The list just keeps getting longer.
I have been thinking all week about all that President Hinckley has done throughout his life and ministry to further the work of the Lord, and I just keep having more things come to mind. Of course, sitting here I probably won't remember them all, but here is what I can remember right now -- things that he did or that took place while he was the president and prophet that have had an impact. (For video tributes, click here.) (Part of the third video doesn't have sound it's worth hanging on, because there are some powerful clips that do have sound, and the pictures are great.)
-The Proclamation on the family
-Amazing temple building initiative (47 to 124 -- WOW!)
-Perpetual Education Fund
-A real focus on youth (watch this video for an example of the impact he has had)
-Celebrations with temple dedications (here's an example)-- which were focused on giving the youth a once-in-a-lifetime experience (this also happened in many places with the recognition of Joseph Smith's 200th birthday)
-Building the Conference Center
-Beautifying the area around the headquarters of the Church (there are SOOOOO many people who have benefited from this -- the times I have walked by the reflecting pool, it has been clear what a meaningful place it is for so many)
-Dedicating resources to Church history sites, giving members a place to reflect on the restoration, and giving our friends and neighbors the opportunity to learn more about us
-Traveling all over the world (I can't handle one overseas trip for the jet lag and all; he, 60 years my senior, could go at a pace that was nearly dizzying)
-Changes in the missionary program (raising the bar and the Preach My Gospel program)
-Taking the church to the Internet -- broadcasts and web sites and newsrooms and music and videos and all
-A new era of family history work, using the Internet and computers in unprecedented ways
-Rebuilding the Nauvoo Temple (did you know this was a dream of both his father and his grandfather?)
-Being an amazing, amazing presence with the media -- He was prepared for that role from the time he was a young adult
-Standardized building of chapels (saving money and time)
There is also just who he was -- the epitome of optimism, love, humility, humor, health, faith, pragmatism, hard work, endurance, and pretty much all else that we strive to become. He lived what he taught.
Obviously, I will miss him dearly. I believe his legacy will live on. He is an example of what can happen when one seeks to become an instrument in God's hands, and I know that he would want us to give all the glory to God, for He was simply His servant, trying to do the best he could do. He reminded us that we needed to do the same. He called us his friends and associates, and we could feel the honest and heartfelt love he had for us. I am grateful to have lived at a time when I could call President Hinckley my prophet. (On Monday, my youngest daughter asked me to print out a picture of President Hinckley ("in color"). I did so. She wrote, "My Prophet" and cut that out, and taped it to the picture. She then taped this to her door. What more could be said? He was "my prophet" to millions of us.)
Godspeed, President Hinckley. Thank you for your loving, dedicated, faith-filled service. We are all better people for knowing you.