Monday, August 31, 2015

Dreaming of Christmas on August 31st?

It is a joy for the Visitors' Center sisters and elders from their districts to join the hundreds of Mesa saints who volunteer each year to make "Christmas Lights" a reality on the Mesa Temple grounds

August 31st in 106 degree heat may not seem like a logical day to think about Christmas, but these missionaries show that it was

Listening to Christmas music while wrapping lights made for a fun morning of service.  Among the hundreds of thousands drawn to see the Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple grounds this year, thousands will hear the testimonies of the sisters and remember the importance of the Savior's birth

Roughly 20 percent of the yearly total of visitors to the center come between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.  In addition to the spiritual preparation for their arrival, the sisters have helped with the physical preparations -- the lights which will delight and draw children of all ages to the grounds.  With the completion of the "light rail" to Mesa Drive -- adjacent to the Temple grounds, even earlier preparation and planning must go into this year's celebration.

Have you ever wondered how to light a 60 foot palm tree without individually wrapping lights around each palm frond?  No problem is too great for the Mesa volunteers.  In these photos you can see how they use "rebar", and chicken wire and chain links to weave the lights around.  Their creations simulate palm fronds and add grace and beauty to the Christmas lights

Christmas Lights volunteers even built these trailers specifically to store and haul the Palm tree fronds to and from the Temple grounds

Elder and Sister Bowers help create the "flower lights" that will be in front of the Visitors' Center

Elder Ullrich demonstrates patience and endurance in finishing the task

Elder Rippstein's persistence is inspiring

Monsoon Season Hits Mesa!

Saturday night storm brought torrential rain and wind

The entrance to the Visitors' Center became a lake and missionaries rejoice in the desert's needed rainfall

The exit from the Break room was flooded

The fun from the evening before revealed, sadly, the loss of three large palm trees and an olive tree on the front lawn of the Center

Missionaries assist in the clean-up after the storm

Hermana Gonzalez helps with the clean-up on Monday

Sister Smith and Gruber -  happy to help

Elder Foulger and Campbell assist in the clean-up

Hermana Hernandez, Embley and Zamudio

Sister Lloyd and McSheehy

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Elder Edward's grandparents on their 60th Wedding Anniversary

Wally and Sylvia Edwards

In addition to the wonderful visitors we have in the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center on a daily basis we get to know fine young missionaries from the Gilbert, Temple, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Mesa missions.
Elder and Sister Cameron were talking to Elder Green a missionary from Australia whose area is adjacent to the Visitors’ Center on Thursday, August 25th.  Elder Green was on an exchange with Elder Edwards and so Scott asked where Elder Edwards was from.  Elder Edwards said he was from London, and Scott followed with the next question all Mormons ask:  “Do you know?” 
Not sensing anything important, Elder Cameron asked, “By any chance do you know Wally and Sylvia Edwards from Camberley, Surrey?  Elder Edwards got very excited and said that Wally and Sylvia Edwards were his grandparents.  It was an emotional moment when Elder Cameron revealed that he and his companion, Elder Robert Layton, while serving in the British South Mission in 1966, had taught and baptized Brother and Sister Edwards.        
From a rather ordinary question, the conversation became one filled with sweetness and nostalgia.  Elder Cameron talked about Elder Edwards’ grandparents when they were young marrieds and about Elder Edwards’ father who was a young boy at the time.   Elder and Sister Cameron discussed their correspondence with the Edwards family over the years and how Elder Edwards’ aunt, Tracy, had stayed for over a week with them when they lived in Provo.   They also talked about their return to England in 2012 and visiting with the Edwards family. 
Elder Edwards shared family news about his immediate family, as well as about his aunts and their lives over the years.   He talked about his parents close association with the Church and his father’s service in the London Stake Presidency.  He mentioned that he is the youngest of four children and that his parents have recently retired and moved to Northampton. 
Elder Cameron shared his impression about teaching Wally and Sylvia and related how courageous Sylvia was when she was baptized.  Sylvia was afraid of deep water and hence was concerned about the baptismal font.  The situation became alarming when after traveling about forty miles on wintry roads to get to the chapel where the baptismal font was located, it was discovered that the font had not been filled and there was not time to warm the water.  . 
While Sylvia was frightened she was reassured by her husband and the elders.    She decided that her baptism was too important to her to postpone the date for more favorable circumstances.   She was baptized with her husband, Wally, and they have been very committed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since that day. 
Even though they have corresponded over the years, Elder and Sister Cameron  did not see the Edwards family until the summer of 2012.  It was then that he learned that after her baptism, Sylvia relied on her faith and enrolled in swimming lessons to overcome her fear of deep water.   
Elder Harry Edwards indicated that his older brother is on a mission in Norway and will be returning soon.  He showed the Camerons family pictures including one from his grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary.  He related that Queen Elizabeth sent Brother and Sister Edwards a congratulatory letter  for their sixty years of marriage--a practice, Elder Edwards’ indicated, the Queen follows for every British couple that reaches that milestone.
For Elder and Sister Cameron a casual conversation at the front desk of the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center became a sweet moment of reflection and thanksgiving.   Once again they were reminded that there really is no such thing as a  coincidence—the tapestry of our lives becomes more beautiful with age.   One of Sister Cameron’s favorite quotes is from Madeline L’Engle:   “the great thing about getting older is that we never lose any of the ages we’ve been.” 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Light Rail Comes to Mesa

 Saturday, August 22, 2015 marked the opening of the Light Rail from Phoenix to four new stops in Mesa.  It is called the Central Mesa Extension.  

Separate activities were held at each of the new stops welcoming people to the sites and businesses adjacent to each one.  

The Linford brothers provided Fiddling for the visitors as they arrived at the Pioneer Park

The East Valley Public Affairs Office, the Easter Pageant, Christmas Lights and Visitors' Center sponsored several displays at the Mesa Drive Stop

The theme of the displays was travel and progress  

From pioneer wagons to the light rail.  Handcarts and covered wagons were displayed in from of tents, where visitors were introduced to the events sponsored on the Mesa Temple grounds.

Youth from the Apache Junction and Maricopa Stake demonstrate the Handcart experience from the past

Banners depicting the life of the Savior were loaned by the Visitors' Center as backdrops in each tent.  In addition to the banners taken from the new Bible videos produced by the LDS Church, clips from Meet the Mormons, the Easter Pageant and the Christmas Lights concerts and celebrations were continuously streamed on two players.

Brother and Sister Farr from Christmas Lights join the Linfords as they watch the Fiddlers

Jenee Prince and Alan Collier greet visitors at the Easter Pageant tent

Each visitor was given a pass along card and invited to visit the Visitors' Center and attend Easter Pageant and the display of Christmas lights.

The Light Rail at the Mesa Drive Stop

Sister Makaya Brady and Beach volunteer in the Just Serve Program

The Ahlstrom family rode the light rail to Mesa

Sister Hernandez and Gonzalez-Calderon help visitors as they arrive on the Light Rail

Sister missionaries greet Elder Cameron

Because the Mesa Drive stop is immediately across Main Street from the Visitors' Center, we are hoping it becomes known as the Mesa Temple stop.