Greetings from the sacred Grove. Well pretty close to the sacred Grove anyway, just on the other side of the parking lot. This past week we celebrated our 6th week on our mission, our 4th week in New York, and our 3rd week of conducting tours, so things have flown by quite quickly. It was an interesting week, and I will share a few details with you shortly. But as I promised I share with you a story about the Palmyra temple in my letter last week.
Last week we got a chance to go in and cleaned the temple, as they are only open for sealings as of yet. But that day we found out that they were moving to phase two and that there would be about 30 missionaries from the Syracuse mission coming to take out their endowments over the next few weeks. When we had concluded our cleaning, we got an opportunity to take a small tour of the temple and they shared with us a this very interesting story.
At the end of the hallway in the temple past the recommend desk, there is a clear see-through window. Now I don’t know of any other temple that has a see-through window, most all of them are stained glass or opaque. It seems that as the temple construction was being concluded President Hinckley made a trip and he found that that part of the temple faced towards the Sacred Grove. He told them that he wanted a clear window put in so that they could see the Grove. So they installed it and he returned a few weeks later, but he saw that looking out of the window the view of the Sacred Grove was obscured by as stand of trees growing on the grounds. These trees are protected by a land act and so they were not allowed to be cut down to clear a path for the view to be enhanced. So president Hinckley said that he was going to “pray that those trees would not be long lived that the view of the Grove would be able to be seen from the temple”. Well Interestingly enough within the next two years all of the trees that were in the path had died and had to be taken down. Now they couldn’t cut any other trees down to broaden the view, but they could continue to keep that path clear. And so today if you were to visit the Palmyra temple, you would be able to look out that window onto the Smith farm and into the sacred Grove.
We have been busy with torus at the Smith Farm and had a very interesting tour just the other day. I will steal Sister Isoms version of this from her missionary letter:
Today we did a regular Zoom call and a Facebook live at the same time. We had 16 regular groups set up with 41 connections and a missionary sign up that wanted around 80 connections. Well as you can only have 100 connections on a zoom call, so it was suggested that they reschedule. They did not want to do that as they had it all set and didn’t want to change if at all possible. They then had the bright idea that they would just do a Facebook live. Well, that has only been done 1 other time with a Facebook and regular tour at the same time. To do it you have to carry 2 phones at the same time. That is crazy sauce, I am just saying. Well, that is exactly what we did, Zoom and Facebook live at the same time. The other time they just carried a phone in each hand, but Elder Isom was able to rig up a stick to hold both phones so you could go up and down the stairs safely as well as walk in the snow without killing yourself. That was the worst thing I have done here and I will NOT ever do it again. You are trying to walk, talk, looking at the 2 screens to make sure they can see everything and keep everything in frame. Then you have Facebook live adding all kinds of comments about how the video has frozen, they can’t hear, it’s so beautiful, this is amazing etc. It was so distracting that you would forget what you were saying as you were trying to determine if the comments were actually issues or not. It didn’t take long for us to just ignore the comments. We had people on Zoom who knew that the Facebook live was going on but I don’t think they thought it would affect their tour.
Well as you might expect, even with all of the challenges we had, it was amazing how the Lord made up the needed difference so that both groups enjoyed their time on the tour. But sister Isom and I were a little worse for the ware. As she said she did not want to do that again. So you guessed it, this coming week we have another Facebook live tour. Now we have to hope no one wants to sign up in that time slot for a Zoom tour. But we are ready. As she is always saying “Come what may and love it”
They keep telling us that winter is almost over, and from time ot time we catch a glimmer that it might be turning the corner, but then it comes back with a vengeance. Several days last week in the single digits, but it looks like we might be approaching freezing on a few days this coming week. We can only hope.
This week we are beginning the efforts to prepare for the arrival of the first set of 5 companionships of sisters to join us for the spring to fall months. They stay here for 18 weeks, then head out to their full-time missions once they finish. They will come in a series of 4 waves and the last ones will leave us around November. It is funny how the young can fly south for the winter, but us old birds must have a bit of memory lapse as we stay put for the long cold winter.
Keep the faith Elder and Sister Isom.