We may as well keep this week a “Grace” week with the posts, because there sure has been a lot going on in her life lately I tell you!

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a family who lived in the desert.

It was proposed that a temple would be built in the midst of all the cornfields that stretched as far as the eye could see near their home.

Families were encouraged to take some pictures in that spot where a temple would some day stand.

So they did.

And this installment of the story is about that little girl the second in from the right below.

She, along with that family of hers got to watch the temple building progress.

She was able to add a little piece of her heart written on a rock into the bedrock of that holy place (HERE).

She even lucked out to accompany her mom during a little “lunch date” from school to see the Angel Moroni placed on the spire on top (HERE).

And eventually, that twinkly-eyed girl got to participate in the “cultural celebration” before the opening of that building:

(Lots more about the Cultural Celebration HERE, and all the “Once Upon a Time” episodes are HERE.)

…and she got to be there for it’s dedication along with her family (HERE).

The reason I bring this all up?

Well, on Saturday we got the opportunity to accompany that little girl, who has now grown into a glowing sister missionary, right back to that spot where she has spent so much time:

Even in the middle of a global pandemic.

On September 7th that temple opened to “phase 2” of the covid reopening. It was tricky work to get an appointment, but there happened to be a cancellation one day while her brother happened to be in town, and that family got to enter that beautiful spot once again accompanying that girl for her first time through.

Not only did she get to be accompanied by her brother and her uncle (above), and her parents, of course, she got to have all these aunts and uncles join her as well:

And with that, another temple experience goes down in the books for that family who’s kids continue to just go right on growing up.

So grateful for that beautiful spot, and to be there on that night with that girl we adore so much.

…and her brother too:

(If you want to check out the post when Max went through the temple for the first time, it is HERE.)

And that Wellesley girl of ours? (Since I know people will ask…) Well, we’re still waiting for that temple sealing. The original idea was for Grace and Elle to go through the temple together. In Hawaii. Oh they had grand plans! But covid has sure thrown a hanger in the works for that idea. Since Elle lives in Florida now she would have to get sealed there until there is another phase of “reopening.” Florida, of course, wouldn’t be bad since she and Carson love Florida so far, but they’re hoping to get sealed in the temple when lots of family can be there. And being on the other side of the country makes that tricky. So we’re holding tight on that one for now.

And basking in that opportunity we had last weekend.

For more information about our temples click HERE.

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  1. I hope that the mission will be everything Grace wants it to be! And I don’t want to pick a fight. So if my comment is inappropiate, please feel free to delete it, Shawni.

    I’ve skimmed through the missionary handbook and I am quite confounded by some rules, especially by “Never be alone. It is extremely important that you stay with your companion at all times.” There seems to be such a climate of mistrust; like it’s not out of concern, but to be controlled. For example, missionaries can’t be trusted to use a computer on their own. They have to be controlled that they don’t look up sides they’re not supposed to.
    I think I would have a hard time to trust my companion if I feared she reported me for using the bathroom too long. Do you, Shawni or another reader, see this completely different?

    And what is the reason behind the rule with “never babysit”? Has the unspeakable happened (too often; as in make such a general rule)? Or shall any appearance be avoided? Or is there the danger that missionaries are taken advantage of being free babysitters far too often?

    1. I’m not LDS but I think the don’t be alone with kids is a pragmatic legal thing … if you’re never alone with a child then you can definitely never be accused of anything untoward.

      It’s sad that the world is the way it is, but even from the outside I can understand why the church would want to limit liability. I belong to a different faith group and we also have rules like that for our church volunteers.

    2. Yes, thank you, Bennett and Kristine (below) for answering better than I could. And thank you for the question, Kerstinek! I think those rules are mostly just to protect the missionary. Also, these kids are wearing the name of Jesus Christ on their badges everywhere they go. They want to be the best representatives they can be.

