Monday, March 16, 2015

Santo Domingo Temple

Br & Sis Allen at the temple

Detail of Santo Domingo Temple

Santo Domingo Temple, Dominican Republic

When we were sent to Nevis in June, 2013, we began to work with Br and Sister Allen.  
Br & Sis Allen and Young Elders
Nevis Group Activity
They are a sweet couple who have been members of the church for many years, but were sort of stalled.  We held FHE with them and immediately took a liking to them, and they to us.

Over the next 10 weeks we worked on Br Allen receiving the MP.  
With Son-in-law Elder Hanley
He was such a humble man, quiet spoken, always kind and patient with us and everybody else they had any contact with.  We taught them the temple preparation lessons and told them that we would love to go with them to the temple in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, for Br Allen’s temple blessings and then for their temple marriage.  There is a fund to help first-time temple goers get there, but since Sister Allen had already been there she would need some help with her ticket.  He would receive assistance from the Church-administered fund.

Some of the details are too personal to present here, but 2 weeks ago Gaye and I boarded a plane in SLC and flew to Santo Domingo, where we met up with our dear friends flying in from St Kitts.  We had made arrangements to be picked up at the airport and to stay at the guest house next to the temple.  The shuttle driver even took us to a grocery store to get supplies for our 5-day stay there.

We bumped into one of the young men from St Kitts who had barely finished his training period at the MTC in Santo Domingo, also right next to the temple.  
Elder Jeffers
I had the privilege of interviewing Elder Jeffers for baptism shortly after we arrived on St Kitts, and now he is serving a mission. I am confident he will be a great missionary, too.

We spent a wonderful 5 days attending several sessions at the temple.  Sister Allen had some family names that they had the blessing of taking clear through all the ordinances.  It was a time of just plain joy.  Some will say that they were surely blessed by our helping them get there.  Gaye and I will respond that we are so thankful to have been in a position to meet them and help them get there.  Our lives are changed forever by this experience!

Sister Allen has trouble walking very far, so we borrowed a wheelchair from the MTC so we could go to Antonio’s Steak House, just a couple of blocks from the temple grounds.  She did not really want to ride in the wheelchair, but we convinced her that it would be better.  I told her that we wanted to have supper at Antonio’s, not breakfast.  She was a good sport about it, even when I tipped the chair back and did some wheelies!  
No More Wheelies!!!
After dinner we went to the park across the street, where hundreds of locals of all ages were participating in physical fitness activities like aerobic dancing, walking, biking, rollerskating, and just enjoying the perfect evening weather.  
Park across the street
We even saw the temple president and his wife headed over there to take their regular evening 2-mile stroll.

Worshipping in the temple, performing sacred ordinances for brothers and sisters who have concluded this part of their mortal journeys, is always a tremendous learning experience.  
Temple Door
We serve in the Twin Falls Temple every Wednesday morning starting at 0300.  It never gets boring.  In fact, it is becoming more interesting and mind-expanding every week. 

There are people who claim to be LDS but who feel that they are smarter than the prophets who lead the Church.  Some of those people, even some who are quite near and dear to us, feel that they can’t be fully committed to the Church because they have questions they can’t answer.  I have had lots of questions, and I am sure I will have more, but I have finally learned that I am not smarter than God.  That should seem obvious, but I have learned some very valuable lessons in recent months and years. Elder Maxwell said in a fireside at BYU in September 1974, that if we are not careful we might try to pray away the tests that our loving God designed specifically for each of us, so that we might become what he wants us to become. I have learned that the closest synonym to faith is not belief, it is trust.  Only God is smart enough to design the plan.  We are not smart enough to figure out how or why God does what he does.  In fact, we are not even permitted to know how or why he does most things.  (Mosiah 4:9-10). Be still and know that I am God (D&C 101:16) has been spoken to me, too.

Besides, if someone leaves the Church, what is he or she going to replace it with?  As Peter said, where would we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:67-68).  Is there no other way?  There is no other way, so stop kicking against the pricks and divest self of pride.  As Elder Holland said, the winning team is already known.  What we need to show is which jersey we will wear.