Today we took the kids to the Gila Valley Temple open house. I've actually never been to one of these open houses myself, so it was really neat to finally go. Bree was pretty excited to go inside the temple, and she was especially enthralled with the baptismal font. She kept asking if we were going to see someone get baptized.
The open house itself was so well organized. We started off in the neighboring church building, and we viewed a short video about temples and the history of this area of Arizona. I was impressed at how many volunteers were there helping as ushers and tour guides. And after the tour, we were brought back into the church cultural hall, which was decorated beautifully with large portraits of Christ hanging on the walls, and gorgeous furniture and props lining the walls, creating sort of a cozy lavish library feel (not a small feat in a gym!). There we enjoyed some yummy cookies before we left.
This is the smallest temple I've ever been in, hardly larger than a stake center, and it's all one level. It's one of the new designs where construction has been streamlined (shipping large precast concrete slabs to the site, ready to assemble), and of all the temples, it has taken the least amount of time to build to date. It is simple, but beautiful (I saved the pictures from the flier we got), and the kids were oohing over all the crystal sconces and chandeliers. The first ordinance room has a mural of the Gila Valley on the walls (not sure why this photo doesn't match what the mural really looks like; this area of Arizona is much more lone and dreary). There was a beautiful spirit there today, and I think the kids were aware that they were in a special place (I'm just inferring this because they were more patient and well-behaved than usual). I'm excited to have a temple slightly closer to us than Mesa, and if we could get family in the area to babysit, we'd only have to pay for 2 hours of sitting instead of 5!