Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Conference Cake Recipe

There have been a couple versions of this recipe floating around. The updated one is here:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August update

August was great! Busy, but great. Annemarie participated in a "Chinese camp." School has started and she is in a Chinese immersion program where she spends half her day in regular English instruction and the other half learning Chinese.

Levi is also in a special school program, an "advanced learner" program and so far that is going well.

We wanted also to post a picture of Lani at the Bear Lake reunion...

In August John and Lani traveled together to Nauvoo, and John went to Canada and Denver. While in Denver he got to spend time with Laura Mitchell, a young lady he baptized 12 years ago (she was 9 then).

Education Week was great. The highlight of the month was the Nauvoo EFY. We both feel a lot more strongly now about Nauvoo. The "Walk down Parley Street" and the temple were strong highlights. Below are some notes from John on that EFY:

I was able to spend 8 hours in the Nauvoo temple on both Wednesday and Thursday and felt such an overwhelming feeling. It’s hard to describe all of what I felt. Some of it was just being in the temple in the general and some probably just being there for so long. Something else that made a huge difference was the talks from the temple presidency. In total we had 8 sessions and a member of the temple presidency spoke before each session. I heard all the talks. Each talk I heard was different, some dramatically so, and I could tell that the members of the temple presidency were teaching by the Spirit.

Several of insights I was able to share with youth. Like that President Hinckley had picked out every picture and its location in the temple – that actually turned out to be powerful for Kayla. I got to ponder on why the picture of Christ ordaining the 12 Apostles was the picture in the confirmation. In fact, there are two confirmation rooms in that temple. Do you think the second room has a different picture? It does not. It’s the same. It makes me think that it was really intentional that that picture be in the confirmation room. Why? Something cool to think about.

In the first welcoming session, which was by the second counselor in the temple presidency he had us imagine that we had shared the gospel with our best friend and they were going to be baptized. He said to those who officiate, imagine how you would say the words and how carefully you would hold the person. Then he said to imagine that your friend died before the baptism but that you were going to get to be baptized on their behalf. How would you act? Would you be robot or be thinking of them and praying for them as you performed the ordinance?

I have always been frustrated with temple workers who rushed through ordinances but this really took things to a new level. As I got to confirm people I imagined that I was confirming them as individuals. It was a very special experience. We organized things so that as the youth came in to the confirmation we gave them the names of those who they would officiate for so that they could ponder on them. I think this became really powerful for them.

Another interesting experience from the temple I wanted to record was that one of the presidency members (the one who talked about the “best friend”) told me how he came to feel so strongly about that. He said that he was an assistant shift supervisor in the Chicago temple, feeling like his responsibilities were very important. He had prepared a temple card for his Aunt Helen, but felt that he was too busy to attend to the ordinance and send it to the baptistery. While he was doing his work he felt in his mind, as though his Aunt Helen were speaking to him: “If I had been baptized while on earth, and invited you to come perform the ordinance, would you have done it?” He thought, “Of course, I would have traveled anywhere to come baptized you.” And he felt her say, “Then why don’t you come perform the ordinance for me now?”

He raced down to the baptisry and said, “Where’s my Aunt Helen’s card?” And they said, “We just baptized her.” He was able to do the confirmation, but he said that he still wishes he had done the baptism. That experience helped in realize that each person is an individual that really is living in the Spirit world. In some ways, they are more alive than we are.

The temple added to my understanding of the Savior caring for us one-by-one.