Monthly Archives: April 2014

Catching Up #6 – A Visit to the Monkey Sanctuary

When we went to the couple’s conference we had a full day off to do sightseeing. The Meldrums suggested that instead of doing the bus tour of Johannesburg that most couples chose, that we could go to the Monkey Sanctuary that was about 90 minutes away. The Taylors volunteered to drive and we made a day of it.

While seeing the monkeys was fun, the best part of the adventure was walking on a raised walkway though the forest with a stream running under us.

March 2014 - MS - Mary sign March 2014 - MS - posing with statueMarch 2014 - MS - Taylors 2 March 2014 - MS - WalkwayMarch 2014 - MS - Suspension bridge 2March 2014 - MS - Crossing waterMarch 2014 - MS - Deadly poisonMarch 2014 - MS - guide and groupMarch 2014 - MS - Mary and waterMarch 2014 - MS - Mary MonkeyMarch 2014 - MS - Mary on bridgeMarch 2014 - MS - Mary on walkwayMarch 2014 - MS - Mary rock wallMarch 2014 - MS - Monkey 2March 2014 - MS - Monkey 3March 2014 - MS - Monkey high in treeMarch 2014 - MS - Monkey on railMarch 2014 - MS - Piggy back baby

Some of the monkeys were not afraid of us and others got away as fast as they could. The picture on the right above is a mother with a little one on her back. Below one came up and seemed to be begging from sister Taylor. The monkey on the right below was about the ugliest one in the park that we saw – he really looks like he is mad at us for invading his space.

March 2014 - MS - Sis Taylor with friendMarch 2014 - MS - Ugly Monkey - close upMarch 2014 - MS - Who you looking atMarch 2014 - MS - Sleeping after lunch

The guide told us that the monkeys eat at set times each day and then curl up in the trees and sleep. The one on the right above seems to be annoyed that he can not eat his lunch without someone taking a picture. The one on the right is sleeping off lunch.

March 2014 - MS - Red DikkurMarch 2014 - MS - Taylors on bridge

Other than monkeys and birds the only animal we saw was a small red duiker – we had seen a number of them on our last mission but only got one picture so I was surprised to see this one in a monkey sanctuary!

March 2014 - MS - Taylors on rocksMarch 2014 - MS - Crossing water

As I mentioned the most striking part of the experience was the beauty of the landscape. Flowing water, rock paths, suspension bridge and a very long raised wood pathway through the trees.

March 2014 - MS - Mary with guideMarch 2014 - MS - Bushbaby

Our faithful guide with Mary who brought out a bushbaby for us to see. Since bushbabies are nocturnal he had to wake this one up. The only other time we saw a bushbaby is when we went on a couples retreat to Tembe Elephant Park on our last mission to South Africa. Somewhere in this blog is some pictures of them in a tree at night – their eyes are huge!

March 2014 - MS - Mary with band 2 March 2014 - MS - CraftsAfter we were finished at the sanctuary the Taylors took us a craft market where there are hundreds of booths all will to sell the tourist something. They are very familiar with our badges so they call out Elder – Sister. We ended buying a nativity set made of banana leaves that is assembled in a beautifully decorated gourd, a red ball gourd with guinea fowl feathers painted on it and a beautiful table runner. As we were getting ready to leave a band set up and Mary and sister Taylor joined in the music making!

 

Catching Up #5 – The Knowles

One of the great blessing we have had on this mission was the fact that elder and sister Knowles were serving here before we came. They are a great couple who served as branch president and relief society president. They had the daunting task of finding a new place for the branch to meet and then getting it in shape for meetings, storage and offices. I am sure the Lord knew that this was not something we would do very well so sent the Knowles here first.

They lived in Johannesburg to be near her ailing mother and so they drove about 4 hours each day to work in Potchefstroom and Ikageng. In working with them for about a month before they went home, it was easy to see how much they loved the members and how the members loved them. They are truly a hard act to follow but we will try our best.

