Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Long Awaited Day--Phoenix Temple Ground Breaking

Three years after being announced, we finally had the official ground breaking this morning for the Phoenix Arizona Temple. When completed, this will be "our" temple as it will only be 15 minutes from where we live.

This is a picture of a picture so not the best quality, but the best I have. This painting will rotate through the different church buildings in the Phoenix temple district over the next two years until the building is completed.

The Phoenix Temple was announced near the same time as the Gilbert Arizona (under construction) and Gila Valley (completed) temples, but due to neighborhood protests and a re-design, we had to wait three years for this wonderful day.

My husband and I arrived early to get a good seat, so I also hurried over to take a picture of all the shovels waiting patiently to be used.

Elder Ronald Rasband, senior president of the Seventy, presided and was assisted by Elder William Walker, also a seventy and chairman of the temple committee. Elder Michael Pickerd and Elder James Wright, both Area Seventies in the Phoenix area were also in attendance, along with the wives of all the visiting authorities. Elder Pickerd, Elder and Sister Walker and Elder and Sister Rasband all spoke and Elder Rasband offered the dedicatory prayer, dedicating the temple ground for the building of the temple.

After the closing prayer, we all went outside for the official "turning of the dirt"
Left to Right--Elder Wright, Elder Pickerd, Elder Rasband and Elder Walker

After the official turning, my husband and I got a turn.
(we are in the middle of the picture)
Later they invited anyone who wanted, to come up and shovel some dirt or have a picture taken in front of the painting, so our daughter, Michelle, (on the right) jumped up to participate as well.

We had a lot of memorable experiences, but one Michelle will always remember is meeting Sister Dibb --President Monson's daughter, and a member of the General Young Women's Presidency who was in town visiting her son and his family. Sister Dibb was extremely warm and kind. Her love for the young women in the church was evident as she made an effort to speak to many of the young women aged girls there. She noticed Michelle was wearing her Young Women's Medallion (which Sister Dibb was also wearing) and congratulated her on earning the award. She complimented her on her clothing as well (which happened to be a $4.00 skirt from a thrift store:-) and for looking like a girl who was "doing it right".

When we turned to walk away, Michelle said to me, "I love her!"

Another highlight was the music! Our stake was given the assignment to provide a choir for the event and they were amazing!! I wish I could have taken a picture of the choir, or better yet recorded them. For the closing song they sang, "Now Let Us Rejoice" and during the last verse the congregation joined them while they sang a descant. I yearned to lift my voice in song with all those present, but I couldn't. Instead I just bawled. I was so overcome with the beauty of the music that I could only sit and cry.

Lastly--we had a wonderful experience last night in that we were able to enjoy a delicious dinner at the Deer Valley Stake Center with the visiting authorities. It was assigned seating and my husband was assigned to sit next to Sister Rasband. I was so impressed at how wonderfully warm and friendly she was. She seemed to be very open, interested in, and kind to everyone. It was certainly a treat to visit with her for the short time we did. (She and Wes actually visited for a long time, I just visited with her for a little while.)

One thing that was interesting is we were told that all three temples in Arizona were approved at the same time (Gila Valley, Gilbert and Phoenix) but that the Phoenix Temple was not announced until the land for the temple was purchased so as to avoid a price hike by those selling.

I well remember the day the Gilbert temple was announced. Those of us in the west valley were astounded since the Mesa temple was only ten minutes away and we are an hour away. But we all rejoiced a couple weeks later when a temple was announced for our area as well.

And today, June 4, 2011 marked the official beginning of it's construction. Finally!

What a blessed day this is. It has definitely been a day that has brought great . . . joy to my journey.


Julie said...

Wonderful news. Thank you for sharing the event with us!

Dixie Mom said...

Just so awesome!! Those are the same General Authorities who came to the groundbreaking of the Kansas City Temple. Such an amazing occasion to witness....thank you for sharing it with us!

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

I loved hearing about the temple dedication. Brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the same feelings I had during the music at the Gilbert dedication. Happy Day!

Shannon said...

What fantastic news. We lived n Mesa for years and I have a special place in my heart for that one. I'm very glad the west valley will have one so close now. Hope the two years go quick!

Kristin said...

Such an exciting day for you all! Loved the photos of the shovel turning :) You look pretty cute!

We'll rememember forever the building of our temple, Mt Timpanogos, the opportunity to participate in so many events associated with it's growth and dedication. Enjoy this wonderful time!


Rebecca Irvine said...

It has been a long journey just to get this far. I hope the neighbors eventually recognize the blessing of the temple to the area. Thanks for sharing this as I had not heard the groundbreaking had even been scheduled.

Sue said...

What an exciting day!


Gramee said...

wonderful day! I had a few friends invited. (their husbands are Bishops)...

Marilyn said...

How exciting for you! I have been watching (in disgust) at the continual opposition against the temple. How great that this day has finally arrived. BTW-Elder Pickerd is married to my first cousin...PS ;) Amy will be in your stake in 10 days!

Da Bergs said...

Oh my goodness, that is so awesome that you go to be there! AND, that you got to "dig"!!! And, what a fun experience for your cute daughter!!! Loved all the pics!!!

DianeSS said...

It is so exciting to see the chapters of a new temple unfold, and to participate in some way, especially when it is "your" temple. The first for me was the Johannesburg, South Africa Temple and then much more recently our Vancouver, BC Temple.

MissKris said...

What a cool post! It's cool you have your shoveling documented! And it was fun to see the picture of the future completed temple! How neat is that!?!!!