Gretchen (along with all the other sister missionaries in Vancouver) was assigned to help with the tours for the new Vancouver Temple Open House. The open house runs for about 2 1/2 weeks. To learn more about the Vancouver Temple and to see pictures of the interior go to:
This is a grand opportunity for the missionaries that keeps them extremely busy. Gretchen barely had a chance to send a quick summary of her experience from last week. A few excerpts follow:
Tuesday: Drove to Nanaimo and ate lunch with the elders at Zone Conference. Drove ON the ferry and OFF the ferry with success! We managed to manuever our way around the lower mainland and only got lost twice. Hallelujah! Arrived in Abbotsford and went to IHOP with Sister W. and her new companion.
Wednesday: First day of the VIP tours. We welcomed tour groups, started the video, and introduced the comment card. Easy peasy. Talked with a United Church minister who says that she's bringing 25 people from her congregation on Saturday. Her family is mostly LDS, so she was thrilled to go inside a temple. Ate nothing but the appetizers & sushi that were available in the reception area for the VIPs.
Thursday: Second day of the VIP tours. Slow day...fairly boring. All of the sisters were getting restless. Had a hilarious conversation with an older gentleman who owns his own consulting firm. We talked about everything from the weather to business to piano music to neuroscience.
Friday: The temple is officially open to the public! About 1500 came through. By this point all of the sisters are getting to know each other better. Spoke with a professor at the nearby Trinity Western University. Realized that even though we aren't proselyting, it feels like the Spirit is even stronger here and is guiding our words even more than usual. Had a brief conversation with a Sikh woman who could barely even express what she felt, but she told me that the temple was so beautiful, that "it felt like her heart was burning inside her" and that she cried in the Celestial room because she felt so good.
Saturday: SO busy! We had 3600 visitors. The minister from Wed. came back with her group. I somehow ended up in the middle of about 6 or 7 elderly members of the United Church who asked me all kinds of questions about the church. I think I handled it pretty well. (See above re: the Spirit) A church member happened to listen in and told me that I did a great job answering their queries....that was good to hear. We drove to Chilliwack to spend the night with Sister S. and Sister N. Stayed up and did "Tim Tam Slams." Their apartment is straight out of an episode of Full House or something. There are mirrors and 90s decor everywhere!
Sunday: Had Sacrament Meeting in Chilliwack and Zone Conference all afternoon. After Zone Conference, we went back to Chilliwack and drove back to Abbotsford.
Monday: Fairly busy. About a 1000 people came through and I think that'll be average for the weekdays. The day went by quick, since the tours end at 5 PM. Sister P. and I went to the store and she made us Spam Stirfry. Oh my heavens, I KNOW it sounds disgusting, but it was divine.
Tuesday: We went to Value Village and I got a MoTab cd for $3. Woohoo! Now we're back at the open house and gearing up for a long day tomorrow.
The first picture below is a picture of the Temple that Gretchen took. The second picture captures Gretchen holding a real signed photo of Elvis. Mission life can be pretty random sometimes!