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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I may have a job by the end of the week, assuming I can handle it physically

Given all we have been dealing with, and our continuing financial woes in spite of our Christmas miracle, I have been extremely down on myself and the seeming bleakness of our situation. It so happened that, when I missed a phone call earlier tonight beause I ws otherwise involved, I checked my voice mail. To my surprise, waiting for me were three messages: one from our bank attempting to do what they could for us in our situation and one from my care management nurse, who apologized for not having been able to take my call last Friday. She said she wanted to touch bases with me on if she could do anything further to assist us with my medical needs. But it was the third and final message that took me by surprise and threw me for a loop. As those who regularly follow my blog post are aware, because my health failed earlier this year, I was unable to retain the first job I had ever taken. I have been so wrapped up in the problems I've been facing that I was at a standstill in my life, not progressing because I believed myself to be too ill to do much else. My wife has always been good enough to encourage me to press on in spite of my health issues, repeatedly reminding me that I have a so much better situation and life quality than most people with my conditions. She encouraged me to push through things and do my best.

That is part of the reason why I was able to meet with Kelly Services after my last employment was terminated, and they made it clear that they would be sure to keep my physical capabilities in mind when considering me as a candidate for future job opportunities. In spite of this, any time they have called me with an offer, it was for a job that was far beyond my physical capabilities and therefore far too strenuous to handle. This made the message they left me today so surprising.

They said they had a customer service opportunity coming up later this week that would involve sitting down. It will be with, and the pay was several dollars more per hour than I was earning at my previous employment. Best of all, while it will initially be a month-long assignment, there is a more than likely chance that I will afterwards be hired on permanently by the company itself.

I was overjoyed to hear of this opportunity, but worried that my health might still be a major hang-up in my ability to do the job in question to any degree of success. I knew I needed to try, but my misgivings about my abilities, to say nothing of my physical symptoms, made me severely doubt that I could do it. After consulting with Amy, I determined to reach out to my home teachers for a blessing about the situation. My initial request was for them to stop by ASAP tomorrow, but I got a quick reply indicating that they could come by tonight and were more than willing to, if we were able to allow that to happen.

And so, they came. I had a long conversation with them that I have desperately needed to have with someone for far too long. Over the course of that conversation, with their encouragement, my attitude changed. I knew I couldn't let my physical situation prevent me from at least giving this a try, and in this, my home teachers and Amy fully agreed. It was wonderful to have them express such an understanding of my situation and misgivings, but to have them all encourage me to try.

With that, my decision was made: I will do everything I can to make this happen. But since I was still not feeling well physically, and because I felt I needed guidance from the Lord about this, I asked them for a blessing, with which they willingly provided me. I was told that the Lord was pleased with my desires and efforts to support my family, and that I needed to do my best to make this job work for me. I was further told and promised that, if I did give it my all, I would be successful in being able to once again support my family. Having been given the needed courage and determination to go forward, all that is left now is for me to call Kelly Services ASAP tomorrow, find out the job specifics, and, if I continue to feel good about it, take this position and make it work.

Once again, as it has been in so many cases in times past, the Lord has placed what we need into our hands in a way that can only be described as miraculous. Now I seek an interest in your faith and prayers so that I can have the health, determination, faith, and courage needed to make this work. And, as all of us observed during our long chat tonight, actively doing something about our situation, instead of just curling up in a ball and letting things happen, is always the better and wiser course. This opportunity is far too good to pass up. And I am so blessed to have been the recipient of this most unexpected but desperately needed miracle.

I seek an interest in your prayers as I pursue this. Now that I have the renewed determination I lacked for so long to make anything happen with our situation, I can move forward. Because I know so little at the moment about what my schedule will be and about what I may be allowed to do during any down time at my new job, I don't know how regularly I may be able to post in the next little while. But it will be awesome to see things happen as they develop. Thanks to you all for your interest, and especially the many, many expressions of support and well-wishes, and the promise to keep us in your prayers. Any and all comments are, as always, most welcome and appreciated.

Reprioritized list of cities most imminently likely for a future temple

In the comment thread on the LDS Church Growth blog, the discussion has recently turned to what cities might be most imminently likely for a temple announcement in the near future. I took the opportunity with that discussion to reprioritize my list of possible cities and am posting the results of my labor. I have tried to list them in the order I feel they are most likely to be announced. As always, if I am in error on any of these locations, please let me know. I appreciate the feedback.

Managua Nicaragua (publicly proManagua Nicaragua (publicly proposed by Elder Russell M. Nelson in 2012; land has been purchased for such a temple there when Church membership and activity warrants it; it is the #1 country with the most LDS members without a temple)

Port Moresby Papua New Guinea (again, such a site has already been purchased and is awaiting the need for it; it is the #2 country with the most LDS members without a temple)

Bentonville Arkansas (site purchased and awaiting till Church membership and activity warrants it; appears to be the #1 contender for the next temple in the United States)

Freetown Sierra Leone (the #6 country with the most LDS members without a temple; may be needed due to extensive Church growth)

Kampala Uganda (the #8 country with the most LDS members without a temple; may be needed due to extensive Church growth)

Nairobi Kenya (the #10 country with the most LDS members without a temple; may be needed due to extensive Church growth)

Lehi/Layton Utah (we have not had a new temple announced in Utah since 2015; among the many possibilities, Lehi and Layton seem to be the most imminent)

Budapest Hungary (according to a comment on my blog, this will be the next temple announced in Europe; seems to be the most imminent possibility)

Pocatello Idaho (this is the largest Idaho city without a temple; Rick Satterfield’s home city)

