The mission is having transfers in the middle of the temple open house. And we just received the transfers call, and yes, I’m transferring to another area. It’s so bittersweet. I cried when I read my name on the list. I have grown to love and cherish the families here, and they will always have a place in my heart. I don’t want to leave, but this morning before receiving the news I prayed to my Heavenly Father asking Him to help me feel at peace about His decision about where I will go. And I feel at peace. A little scared since this has been my first area since I came here on my mission, but while I’ve been here I have learned to rely on the Lord, to open my mouth, to share the testimony He has given me to help others come to know Him as well. Sister Flores told me she is going to miss me, and she promised to email me every week and let me know how these families are doing.
Oh yeah, and the Lord has been doing wonders with me. I am now eating tuna, raw tomatoes, mustard, pickles, etc. Instead of taking away my dairy allergy, He is helping broaden my choices of foods I will eat. (Yes, I willingly opened a can of tuna and put it on my salad. At the moment, I thought I was going crazy, but I liked it. Miracles keep happening.)
It was so fun to see Stephanie Ashcraft at the temple open house. She gave me the tightest, biggest hug, and I was so happy to see her. There are actually 14 sister missionaries returning home this transfer, and only a couple elders coming in to the mission, so we are on the lower end of sisters. (But it should pick up again after the temple open house and the summer comes.)
I have had many wonderful experiences while at the Payson Temple Open House.
Tuesday (April 21st): While in the reception tent, I was talking with a family and I saw their little 2 year old boy run up to the Christus statue, wrap his little arms around Him, and say “Thanks Jesus.” I melted.
Wednesday night (April 22nd): We went through the temple open house with one of the families we are teaching, and as they walked through the temple and stood in the Celestial room and sealing room, the mother cried. She thanked us afterwards for bringing her and her family to the temple. She felt the spirit touch her heart, and we could see a difference in her conduct and countenance. She wants an eternal family and at times she is discouraged by her situation. She has a greater desire to do what she needs to help her family continue along the gospel path. We told her that that was our purpose: to help her along the path so she could return to the temple as often as she wanted to have peace and feel closer to her Father in Heaven.
Thursday (23rd): we went through the temple open house with two of our investigators and a recent convert. The first investigator is a miracle in himself. This last week we received a referral from another area that an investigator moved into our area, and as it turns out, Hermana Flores knew him from that previous area and had taught him before. We couldn’t find his address, but a thought came into my mind to try a different street with the same house number and we found him. We set an appointment and found a fellowshipper to come with us, and during the lesson he agreed to come to the temple open house. He came Thursday morning with the fellowshipper and another friend, and as he walked through the temple he was captivated and felt peace and comfort within the temple. He expressed interest to learn more about how he can return to the temple later. We look forward to reviewing the Plan of Salvation with him and talk more about his experience in the temple. The second investigator came with her two boys, and as she walked through the temple, you could see her eyes glisten. She felt comfortable there, as if it was home. Afterwards she asked us about how she could be worthy to hold a temple recommend. She is interested in being baptized.
Saturday (April 25th): We spent some time helping with the talking points in the video rooms, and the spirit helped me feel more comfortable saying them in Spanish. Afterwards we went to the reception tent — it was pouring rain outside and chilly, but I spoke with the families coming in from the temple, and I asked many of them how it felt to stand in the Celestial room with their family, and many opened up and I had the chance to testify of the Plan of Salvation and the vital roles we have as parents to help our children come back to our Father in Heaven. I also spoke with some Hispanic families, and one family after going through the temple wanted to hear more about the church and take the missionary lessons. One group of people approached me and asked about what to the oxen signify, why the Angel Moroni points east, and a few other questions. I’m glad that Hermana Flores and I had done our practices of questions before the open house started, and the spirit helped direct my answer for their understanding. And even though I was tired, I kept smiling. (I think I’m going to build Popeye muscles on my cheeks from smiling so much…)
Thanks to Christ’s Restoration of the fullness of His Gospel, we have living prophets and apostles again on the earth. We have the priesthood, revelation, blessings. We have the Book of Mormon, which is a record of the ancestors of the Latin Americans and the communication God had with them. And how did I receive my testimony of the truthfulness of these things? By going to the source of all Truth. I took the promise of the Nephite Prophet, Moroni, (Moroni 10:3-5). I read the Book of Mormon, pondered its message, and prayed to my Heavenly Father, asking Him if the Book of Mormon was His, and the Holy Ghost testified to my heart of its validity and I know it is true. And this testimony helps me get up those hills, keep pressing forward through those tough days. It helps me rely on the Lord, because this is His work and He knows who is ready and where we need to be. We have the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. God love us so much that He has given us all the tools we need to get through this life. He hasn’t left us alone.