Knowles - Knowles and Bird Knowles - The Knowles and LoLo

The Knowles with elder Bird who served here as district leader. Then with Lolo who is the humble woman who runs an orphanage with 13 orphans. I will write more about this a little later.

Knowles - The Knowles and members Knowles party - Branch 1

One of the last activities the Knowles organized was a temple trip where 6 members received their endowments and a couple was sealed for time and all eternity. Before they left the branch planned a farewell party.  It was all done by the branch with almost no help from us.

Knowles party - Branch 2 Knowles party - getting gift from Macy

At the party members of the branch expressed their thanks and gave them presents for them to remember the branch. You could tell the expressions of thanks came right from their heart. Just a couple of weeks before they were scheduled to be released sister Knowle’s mother passed away. It was a tender blessing for sister Knowles since her mother had been ill so long.

Knowles party - Members Knowles party - Ncpayai and Knowles Knowles party - Nephew taking pictures

Catching Up #4 – Couples Conference

The first time we came to South Africa we arrived two days before a wonderful couples conference was held in Swaziland – which happened to be where we were to serve our first 2 1/2 months. So we got to meet and share experiences with all the couples in the mission. This time we had to wait a month before we attended one. As always it was a great experience as we got to know each of the couples and introduce ourselves to them.

The first day we all met near the mission office and spent the morning getting to know each other. There was a very informative presentation by President Mbletke of the mission presidency who talked about living under apartheid and how he came to join the church. Joining the church completely changed his life by opening up educational opportunities that he had not dreamed of. We were thrilled to hear his name announced as a new area 70 at conference. He will be a wonderful one.

Mar2014 CC - Setting up - TaylorMar2014 CC - DaviesOur good friend elder Taylor looked at the camera as I took a picture of setting up for the conference. Elder and Sister Davie serve in the Randburg

Mar2014 CC - E-S BrammeMar2014 CC - E-S Cloward - Randburg

The Brummers serve in Mokopane and the Clowards serve as S&I missionaries.

Mar2014 CC - E-S Harward - Polokwane Mar2014 CC - Harward and Cloward

E/S Harwood serve in Seshego as MLS missionaries.

After the morning meeting we all met at the temple for a session. The Johannesburg temple is a small one and there were enough of us that we not only filled the seats but they had to bring in chairs. It was very special to share this experience with all of our fellow senior couples.

After the meeting we all gathered at Mike’s Kitchen for a meal where the conversation was more important than the food – but the food was also very good. I got to eat Kingsklip for the first time in over 3 years!

Mar2014 CC - Group eating 2 Mar2014 CC - group eating 3Mar2014 CC - group eating

Interlude – 28 April 2014 – Monday – I get my haircut!

I rather feel like Mormon when he writes some of his thoughts in the Book of Mormon. However some pictures are taking a long time to load so I thought I would write about getting a haircut in Potchefstroom.

One of the small malls we visit has a real barber shop and I decided that I really must get my hair cut before President Omer says something about my curls. So after washing my hair in the sink – one of our geysers (hot water heaters) is not working so there is no hot water in the bathrooms – I went there. I knew it was a holiday but I thought since many stores are open to cater to all the other people with days off that he might be also. Well I was wrong – almost. When I got there the shop was dark and i was about to walk away when a man asked me something in Afrikaans and then again when I answered in English. It turned out he was the barber and he was just heading home.

I told him I would come back tomorrow but he opened up his shop and gave me one of the best haircuts I have ever had. We had a good time talking about his life, his training and how he ended up being a barber. It took about 20 minutes and the cost was only 50 rand or about $5! I told him he had my business for the next 16 months.

Catching Up #3 – Zone Conference

Soon after we got to Potchefstroom we drove back to Joburg for Zone Conference. I took pictures of missionaries because that is 1/2 what the blog is about – letting the families back home see their missionaries. We learned in Fort Lauderdale that some missionaries do not attach many pictures to their letters. Unfortunately I do not know the elders and

Mar 2014 - ZC - Elders 1 Mar 2014 - ZC - Elders 2

Elder Mavulnda and his companion. Elders Jackson and Johnson…I think I asked elder Johnson where he was from at least three times but I can not remember where it was.