La Paz Bolivia (I favor this location because my former bishop and good friend served his mission there)

Fort Worth Texas (this is the city in Texas with the largest LDS presence without a temple)

Puebla Mexico (according to a comment on my blog, this is the most likely city for the next temple in Mexico)

Missoula Montana (according to reports, Elder Bednar publicly proposed this temple during a stake conference; while the nature of that proposal is questionable, this appears to be a very likely city for Montana’s second temple)

Brasilia/Belo Horizonte/Salvador Brazil (in the order listed, they are the top three Brazilian cities with the strongest Church presence without a temple)

Jacksonville Florida (this is, according to Rick Satterfield, the most likely location for Florida’s third temple)

Benin City/Lagos/Port Harcourt Nigeria (in no particular order, they are the top three Nigerian cities that may be considered good candidates for temples)

Richmond Virginia (on my blog, three cities in Virginia were mentioned as possibilities to host a temple, and of the three, Richmond appears to be the best option, in addition to being the capital city)

Chile (Antofagasta/Valparaiso/Santiago (2nd temple), any of which may be excellent candidates for the next Chilean temple)

Kumasi Ghana (#1 Ghana city with the strongest LDS presence without a temple)

Neuquen Argentina (mentioned as a possibility on my blog)

Edinburgh Scotland (someone mentioned on my blog that a temple was likely in the near future for either Scotland or Ireland, and Rick Satterfield said on my blog that, of the two, Scotland was more likely)

Rapid City South Dakota (while a possible temple might serve only one or two stakes at best, the temple in Winnipeg makes this a very likely possibility; I personally favor this city for a temple because my dad served his mission there)

Salem Oregon (mentioned as a near-future possibility through a comment on my blog; also is the capital city, which makes a great center for a future temple)

Tacoma Washington (the same comment that mentioned the previous city mentioned this one as well, which appears to be as good as any other possibility)

Montpelier Vermont (as the capital city, seems to be the best place for Vermont’s first temple)

Missing detail about our courtship/Our yearly renewed engagement/My anniversary present to Amy

In reading over what I had written regarding the story of how Amy and I got together, I forgot one important detail. Those who may have read that post already will recall that, when I proposed to Amy, I apologized for not having a ring for the occasion, which she said was okay. During the week that followed, we searched for such a ring that would be perfect for the woman who had given me her hand. In the process, we tried several rings. Amy had told me that she wasn't one of those girls who measured the level of the love her man had for her by the size and price of the ring. She made it clear that, while she wanted some say in what I bought her, ultimately, it would be my decision. When she said that, I made a list of my qualifications. As corny as it may sound to anyone else, the requirements were exactly as follows: simple but elegant, inexpensive but priceless. And with that in mind, the ring saleswoman found the perfect one. Before slipping the ring on her finger, I took the opportunity to propose again, this time much more simply.

Proposing was such a wonderful experience that, when I contemplated the love we shared and the wonder I felt at her continuing acceptance, love, and devotion, I expressed to Amy my desire to propose anew to her every year on the anniversary of our engagement. So, for the last six years, on the night of Independence Day, Amy takes me to the grounds of the Mount Timpanogos Temple and I propose to her again. The words are always different each year, and some years have been better than others, but it is a most wonderful tradition. For 2016, while she slept or was involved in doing her own things, I felt that the turmoil of the last year warranted a special proposal, so I got my thoughts and feelings down in a letter, in which I included a song whose tune I had borrowed from a country song, but for which I had written  new lyrics that highlighted the way we met and married. If any of you would like to review those lyrics, please click here.

I felt that this year for our anniversary, since Amy had last year found us rings inlaid with the traditional fifth-year wedding gift of wood, and because we have been having such a hard time lately, a special gift was in order. I was able to order that gift on my birthday via a special offer that only applied for that day. I hope Amy will like it, and that it will, even in the smallest part, atone for and make up for my many mistakes and my selfishness, which has been an issue to a certain degree during the entirety of our marriage. Believe me when I say that this was the very least I could do to show my love for her. I am hoping that the gift will arrive before Christmas. Thanks.

Apostolic Age Statistics

Having needed to lay low over the weekend, and, due to not being able to do much as a result of my negative reaction to the medication I have now been taken off, I have let many possible blog topics slide for a few days, one of them this one I am doing now, and the other one a massive general Church news update, which I hope to be able to get to within the next few days.

It is time once again for that time-honored tradition I have of letting my readers know about the latest apostolic age averages. Note that the averages I will mention here are current as of Sunday the 18th.

As of last Sunday, the age of the First Presidency is averaged at 83 years even. In the meantime, the average age of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is 74.55 years, while the average age of the 15 apostles together is 76.24. Nothing has changed in terms of who is closest to these averages. It is President Eyring for the First Presidency, who marked 83.55 years on Sunday. The Quorum of the Twelve is an even split between the Quorum of the twelve Apostles, with Elder Holland (at 76.04 years) as the youngest of the oldest half, and Elder Christofferson (at 71.90 years) as the oldest of the youngest half. Of the 15 apostles, Elder Cook (who, at 76.28 years, is the 7th oldest and the 10th in seniority) and President Uchtdorf (who, at 76.12 years, has the distinction of being in the 8th position in terms of both age and seniority) who are the closest to that average.

With the unpredictability of my health situation and what will happen in terms of celebrating the holiday season with both my family and Amy's family, I can't honestly say at this point whether or not there will be another such report before the year changes. But I will weigh everything appropriately in the balance and will post again on these averages as soon as I feel I can. Thanks for your readership. Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.