One of the greatest blessings to those of us living in the Los Angeles Temple District, but more than 2 hours away, is the Temple Patron Apartments. Colin and I wanted to set a goal of attending the temple once a month, but were having a difficult time getting down there, mostly because it’s hard to ask someone to watch your kids that long. Ingrid and Billy clued us in on the option of renting a room at these apartments, located directly behind the temple, where our whole family could stay for a super low rate. Could it get any easier than that? Plus, Warren loves the spacious cupboards he can hide in that an older building such as this provides.
That and the luggage dolly.
Silliness aside, I loved walking the temple grounds with our kids, sharing our testimonies about the importance of the temple and the ordinances performed there. I love that they get to see us make temple service a priority in our lives. Truly, it is the House of the Lord. I’m so grateful that we have a facility like this to help us attend more often.
Warren was asked to give a talk in Primary during the time when everyone is gathered together. His first one ever. He’d tackled being the reverence child and giving the prayer. We were excited to see what he’d come up with for this assignment.
Colin and Warren sat down the Saturday before and hammered out the following words:
How Prayer Strengthens Me and My Family
Our family prays at dinner & breakfast & lunch & bedtime & morning. (He insisted on using every ampersand.)
Prayer helps us be happy. It helps us to get blessings from Heavenly Father. But it doesn’t help us catch ducks!
I am thankful for family prayer.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Colin and I sat in the back of the Primary room as Warren bravely walked up to the seats next to the podium. His wonderful Primary President looked to us as he stepped up to the microphone, expecting him to ask for our help.
He started out on his own, almost blurting out his duck joke, but quickly turned to Sister Neeley for assistance. He seemed so pleased to share his thoughts with the whole of Primary.
He’s getting to be so big we can hardly stand it. It’s so fun to hear him bear his testimony with such confidence.
Warren is a bold missionary. He has no problem whatsoever talking to people about our church. But I think that part of his frankness may actually stem from his shaky understanding that some people do not share our faith.
The following conversation with one of Colin’s co-workers is a perfect example:
Warren: I’m in Primary! (stated completely out of the blue)
The assignments for opening prayer, scripture reading, and talk in Primary are given the week before by “mail” received during the meeting. They actually have a cute mailbox that contains a “letter” assigning these tasks to different kids each week. Their initials are called out and the kids have to guess who the lucky recipients are. It’s all very exciting, mostly for the little ones who are hoping against hope to get some mail of their very own.
Renny was chosen to give the opening prayer this Sunday. They asked us before hand if we thought he’d do it. We weren’t sure! Standing up in front of all of the kids and teachers to open up the meeting with prayer? It would be interesting to see.
Of course, he was thrilled to get his mail. He proudly taped it to his bedroom door when we got home, as if it were a great piece of artwork, and we talked about his upcoming duty all week. Sunday morning we asked him if he was ready to pray at the podium in front of everyone. Not only was he ready, he said, but he’d already been thinking about what he was going to pray about. He said he didn’t need any help from us. Surprising. Colin and I would stand watching from the back, then.
As Primary started and the kids were settling in by singing some fun songs, he repeatedly told people that he was giving the prayer. Well, at least he was ready! What would he do when the time finally came??
He ran right up as soon as the Primary president said, “Warren will be saying…” and dove right in. He faltered for a second and his dear Primary President prompted the rest of his words. He did manage to ask that the people affected by the flooding in Washington be blessed, though I’m sure no one quite understood his cute, little whispered words. But at least he knows Heavenly Father understood.
At the beginning of every Sacrament Meeting, our ward has 1 or 2 children from the Primary (chosen the week before) stand in front of the congregation to set the example of reverence. Arms folded, no talking, minimal movement. I never really thought that Renny paid any attention to the kids up there. Most adults don’t even seem to notice! In fact, our bishop just made some remarks about increasing the level of reverence in our most sacred Sabbath Day meeting.
Since Colin and I drag Warren to choir practice every week, we were in the chapel for a good 35 minutes before Sacrament Meeting started. I guess that got Renny thinking.
“Dad, can I be the reverence child today?”
Whoa! Volunteering?? Most kids have to be coerced into standing in front of everyone like that!
“Um, sure. Why don’t you ask [bishopric member who was conducting the meeting] if it’d be alright.”
I walked over with Ren and stood by him as he asked to be the reverence child. It was a “go.”
He proudly stood at the front, on the stand, and folded his arms the whole time– save when he stopped to wave at a few people, or when he ran over to the other side of the podium when the “real” reverence children invaded his turf by trying to stand next to him.
But I think he did a great job! I loved seeing his sweet face and funny winks at us from the front. He’s getting so big.
After last Sunday’s post about Warren’s final Nursery day, I thought I would report that his first official day in Primary was a success. He loved it!
He said goodbye to the Nursery toys on our way into church and I think that was all he needed to move on. As we left the chapel after Sacrament Meeting, he walked straight into the Primary room without so much as a look back. Colin and I couldn’t help but peek in on him from the hallway, just to see how he was doing. Yes, he was a little wiggly, but was fully engrossed in the activities.
At the end, he ran up to Colin and me, holding a paper doll bearing the words, “I am a child of God,” in one hand and, in the other, a copy of all the songs the kids will be singing this year for the annual Primary Program performed in Sacrament Meeting. He proudly declared, “This is the hottest cd in town!” No doubt some enthusiastic leader introduced that phraseology.
The Primary teachers and leaders we have in our ward are wonderful. I’m grateful for the good people, in Primary AND Nursery, who care for our little Warren.