Mar 2014 - ZC - Elders 3 Mar 2014 - ZC - Elders 4

Elders Sibandze and Lyon. Elder Lyon managed to get in more pictures than anyone else. Elders Smith and O’Riordan – elder O’Riordan serves in the Soweto West Zone and we inspected his flat  just a few days ago.

Mar 2014 - ZC - Elders 5 Mar 2014 - ZC - Mary with Dummer

Elder Stilgoe with elder Lyons. Elder Dummer taking pictures with Mary in background.

Mar 2014 - Zone Conference 1 Mar 2014 - Zone Conference 2

 

The Soweto West and I believe the Soweto East Zones with President and Sister Omer.

Catching Up #2 – First Sunday in Ikageng

Feb 2014 - sky view from backyard Feb 2014 - School Thembalidanisi Painting

Between storms this is our view from our backyard. The Ikageng branch meets in a very nice public school in the township. Ikageng is a township of about 250,000 and it continues to grow. Some time before we arrived a group came in and did a lot of painting at the school. This includes some murals as well as painting doors, bathrooms and such. From what elder Knowles told us it really improved the looks. Before the Knowles found this school and arranged for a rental agreement the branch met in another school that was really terrible. So we really are thankful that they worked so hard to get a better place to meet.

Feb 2014 - School - Color Ikageng Feb 2014 - Ikageng - what a smile

Another one of the murals – they show lots of talent. This charming young lady is Booboo – other than the fact that she has a hard time sitting still in church she is a true joy to behold.

Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Sister Thulo Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Sister Williams

Sister Thulo is on the left and sister Williams is on the right. Our first Sunday at the branch I took some pictures of the members so I hopefully would remember some of their names. When they asked us to speak and bear our testimony I warned the branch that while Mary would soon know all of their names, it would take months for me to do that. I really was not kidding – for some reason putting name with faces anywhere has never been something I do well. That was very embarrassing when I was bishop and after 8 years I still struggled with someone’s name.

Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Sis  Cindy Lekebe Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Johannes Xhego

Sister Cindy Lekebe and brother Johannes…sister Lekebe is in the RS presidency and brother Johannes is the SS president. I think brother Johannes has a suit for each week of the year – I am not sure I have ever seen him in the same suit twice.

Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Andres Louw Feb 2014 - Ikageng Elders Bird and Rogers

Brother Andres Louw is a fairly new convert and is a great addition to the branch. He saved us by being our audio/video specialist for the recent conference sessions we showed at the branch on Saturday and Sunday. The missionaries when who were serving in Potchefstroom when we got here were elder Bird and elder Rogers…elder Bird was the DL and was from Rexburg. When I mentioned we had served in the Fort Lauderdale mission he asked if we knew an elder Pearce. Of course we did and I could tell him we were at the airport when elder Pearce got home. Also that we had just seen him the Sunday before at our farewell! Small world. Elder Rogers is from Arizona and is going to freeze soon. Since this was taken elder Bird has made zone leader and elder Rogers now serves with elder Kelem from Kenya.

Feb 2014 - Birds - Magpie

Feb 2014 - A really Small Lizard Close up Feb 2014 - A really small lizard…

When we were in South Africa before we had monkeys, cows and lots of larger birds around our flats. here we have smaller birds and really small lizards. The lizard in the close up is one of those dots on the 16″ tiles. I think it has a hard time competing with the ants for food.

Feb 2014 -  Enter Bank one at a time

 

Banks here are really well protected. The entrance door is actually a glass enclosure where one person goes in, closes the outside door and then the inside door opens. I made the mistake of trying to join another patron in the enclosure – I was firmly told that was a no-no.

Catching Up #1 – We arrive in South Africa

Feb 2014 - We made the bed before we left Feb 2014 - Waiting in Salt Lake airport

Before we left for the airport one of the last things we did was make our bed – a picture to remind us there is a home sweet home between missions. Our iPads were kept busy during our trip to Joburg.

