|Beautiful on the outside but beyond description on the inside.|
During a meeting in Paris in 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley told some 2,400 Latter-day Saints, “The time will come … when we can construct somewhere in this area a house of the Lord, a sacred temple. …”
It's been a long time coming, miracles have happened and now the time is here.
We have to say we cried tears of joy when we first saw this sign the day the construction fence came down:
|Doug and Pauline Todd, our dear friends, who have been working|
on the temple since construction started over four years ago.
|Gordon and Jackie Lambert were visiting when|
we heard the construction fence was down for an
hour so we ran over to the temple and got to see
the temple unobstructed AND at sunset. A
highlight of our time with them!
|Doug's friend Sylvia Contesse from Lausanne where |
he served part of his first mission. He and Sylvia
together wrote ten songs for the original French
"The Children Sing." Two of their songs are in the
current French Primary Songbook.
The week before the temple opened for the public open house, we were blessed to be able to help take the 200+ young missionaries through the temple so they could see it for the first time. Here we are with President and Sister Babin. How we love them and the missionaries and all of their beautiful spirits. We are incredibly grateful for that experience.
When the temple, talent, and timing came together and blessed our already blessed lives:
During the first week of April in the afternoon before the open house for VIP's began, Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited the temple. As he came out into the gardens, he expressed great concern that the gardens were not French. He said that they were unacceptable as they were and needed to be corrected by morning. (The gardens had small hedge-type plants around each one, some bulbs that were coming up but wouldn't bloom for quite some time and lots and lots of bark. French gardens are very symmetrical, colorful, and do NOT use bark.)
So an urgent call and emails went out to the ward and the missionaries to please come to the temple grounds at 7:00 p.m.--there was an emergency! I received the call, called Doug, and sprang into action (at least Doug did). Chris, Krista, and their three children were headed back to the apartment from Paris and were unreachable. The mission assistants wanted to go but didn't have transportation. So we decided that Doug would take the three assistants in our little car and head to the temple while I stayed at the apartment, fixed dinner, and spent the evening with the Wells, since we didn't have room in the car for all of us anyway, even without the assistants.
When Doug returned home at 1:00 a.m., what a story he had to tell! When he arrived at the temple, there were three big black vans pulled up and people were unloading flowers of every color and combination and setting them on the ground. The temple project manager Ramon (who must have been devastated at hearing that any part of this temple was "unacceptable"), ran up to Doug as he arrived and asked if he had any experience with flowers. Doug, who has always kept a beautiful home garden and sold flats and flats of annuals to many friends and family every Mother's Day weekend for 28 years, said, "Well, I don't have a degree or anything but I do know a little about planting flowers."
Ramon gathered everyone together, pulled Doug up beside him and said "Listen to him. He's in charge." So there he was--in charge of the temple gardens! He swung into action, designing symmetrical gardens in his mind and then telling everyone where to plant each flower. The children who were there would run to him and he would say, "Bring me two of these, or three of those" or whatever he needed and they would run and get what he needed and run back to him.
So by 1:00 a.m., all the bark had been dug out of the gardens (mostly by hand), underground watering pipes held down by huge metal brackets had been pulled up, repositioned to allow for flowers to be planted where they needed to be in order to achieve the envisioned symmetry then put back down, and hundreds of flowers planted--they worked until there were no more flowers to plant. Many were saying how grateful they were to be a part of this "gardening miracle."
Doug came home exhausted but on fire. As he fell into bed (after taking several ibuprofen), he told me he couldn't tell me the whole unbelievable story now, but he did say that he felt that he had probably made the most valuable contribution of his mission here just from his experience that night. Upon later reflection, he talked about how excited he was to be in Paris when the temple was dedicated and how he hoped he might be able to contribute to the temple dedication--probably using his musical talents. But that didn't happen. Instead, the Lord found use for him in a very different, but no less meaningful and wonderful, way. I'm grateful the Lord works with willing hearts in mysterious, marvelous ways.
Oh, and by the way, the next morning, Elder Anderson exclaimed that the gardens were "100% better." He was thrilled with the change and the beauty.
|Elder Barnes with Elder Richards, Elder Larsen, and |
Elder Griffith along with special "runner" Matthew.
|Elder Barnes with three of our many beautiful grandkids |
in front of one of his many beautiful gardens.
|The garden in the lower part of this picture|
shows how all the gardens were when
Elder Anderson first saw them--definitely
|A side view of the temple at night--I don't know if it is more magnificent at night or during the day; but, I do love seeing the light come through the stained glass windows at night.|
|The temple is located just a stone's throw away from the Palace of Versailles. Because of zoning laws in the area around the Palace, the height restrictions for the temple did not allow for a steeple or Angel Moroni statue. But imagine our joy when this Christus was placed in the outside garden--Paris is the only temple in the world to have a Christus outside the visitor's center. It's a wonderful testament to the world that we are, indeed, Christians.|
|A view at dusk of the back of the temple where the fountains and Christus are located|
(Thanks to our friend Valerie Umilgia for most of these beautiful pictures.)
🎶🎶🎶 The temple is a sacred place,
a place of love and beauty 🎶🎶🎶
We feel so blessed to be here at such a time as this in France