Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Week in Review
Each month the senior missionaries try to gather for a family home evening.  This month we headed for downtown Philly to view the temple site.  It was quite interesting.  Brother and Sister Carr are over the temple site.  There is a single wide trailer they have set up as a small visitor's center.  When the temple was planned for Philadelphia the church purchased some land in Valley Forge on a hill there.  But that was not where Heavenly Father wanted the temple.  It needed to be right downtown! This site was discovered and it was perfect, except that there was much resistance in selling it to the Church.  Zoning was fine, the city just did not vote in favor of releasing it to the Church.  Vi Sikahema (sp?) is a local sports caster and Stake President and he was asked to come to the meeting where the vote would be taken and address the city fathers.  He did so, and very eloquently explained the importance of the family in the Church and how his family struggled to be able to be sealed as a family because of the distance they had to travel in order to perform this sacred sealing.  When the vote was taken the result was the sale of the property to the church.  Heavenly Father is definitely in charge of his houses!  The above shot is of the construction site.  In the upper right corner is the first of the girders for an outside wall.  The rest of the middle is the 2 story parking facility.  When they dug this huge hole they hit granite and it had to be blasted out.  I was able to get a small piece of that rock.  Then they hit underground water and had to go through a lengthy process of diverting it around the temple itself.  The building is to be finished around May 2016.  We will definitely have to return to see its completion.  The granite for the face of the building was to come from China--a very high quality.  But the quarry since shut down, so a hurried search was begun to find another suitable granite.  The granite has been secured and it comes from Maine.  It is a lovely grey speckled look and we got to hold it.  The finished temple will blend in nicely with the other very old buildings near it and it will be a fitting tribute to a city with such historical significance as well as religious freedom beginnings.

 Elder Jones had the assignment this week to do the training on the weekly conference call to all of the missionaries.  It was to be about dealing with the stress of being on a mission.  After much preparation and revision, Corry felt good about his presentation and had it for 5, 10, 15, or 30 minutes--whatever time was given to him.  As it happened, the call had a glitch and it took about 10 minutes to get it going properly, so the 15 minute presentation was just perfect.  I was very pleased for Corry--he did a really good job.  He instructed them, among other things NOT to "agree to disagree" with their companions.  That is just no way to live and work together.  He said that he could not imagine Heavenly Father and his companion, Jesus Christ ever using that phrase.  I thought that was quite profound.  Friday we spent most of the day taking an Elder from Camden New Jersey to get a root canal in Norristown, about 20 miles NW of Philadelphia.  It was good to get to know more of the elders in our mission on a personal level.  We also got to drive to Newark, DE this past week to take supplies to the sisters.  We are getting to see more of the mission.  This week we will be trained on the use of I-phones and I-pads.  Our mission will be receiving them in December.  We have training for 3 days, and then we hold a district leader training.  I imagine Elder Jones will again be doing some training on stress.  I will be helping to prepare a potato bar for 40.

So to prepare for this, we treated ourselves to a fun P-day with the Holloways and Smuins, local senior missionaries.  Here is how we spent Saturday:

This is the famous Bell Tower with the statue of William Penn atop.  They will take you to the top and it shows a fabulous view of the city.  But alas, it is not open on Saturday, so we walked all around, looked at the various statues and the architecture but will have to return for another look from the top.
 This is a statue of Benjamin Franklin, the printer.  There are very many statues of Ben Franklin in this city.
 This statue is a tribute to the family and it was to celebrate the 200 anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  The plaque explains how important the family is to the principle of constitutional government.
 Right by the statue of the family is a very large cement area filled with various large game pieces:  dominoes, parts of Monopoly, Bingo, Clue, etc.  The elders are standing on B-11.
 The sisters standing by a Monopoly playing piece.
 Yes, I stood in line for 30 minutes, but I got to see the Liberty Bell close up!  It was worth it!  When we arrived Saturday morning we parked our car in a local LDS Church building parking lot and took the train the rest of the way in to the center of Philly.  We had to get on the subway about 4 different times, but it sure helped not to do quite so much walking.  Don't get me wrong, we got plenty of walking.  We headed next to the Reading Market.  It is a large block market.  It is enclosed and sells any and every kind of food imaginable.  I saw every deli item, meat, fruit, veggie, bread, candy, dessert and all of this in many different ethnicities.  We chose to eat at the Amish area and enjoyed a really good lunch there in very tight quarters.
 Elder Jones at the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the site of the famous "Rocky" running up the steps for his boxing training.  While we were there we saw many groups racing up the stairs.  The men waited in the car, but all three of the sisters climbed the stairs!
 Grandma and Grandpa Jones at the statue of "Rocky".

View from the top of the "Rocky" steps.  Philadelphia really does have a lovely skyline.  When we finished the city tour we headed to Valley Forge and drove through the park.  The fall foliage was mostly gone, but the drive was beautiful nonetheless.  Then we went to our new favorite place, Zwalen's, a premier ice cream shop.  The owners are LDS and give missionaries 1/2 price.  We had a great day!

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