Hey everyone so this week was a great week! And just as always time continues to just fly by! I am excited for what is going on here in the mission. So this week we were able to meet with our investigator Brenda again, and she is continuing to progress. And right now she will actually be getting baptized a day earlier that we had originally planned for. But she is so excited to be there and to learn!
We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ this week, but before we began she started the lesson by saying, " So I have been reading a lot as you know, and I don't feel like I have had an experience with the holy ghost where I felt it super strong like my husband did, but I can't deny that this is true. I know that this is the true church and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I have seen how much closer it has brought me and my husband, and I am ready and anxious for my baptism."
Now as a missionary this is something that brings you so much joy to hear! When you see someone accept the gospel and apply in their life, and then see the increased happiness they have: its priceless!
I have truly loved that aspect of my mission!
But again while we may see that baptism is necessary, we know it is not the final step. We know that we must continue to push forward and endure to the end. Because we are human we make mistakes. But because of the gospel of Jesus Christ we can exercise our faith unto repentance. And as we partake of the sacrament we can be clean again! What a wonderful blessing. And then we keep working hard until the point when we can enter into the temple of God to be able to receive other necessary ordinances.
So also this week we were blessed with such a great opportunity. We got a call on Saturday from the assistants, and they asked us to come be some of the tour guides for the temple ground tours that we were able to do yesterday. I was so excited when I heard of the opportunity we would have to give the tours of the temple grounds.
President Mortensen started this just last month. And last month when they did it they had between 200-300 people come to the tours. We were some of the first missionaries to be able to help out with these tours so it was really exciting! We went to the temple on Saturday to meet with President, and he walked us through how to give the tours.
At first we were pretty nervous realizing how big a responsibility this was. But at the same time we were so grateful for the opportunity to give tours of the temple grounds! What a blessing! So we were there for almost 2 hours and then we practiced. And obviously we had to go home and study that night to be ready.
( Random picture while we were at the temple on Saturday!
Well Sunday comes and we were just about as excited as we could be! We show up to the temple around 3:00 and we are just going through and practicing so we will feel better about doing it. And then at 4 is when the tours would begin. At first it didn't look like quite as many people would come, but then at once you see about 80 people walk around the corner of the temple. And from their they just kept coming! It was so cool! By the time the temple tour was over we had about 200 or so people that were able to come!
One of the reasons I Loved this so much was because when people came to the temple. They left with their vision raised. Like I said earlier in order to really experience all the blessing God wants us to have, we have to make it to the temple.
Now during the tour we talk about the history of the Houston temple being built and how the land was acquired. We also talk about the Angel Moroni and how he is the fulfillment the prophesy we read about in the the book of Revelations (Rev. 14:6-7) in the new testament. We talk about how when Christ was here he established a church but just as the bible prophesies there was be a period of time in which it would not be found here on the earth. But in 1823 the angel Moroni appeared to the prophet and delivered to him a record later on that he translated through the power of God. We know that to be the Book of Mormon. And as we read and ponder and pray we can come to know that it is true.
After that we talk about the doctrine of baptisms for the dead that was restored to the earth. And how when we go to do baptisms we are able to liberate our ancestors from their sins by preforming baptism in their behalf. This was an ordinance in Christ original church. We learn in in 1CRN 15 29. . Christ taught the doctrine of how baptisms is necessary in order to inherit the kingdom of God. Then we talk about that is the reason why we put so much emphasis on family history as a church! Because we know the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone! So then we help find our ancestors and help give them that opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And then my favorite part of the whole tour is when we end at the front doors of the temple. Because we talk about how in the temple we learn more about the plan of salvation. We discuss how in traditional Christianity the false doctrine has crept in that that marriage only lasts until death. But we also know from the bible that the Lord intended for marriage to last far beyond death. We read in 1st Crn 11:11 ,
"neither is the man with out the woman neither is the woman with out the man in the Lord." And we also remember from the Bible that Christ is teaching his apostle Peter about the keys of the kingdom and how what ever Peter shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven. Now this power and authority to baptize and seal is back on the earth today. It is the same authority in which Christ had and gave to his apostles. And it is the very authority and power of God which was used to lead and direct Christs church!
This authority was was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith by Peter James and John. 3 of Christs original apostles. And now that same authority is here and for the purpose and sealing our families together forever. Just think of how amazing this is. This is truly what the Lord intended for his children! That is why temples are so important. And at the end I was just able to bare as strong of a testimony as I could about how our families can be sealed!
It was such a wonderful experiencing to be on temple grounds and to feel of the great spirit there. And it was a great opportunity for the spirit to confirm the truth to those who came. There were many people who came to the temple and received the answer that they needed to be baptized and instead of that being their end goal, they had there vision raised to the temple!
This was the case with Brenda! She started asking us after the tour how soon she could go to the temple. And her and her husband are both committed to doing everything they can in order to be sealed! They want those blessing. And truly Heavenly Father desires all of us to receive these blessings!
The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly eternal. And it is here to help us and those who have passed on return to our Father in Heaven! And at the center of that is our Savior Jesus Christ! He came and suffered and died in order to help us be clean and return home to our Father in Heaven! That truly shows how much our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ Love us! I know these things to be true!
Well I hope y'all have a great week! Please keep looking for missionary opportunities. And remember to focus your sights on the temple. I would encourage you to go to the temple frequently! I know blessing await you and your families as you do this!
Elder Joshua V. Christensen