    3. Something found challenging too – I like alone time, time to recharge. Time to not be hearing/seeing someone else (maybe it’s those 7 years in a residential boarding school, then some share housing!). I asked via comment on a recent post about another missionary rule about scoring with sports, and was pleased to find that Shawni and Grace scored their tennis – which is to say, the rules seem rigid, but the life of missionaries is likely more reasonable in some aspects.

    4. While one could read into this as literally don’t be alone without your companion there are times when you would not be with your companion as in the shower, bathroom, etc. You certainly would not get in trouble for being in the bathroom too long, and my son who is serving right now is able to in go into another room of their apartment to be able to talk to me and have privacy. They often trade companions in what is called exchanges and that is fun as they then have the opportunity to get to meet new people and build off the strength of the new companion, but in regards to your question like no they can’t go to the store by themselves or go hangout somewhere else. The church in general is very careful when it comes to anyone being alone with anyone whether it be a teacher or a missionary and that is for legal purposes. If you are never alone with people, then no one can accuse you of inappropriate conduct. This applies to males and females.

  2. I think it’s more distrust of the world. But even today a teacher would not be alone with a child. They are going to the houses of strangers. You don’t want someone to go alone. You want the protection of another, perhaps a witness. They are not to make friends really and moved around a lot. Their companion is the one person there for them when they can only call home once a week, at that is a new thing. They don’t want the missionaries to be lonely. You don’t want to get people converting just to receive a free service like babysitting.

    1. His appearance only concerns himself and his wife. Some like beards. Since he lives out of state perhaps he didn’t have dress pants with him so had to borrow. Imagine trying to find pants for a person over 6 and half feet tall.

    2. I have an 18 year old son who looks “slovenly” too. Yet he is kind, smart, and hardworking. He’ll be leaving on a mission in a couple months and will look very different then. I don’t think we should judge someone by the length of their pants. Don’t you agree?

        1. No one should be concerned over the appearance of a 23 year old married man. Let alone a bunch of women nearing or at 50 old enough to be his mom. Ick. If this were a man’s blog and people commenting on the length of the daughter’s hem wouldn’t that be ick as well? He is adulting on the sidewalk in street clothes. He is not active military assigned to a duty station. They wear something entirely different inside. For every other job besides ones with a uniform the current generation has rewritten the dress code. He currently is a student. The world would have him living in PJ’s never leaving the house. Teachers wearing jeans. Grocery store cashiers at Trader Joe’s wearing Hawaiian shirts. Plenty of male adult office-workers in northeast Asia wear pants a few inches higher than ankles without socks in summer. If God did not want men to have facial hair as a choice they would not have facial hair.

        2. I am genuinely trying to figure out human nature here. Generally if there are comments like these ones about Max I just erase them, because to me they don’t serve a purpose (but I sure appreciated the kind ones that came in response!). But I am not erasing these because I’m honestly so curious. What makes a person come spend time on the internet and feel the need to criticize and push down? Especially when they can’t know the whole story? Is there a reason that giving the benefit of the doubt is absent here?

          It’s not just these comments, we all know, this type of thing is rampant all over the internet. I understand that it’s an emotional time for the world right now. Are people just hurting so much they feel the need to belittle and hurt others? Does that in some way make people feel better? Was criticism modeled by parents and people just don’t realize what they’re doing?

          Every day we have choices. We can build and make those around us happy and better, or we can tear down. Either way I think our actions come back to us…sending out happiness and goodness makes us happier, sending out negativity makes us hungry for more. One of Dave and my favorite sayings is “you’ll find what you’re looking for.” If you’re looking for the worst in others, you can bet you’ll find it. No one is perfect, and we all live life so different from each other, if we’re looking for things to pass judgement on, we’re in luck! Those things are there for the taking! But if you look for the good, the beautiful, the uplifting, the things you can learn from others, oh, you’ll find that too. And in the end, I believe what you’re looking for is what you’ll find in yourself.

  3. ^^^^^^^^^ On the contrary! I think Max looks so handsome! What a beautiful event for a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your good news and for your example to so many.

