temple #7 of 17 on our utah temple tour was the St. George Utah Temple on Saturday, February 18th, 2017! (:
those in attendance this day (from L-->R): Back row: Shelby Luke, Trent Dahlin, Luke Mangum, Keaton Olsen, Mackenzie Swapp, Lexi Rich. Front row: Debbie Smith, me, Mary Riker, & Kara Wigginton.
quick story before i get into this particular trip (with some old photos):
i have been to this temple before - for baptisms, with Micae, where i had a really special spiritual experience (you can see photos from our trip in 2011 HERE).
i had already told my family that i was planning on going on a mission, and had finished pretty much everything except for my final stake president interview - which was scheduled for just a few days after this trip. while i was inside the baptistry, i had a distinct impression that i should wait a year before going on my mission...this was in the fall of 2011.
so...i went home at the end of that weekend, cancelled my stake president interview, told my bishop & parents & everyone else that i was postponing my mission for another year. ((i'm pretty sure they all thought i was just not going to go on a mission at all).
fast forward to the following fall, october 2012, when i climbed a mountain and camped overnight in a canyon above Y mountain with some friends. i had always heard "go into general conference with a question in mind" but had never really done it...but while climbing this mountain, i remembered that it had been just about a year since i had felt that i should wait a year to go on a mission. i went with the question in mind - is now the right time for me to go on a mission?
we listened to the saturday morning session of the october 2012 general conference via radio broadcast, when president monson (the prophet of the lds church) announced the age change for full-time missionaries (sisters could now go at age 19 instead of 21; elders could now go at age 18 instead of 19). although i would already be 22 by the time i entered the MTC, i had another distinct impression: i wrote in my journal that morning, "now is the time to go on a mission." and i re-started my papers (aka started all over again since i think they are only valid for like a couple of months!), submitted them in february 2013, got my call in march, & left in july (still in 2013). one of my best decisions to date. God is good & definitely answers prayers. i am so glad that i left when i did! :)
okay, back to the present(-ish). basically, we drove down to st. george lateish on friday night in two separate cars (we met shelby - a friend from my byu theatre days - & her male friend, trent the next morning @ the st. george temple since they live close by). we arrived in st. george around 10-11pm & spent the night at mary's (great?) aunt's home. they were awesome & even fed us yummy breakfast in the morning! so so awesome. then we packed our bags & headed over to the temple!
it was a rainy day, but beautiful nonetheless!
extra special (i keep having these unexpected #smallworldmoment experiences on my temple tour, haha!) was running into ellen brotherson in the locker room inside! she was my second co-sister training leader when we were in the MTC (here's another throwback picture from september 2013 in the MTC for you because we didn't snap a photo inside the temple since that's not allowed :) -
totally awesome. love those small world moments! :)
k back to the "present":
we had a great session (even though i was kinda stressed out during the session, to be honest, because i was trying to plan out in my mind the driving/other arrangements while i was in the session and this ultimately led to my putting my multi-friend temple trips on a temporary *hold* hahaha #toomuchstress. i want to be able to enjoy my time in the temple & this trip/session inside the temple helped me to remember that for sure. so hopefully everyone else had a less-stressful session :)
this was my attempt at a group selfie since it was pouring rain & i didn't want to make anyone else stand outside in the rain to take our photo hahaha:
SUCH a pretty temple - even in the rain!!
panoramic photos of the temple & visitor's center to the left for the win (click to make them bigger):
we went out to eat lunch after our temple session & rainy photoshoot outside, and while the food was okay, it was a loooOooOoooong wait for seating & also for the food, so we spent a liiiittle more time in st. george than we had originally intended, haha. but all is well! everyone was a pretty good sport about it, & after we ate, we headed to see the cedar city temple (stay tuned for the next post about that!) & eventually to change into more comfy clothes & head home! one big highlight for me on this trip = at lunch i got an email stating that my final exam grade for my LAST INDEPENDENT CLASS EVER was posted....the one i was so crazy worried about failing, hahaha. but i passed! B- isn't the best grade, but with how terribly i thought i did on the exam, i was pretty content with that (especially since it meant passing the course with an A-!). wahooo! :)
so! like i said, we headed to another temple (to stop by - since the cedar city temple isn't dedicated yet!) after this one, but lo & behold, we visited temple 7/17 this day. & per usual, our final insta-worthy photo of the day: