Friday, April 20, 2012

Temple Service and Unexpected Blessings‏

I have had a troubled heart for several months. I talked with Julie, Jim and Dad about it one Sunday when we were all together. I have always wanted what was best for my family. I daily pray that I will be a good example to my grandchildren and to the other members of my family. Nevertheless, I have felt uneasy. 

I have prayed many times for a way to convey to all of you the reasons that I so love the temple and my service there, in spite of getting so very tired that, at the end of Saturday, I feel completely done in physically. At the same time, I am renewed spiritually and mentally. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father that I am able to function well at the temple both physically and mentally. I can complete all the tasks that I am given including making it to the tower sealing room with a wedding party in tow. However, try as I might, I have never been able to convey to any of you how serving enriches my life and the life of your father. 

As I opened the Ensign for the first time this month, after a long and worrisome day, it fell open to the following article. I am certain that it states exactly what I wanted to express to all of you. I did have a humble and grateful heart that Heavenly Father had given my ideas words. 

This latest calling, to be one of the shift coordinators who oversees the activities of our shift and the women who work on it, has been a further testimony to me that Heavenly Father does love me and that he does know who I am and that He cares. I don't suppose that any of you have ever noticed that I have not been given many leadership positions in the church. That is a fact that I find most troubling. I question whether or not I live well enough to be entrusted. I see it as a failing in myself. I did serve as Relief Society President for eight years and was the stake speech director when they used to have a stake board over MIA. I have not had other leadership entrusted to me. I have been a teacher. I love teaching so that has been fine. But I have watched others who have only been at the temple for a few months called to the position I now hold. I wondered what was wrong with me that I had never been called. Dad has been nothing but in one leadership position after another. 

At any rate, read the following. Know that what it conveys comes from your mother's heart. I love you all, despite the fact that some of you do not seem to know that. I am so thankful for each of you. Each child was sent to me to teach me to be a better person and I am still learning to do that. I consider you all my friends. Thank you for that.

(I am not perfect, and may never be. I still bumble about on a regular basis. For example,  I am one of only three on our Saturday shift, trained to use the cash register and credit card machine in the temple. A few weeks ago, I checked through a large baptism group. As I was ready to take the credit card from the Bishop, I accidentally cleared the whole transaction. Another worker and I had to run around to the tables and figure out what everyone had taken and then I had to feed that information back into the cash register. I was so embarrassed but I had an hour of service at the cash register left so I just continued on. And we continued to be really busy so I had no time to lick my wounds. I will NEVER push the red button again. I will always push the blue one just left of it.)  

Temple Service and Unexpected Blessings

Workers in the Provo Utah Temple have learned that giving their time to serve the Lord and His children brings abundant blessings. 

Karen Lillywhite slipped into the back of the room and quietly found a seat among her fellow temple workers, who shifted to make room for her. They greeted each other happily and softly, enjoying the atmosphere before the meeting that would begin their Saturday morning shift at the Provo Utah Temple. The meeting’s hymn, prayer, and messages brought a spirit of peace that Karen and the other workers could take with them while participating in sacred ordinances during the next five hours.

Karen, a student at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, USA, volunteered to serve in the temple because she wanted to do the Lord’s work. Even though Karen has had to miss some activities and a little study time while she works in the temple on Saturdays, she does not regret dedicating her time to service.

“I love being able to spend so much time in the house of the Lord serving others,” Karen says. “There are things that you can learn from the perspective of a temple worker that are different from what you learn as a patron. Getting both perspectives opens up a lot of revelation and understanding for me.”

Karen says that every part of her life has been blessed by the temple. Serving as a temple worker motivates her to live the gospel more fully and has brought her closer to the Lord and to those with whom she serves.

One of the things Karen appreciates most about her service in the temple is her association with others. “I’ve gotten to know the other temple workers and the patrons that come regularly to my shift,” she explains. “One sister comes to the temple each week and stays for hours, bringing a beautiful spirit with her. I have met some incredible individuals who inspire me and bless my life.”

Karen is one of thousands of Church members who serve in temples around the world. No matter where they serve, these temple workers learn what Karen and those who serve with her in the Provo Temple on Saturday mornings have realized: temple work brings abundant blessings not only to their own lives, but also to their families and to those for whom the temple work is vicariously done.

Renewal of Strength

The Provo Utah Temple is one of the busiest temples in the world. It serves a highly concentrated population of Latter-day Saints, including the missionaries at the Provo Missionary Training Center and the students of two universities. Many of the workers in this temple are young couples, students, and recently returned missionaries.

One of these younger workers is Jenny Perkins, who started working in the temple soon after returning from her mission in Russia. Jenny works alongside her parents, Jack and Toni, and enjoys learning from them as they serve together. When Jenny considered discontinuing her shift because she was overwhelmed with school, Toni taught her about the blessings that come from temple service.

“My mother reminded me that if I was willing to sacrifice for the Lord and exercise a little faith, He would make up the difference. Now I can testify that this is true,” explains Jenny. “Working in the temple helped clear my mind so I could finish my other work more accurately and efficiently.”

Her father, Jack, has noticed similar blessings. Over the past few years, he has worked extra hours each week in his employment and has held Church callings that required much of his time. But as he has immersed himself in temple service, he has felt his strength renewed.

“I am renewed by the time I spend working on behalf of other people,” Jack says. “Everything else I do in the other six days would be more of a burden if I didn’t spend that time in the temple doing service.”

Happiness in Serving

As a young girl growing up in Brazil, Natalina Durelli would look at pictures of the Salt Lake Temple and dream of visiting a temple herself. She had joined the Church with her family, and at the time there were no temples in South America.

Her dream became a reality when the São Paulo Brazil Temple was built near her home. She was present when the temple was dedicated in 1978.

“I had the privilege of singing in the choir that provided music for the dedication,” she remembers. “It was a wonderful season of my life and helped strengthen my desire to be closer to the temple.”

Natalina wanted to serve a full-time mission but was unable to do so because of family obligations. After she received her endowment, she volunteered as a temple worker, and this service became her mission. She served every Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while working full time and taking classes.

“I was grateful that I was blessed with the energy to be on my feet in the temple for so many hours,” she says. “I remember coming home exhausted physically and emotionally, but with a testimony of the temple and the work we do inside those walls.”

Thirty years later, Natalina, now living in Utah, became a temple worker once again. She has faced many trials in her life, but serving others in the temple brings her peace.
“I have found that working in the temple helps me overcome discouragement,” she says. “While serving others, I don’t have time to feel unhappy.”

An Extra Measure of Blessings

When they first were called to work in the Provo Utah Temple, Joel and Elaine White hoped to serve in the baptistry on a weekday evening. But the temple president, then Merrill J. Bateman, had something else in mind for them. (As did President Doxy with us. He needed a couple of Saturday Warriors and asked us to work Friday and Saturday, the two busiest shifts.)

President Bateman asked them to serve as ordinance workers on the shift that needed the most help—the Saturday shift from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. They were hesitant, both to take on the responsibilities of an ordinance worker and to give so much time on their only free day. But they chose to serve where they were needed and have been blessed abundantly. (We work from 10:30 a.m. to 5 or 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 1:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday.)

With their new temple shift, the Whites initially struggled to fit in tasks they usually completed on Saturdays, so they soon dedicated weeknights to chores like laundry and shopping.

“We have been blessed to be more efficient with our time,” says Joel. “Giving our Saturdays may look like a sacrifice, but it has not been anything of the sort. The Lord has given us an extra measure of blessings.”

Now there isn’t any other day they would rather work in the temple. Saturdays are busy, so the Whites look forward to helping hundreds of temple patrons participate in sacred ordinances. One of the greatest blessings the Whites have seen from their service is in their family.

“It has brought us closer together,” says Joel. “We have experienced a bit of what it will be like to be together for eternity. Serving with my wife has helped me see her more clearly, more as the Savior does. That helps me be more empathetic and focused on her instead of on myself. We encourage our adult children to make temple attendance central in their lives because that makes the Savior central in their lives.”

At one point, one of their sons struggled to stay strong in the gospel. The Whites wanted to help him but weren’t sure how. They continued to serve as best they could and turned their situation over to the Lord.

One morning while Elaine was working in the temple, another worker told her that a patron wanted to talk to her. She turned in the direction the worker pointed and was filled with joy as she realized she was looking at her son.

“Surprise, Mom!” she heard him say. He had worked with his bishop to build up his testimony and be worthy to enter the temple.

“He was so happy,” Elaine remembers. “He made a complete change and has developed a love for the temple.”

The Whites have learned that serving faithfully brings blessings.

“Heavenly Father cares about what is important to us,” Elaine says. “That doesn’t mean all of our problems will be solved, but we will receive help. I have learned that when we are serving the Lord, He will hear us and bless us.”

An Act of Love
For ordinance workers in the Provo Utah Temple and throughout the world, serving is an act of love.

“My ability to love has increased,” says Toni. “As a temple worker, wherever I am or whatever I am doing in the temple, I have the ability and responsibility to reflect the love of the Savior. As I practice doing that in the temple, I am better able to reflect on His love outside of the temple.”

All who participate in temple work reflect the love of the Savior by helping extend the blessings of the gospel to all of Heavenly Father’s children.

“The prophets have told us to do temple work,” says Toni. “If you can’t work in the temple right now, you can serve as a patron or do family history work. The sacrifices we make for temple work allow the Savior’s sacrifice to reach more people.”

Step Within the Sacred House of God

“I am satisfied that every man or woman who goes to the temple in a spirit of sincerity and faith leaves the house of the Lord a better man or woman. There is need for constant improvement in all of our lives. There is need occasionally to leave the noise and the tumult of the world and step within the walls of a sacred house of God, there to feel His spirit in an environment of holiness and peace.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 53.

Monday, April 16, 2012

It was a thankful day today. How grateful I am that LHT and I were able to join 1,000 or so fellow workers at the Manti temple in the Priesthood Room of the temple where we gathered to sit at the feet of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the church. We were almost literally at his feet since he was on the stand and we were seated below on painted white pew benches created in pioneer days. Not only did we enjoy hearing from him and from his wife, who spoke first, but we all received an apostolic blessing from him. He blessed us that, because of our unselfish service, our families--children, their spouses, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and, in fact, all of our posterity would be blessed by our Father in Heaven.

He told us that he and his wife were sealed in the Swiss Temple and how he loved that temple and also how he loved the Manti Temple. How fortunate we were to work in a pioneer temple, he said. He had attached himself to the pioneers and had great respect for them. He had made this attachment because he was a member of the church. He talked of their greatness and their sacrifices for the gospel.

He also told us that we were to all learn to "Let it go." "Stop it!' was part of his text. It echoed a talke given sometime ago at a general conference on the importance of not judging, holding grudges, gossiping or allowing ourselves to be caught up in various unkind and unholy actions.

How wonderful it was.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hope this is in time, Braden.

It was nice to visit with Benjamin. He came down and went to church with us in our ward and then left to go to his ward. We got to show him off to our ward friends and that was fun. We also had him stand up in class and tell where he was going. We made an Easter basket for him which, I am sure, had enough candy to share with his roomies. Of course, they probably were already sick from the candy their mothers had sent. ;)

The night before, Saturday, we went up to Provo right after the temple. Benjamin and Michael were both there and ate dinner and colored eggs with their cousins (and us). We had a lot of fun laughing together and having a good time.

We had a small controversy in Relief Society on Sunday. The teacher asked, "Which was more important, the Resurrection or the Antonement?" I said that, of the two, the Atonement was the most important because, without it, there would have been no need for a the Ressurection. Man's spirit would have left his body but would have been, basically, evil and could not have ever lived with our Father again. Therefore, his spirt would have gone with Satan. However, Chirst paid that debt for each man so that he could repent and be worthy to live again in the presence of our Father. Several of the sisters took exception to that and said the Atonement and the Ressurection could not be separated in importance. However, I maintained my stand that without the Atonement there could be no Ressurection. I came home and found the following in a Sunday school manual: "Jesus Christ 'came into the world … to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved' (D&C 76:41–42). The great sacrifice he made to pay for our sins and overcome death is called the Atonement. It is the most important event that has ever occurred in the history of mankind: 'For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; … yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement' (Alma 34:9)."

I found the following Easter poem and loved it because it reminds me of the talks that were given during conference. I included it in the Easter cards for those here in the states but I sent you a different card that was just picked for its prettiness. 

Love's Garden
by Ellen Robena Field

There is a quiet garden,
From the rude world set apart,
Where seeds for Christ are growing;
This is the loving heart.

The tiny roots are loving thoughts;
Sweet words, the fragrant flowers
Which blossom into loving deeds,
Ripe fruits for harvest hours.

Thus in our hearts the seeds of love
Am growing year by year;
And we show our love for the Saviour,
By loving His children here.

We love you! We hope that you are continuing to enjoy the few weeks of your mission that you have left.
Grammy and Gramps