  4. Love your dress, Shawni. So pretty. I am excited and happy for Grace. What a beautiful experience for her to watch the temple being built, to being able to go inside and experience the eternal blessings there. What a beautiful day for all of you. So great that Max was able to be there too!
    To reply to Kerstinek about the rule to always be with your companion– that is for the safety of the missionaries. Yes, scary things do happen to missionaries and there are people out there with bad intentions. I served a mission and have many experiences I could share about how my companion and I were protected. The “no babysitting” rule is also to protect missionaries from any false accusations that could occur– because believe it or not, there are people with bad intentions– especially towards missionaries, Christians, people they don’t agree with… It’s another safety measure.
    I had absolutely no feeling of being controlled as a missionary. In fact, there is A LOT of freedom to what a missionary does during the day. Nobody is forcing anything. And nobody is watching you like a hawk. Most missionaries are out serving missions because they love the Lord, Jesus Christ- and want others to have the hope and happiness that comes from living His Gospel. It is an amazing experience.

    1. Thank you for this, Lisa, and I agree, I had no feeling of being controlled as a missionary. It was such a wonderful time of life, which makes me so excited about Grace! Fun to see her come out of her classes just GLOWING each day!

  5. Just a lovely, lovely day. Nothing in the world quite like it. So happy for Grace.
    And can I beg for where your dress is from Shawni? 🙂

  6. Thank you for your answers! I still don’t get why missionaries should not wake up earlier because they should not be alone. But the “protection/security aspect” is a valid point I hadn’t thought about before.

    And the reason behind the “no babysitting rule” is sad.

    1. We have just seen them change a rule about contact with family. These are rules that change. A person would be quite tempted if up an hour before their companion to go out for a jog, hence be alone. Maybe that happened and the jogger was a crime victim? The rules are across missions. It may be fine in Beijing to go jogging alone but not safe in NYC? Some may have hogged the bathroom in effort to get privacy causing complaint to the Mission President. Perhaps they are just trying to get ahead of some conflicts? These are not rules for members or even college students. A person doesn’t have to go at all, it’s for a short time if they do. Even in they are men thee are reasons to not go. Every place has rules that don’t make sense to someone. In one place you can’t use a plastic bottle, in another your hair must covered if female, in another you can’t drink alcohol. Some have said that the mission set up helped them adapt to marriage learning lots of lessons in sharing a room for the first time, sharing a bathroom, being around another person whether you want to or not and being around a person who has habits that drive you nuts.

      1. I kind of hope my husband wants to be around me. 🙂
        Just kidding, I get what you mean. Since I’ve never been on a mission or in any similar environment, I can only imagine that always being together might actually lead to conflicts, instead of avoiding them.

        I still don’t get it, but it’s interesting to read another one’s point of view. Thanks for taking the time to answer!

        1. Traditionally it was only young men that went on missions and of they were left alone they might be tempted to masturbate?

    2. The missionaries have a pretty set schedule as they have a lot of things they need to accomplish and would like to accomplish in a day. The set wake up times and set bedtimes to help them to stay on track for those goals. Imagine if they didn’t have those rules then you might have one companion who slept till 10 am and the other one was sitting around waiting for them and in reverse if one stayed up late and the other went to bed early. There is a little leeway in regards to getting up as they have a given amount to exercise, so if they don’t want to exercise they can lay in bed for a little longer. My son’s current companion doesn’t like to exercise, so my son workouts in the apartment. Keeping the missionaries together is also important for the safety of the missionary as in some coutries it might be easier for a missionary to get kidnapped or taken hostage if alone. These rules would be no different than say if they were in the military. Many missionaries find the experience to be very beneficial as they come back having learned a lot of discipline and skills that then help them in the business world. In fact, there have been books written about how missionaries then turn out to be great leaders and businessmen because of what they learned from being on a mission. I thought my son would find it difficult, but he is the happiest he has ever been in his life.

    1. I think she got that one at Urban Outfitters. She found another one at H&M. She’s been a good dress “finder” 🙂

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