This week has been a lot of fun and there have been so many rare
opportunities come my way that wouldn't normally happen but since I am
a missionary i have been able to be apart of them! The first and
probably the biggest opportunity was getting to be a part of the
Phoenix Temple Cultural Celebration. For the past few months they have
been telling us to practice singing a new version of "called to serve"
as well as the sign language for another song "Keepers of His Light".
So we spent countless numbers of hours working ourselves to death
trying to learn this sign language and when the time came to perform
we pulled through! It was so great! The day of the celebration went
like this : we got to the school at 11:45 am to begin our one and only
practice session. They told us where to go what to do and how loud to
sing and then it was off to the races. We were lead by a guy named
William Joseph who wrote most of the music and lives in our stake. We
got to run through the March for called to serve and then practice the
sign language once and then it was a lot of sitting around. We watched
the entire cultural celebration 2 times as they worked at becoming
perfect and just hung out waiting for our time to shine. There was
multiple stakes there so there was tons of members from my previous
areas that I got to say hello to. That might have been the best part.
So many people were stoked that the missionaries were there and gave
us high fives and cheered. The prophet came at 7:00pm and we got to
perform the final show. It went flawlessly and everyone did great. If
you watch the video I am in the second row holding a Brazilian flag!
It was so much fun. We got home right before 10:00 and hit the pillow.
The next day was the dedication of the temple itself. They have three
different dedication ceremonies so that everyone gets the chance to
see it. We went to the first two sessions just so that we could spread
the talks and see what the difference was. They were both great! It
was a unique experience in which the spirt was strong. Later that same
night a bunch of us missionaries were invited to go help get the
temple all put together do that it could start functioning. There was
a big group of us so it didn't take very long to accomplish the task.
We had to be insanely careful because if we nicked a wall then that
would delay the start date of the temple days as they fix it up. That
was also a really rewarding experience.
On Friday night I was able to go down to the Gilbert temple to see a
less active family, the Rowes, that I had taught in my very first area
a year ago, get sealed together for time and all eternity. One of my
most favorite members of all time was the one to drive us down to the
temple so it was amazing to see him and his family. The sealing was
Amazing! The family was so excited and crying and just full of smiles.
They had no idea that the missionaries were going to be able to come
so when they saw us all it was a surprise. We took lots of pictures
outside the temple and then went to dinner. It was a lot of fun to
reminisce and just see how they were all doing. I am grateful that I
was able to go and that it was such an amazing experience.
Thank you for everything! I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Until next week,
Elder Cole Safford
1. The Rowe family and missionaries.
2. The Crandells. One of my favorites.
3. Classic jumping picture with the Assistants to the president.
4. All the youth at the cultural celebration.