We stayed up late Friday night (remember the midnight sushi?), but that didn't stop us from getting up super early last Saturday. The youth from our stake met with the youth from the five other stakes in our new temple district for a 12 hour rehearsal for the cultural celebration. There were plenty of adult chaperones, but not enough seatbelts, so we helped drive the kids to Plantation. Since after dropping them off at the door, we did find a parking spot in the back of the parking lot, we went in to feel the excitement and enthusiasm.
And we stayed a bit to help with some organizing. These are the girls' white skirts divided by ward so that hopefully they'll be easy to pass out. Michelle and I helped with labeling.
Michelle decided to keep the lonely sailor company for a few minutes.
When the hike was completed, and there were still a few hours until we needed to pick up the kids, we thought it might be nice to go check out the beach, particularly since it was only a mile or so straight down Las Olas Boulevard.
Unfortunately, thousands of other people had the same idea, and they got there sooner. The parking lots were jam-packed.
Michelle had to experience the beach through the van's window. It was still a beautiful sight. And someday soon she'll get to bury her feet in the sand.
The final stop was to get ice cream for dessert. Here's where miracle #1 took place. For some reason the waiter forgot about us. When the manager realized that we'd been sitting for a while, she quickly took our order and brought it out to us. Then when we asked for the check, she said there wasn't one. That has NEVER happened. Miracle #2 was that after circling the jam-packed parking lot at the church, and deciding that we'd have to park on the swale of the adjacent street, a car left and we were able to park in the spot closest to the main door of the building.
Then we went inside to discover that the kids had an even greater miracle take place that afternoon. Elder Burns (our recently released area seventy who is now chairman of the temple committee) brought Elder Holland (the apostle) to watch the cultural celebration practice. (You can read a bit about it here.)
He even spoke to them for a few minutes. I don't think our youth realize how rare that experience is. And the ones from our stake (those wearing yellow shirts) had another apostle (Elder Cook) speak to them at our stake conference on Easter Sunday - only six days earlier. Then President Uchtdorf will be there for the actual performance this Saturday, and probably bring along some other general authorities. That's three times in three weeks - amazing!
Oh, and you can watch it too if you want. Here's the link. It will be streamed live at 7 PM (Eastern Time) on Saturday, May 3rd.