the extra mile for me without complaint. She constantly has put aside her own comfort and well-being to drop everything and help me with whatever I might need.

Because she has been so supportive of me throughout all our marriage, and especially after this exam, and because I have not reciprocated well at all, I have felt incredibly guilty and down on myself about all I have to burden her with, especially now in having to do things for me I would ordinarily handle myself. But she has hugged me tightly as many times as that has happened, and she has never ceased to let me know that she doesn't blame me, either for my present condition, or my past failings, which have been many and very grievous in nature.

But that's who Amy is. Without my even having to ask her, she has willingly picked me up time and time again and has done many things that I could not or would not do myself. Time and again, she has selflessly put her own concerns aside to deal with my needs and concerns. I could not ask for a more amazing or more worthy and wonderful companion. It is my hope that, once we get my physical health squared away, I can be even 10% as compassionate and helpful to her as she has been to me. I I will, always and forever, be eternally grateful and irredeemably indebted to her for all she has done for me.

Now the waiting game begins. As soon as I recover from the present ordeal, I will have to expend a great deal of time and effort to get to the bottom of whatever else might be wrong with me. So the fun and games continue.

Thanks for your interest and concern. Please let me know if you have any feedback for me. Thanks, and stay tuned for the next post coming up in just a few minutes.