Feb 2014 - Sister Bishop fills us in Feb 2014 - The bishops and the elders

At the mission office on the 28th sister Bishop – the mission secretary among other things – gave us an orientation about the mission. Elder Bishop is in charge of the cars and E/S Bishop handle all the mission apartments. After our orientation elder Bishop took me out for a test drive to see how I would do driving  on the left side of the road. Since I had done this for 18 months the last time we were in South Africa it did not take long to at least feel like I would not have too many ‘oops’ moments until I was comfortable driving here. Being in the office and seeing missionaries coming and going made us remember our Fort Lauderdale mission. Since Potchefstroom is about 90 minutes away and there is only a small district of 6 elders serving within 50K of us, we will not get to know the missionaries like we did on our last mission.

We drove on the N12 – a 2 to 4 lane highway where high speed cars and low speed trucks share the road. In the areas where there are not four lanes and it is not divided there are passing areas where the slow vehicles move over – hopefully – so others may pass. We are told that there are many deadly accidents there – also there are speed traps where you go over a hill and on one side it 120K per hour and 80K per hour on the other side.  But we made it without any problems and picked up our keys to our new home away from home.

Feb 2014 - #7 Home sweet home Feb 2014 -  #7 Neighbors planting

We live in a very nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse that has a very large garage and is in a fully walled set of 12 homes. We are told that it is very safe here but even so every door and window has steel protection just in case. Our neighbors have beautiful plants by their entry way. All the floors are tile and the Bishops did a wonderful job furnishing it for us. Sister Bishop had asked what colors we liked and so we have wonderful grays, blues, purples and pinks through out the house. I will take some pictures of everything some day and post them here.

Feb 2014 - #7 Backyard Feb 2014 - #7 And it rained cats and dogs

We have a nice patio and a cute backyard. The yard has not been taken care of for months so the grass was about 10-12 inches deep and everything else was overgrown. Soon after we arrived it started raining – not just raining but pouring. In fact 12 of the first 14 days were here it rained. According to all those we talked to this was highly unusual for this area. At the time I hoped this did not mean we brought the bad weather with us. Of course here it is just starting to be Autumn where at home it is just starting to be spring. It will be about 18 months between our springs but we are use to that!

Feb 2014 - First Shopping trip Feb 2014 - The exploding light cover

 

One of the first things we did after unloading our bags was to go shopping. There is a very nice mall not 5 minutes away from our house and lots of grocery stores all over the place. The first night we were here was interesting because there was a loud noise that woke us up and then another loud crash that followed. It turned out to be two un-related events. We think the first was a neighbor’s cat that managed to climb in through one of the small ventilation windows that we left open. I tried to catch it but it managed to escape back through another window. The crash was the result of one of the glass light covers somehow working loose and crashing to the tile floor. It shattered in a million pieces and after 2 months I still find a small piece now and then. So that was our first day and part in the South Africa Johannesburg mission. We know this is where the Lord wants us to be for 18 months – now we just have to figure out what He wants us to do.

President Anderson’s Letter 27 April 2014

After giving details about going to the dedication of the temple and instruction that they had received during the week from Elder Holland and other general authorities he shared these missionary experiences…

“No matter how busy we may be, obedience will always produce the miracles:

“We weren’t going to transfers, but we still knew miracles could happen. We made sure, even with other things going on, that we were going to get 8 blessings by Wednesday. We went to the temple, then harvested, and then we had a baptism! This family was unsure if they should be baptized, but as we took them to the open house the Friday before, they had an enormous confirmation that they needed to be baptized. And it happened on transfer day! It went amazingly and it was for our obedience and making sure we still had 8 blessings that it happened. And the best part to top it off, the wife turned to me as we went to say good bye and said, ‘You’re coming back in a year for our sealing, right?’”

Being obedient with our pure testimony of The Book of Mormon will always pierce their hearts:

“We went and taught [our investigator] and then we were walking out of the lesson and we heard a neighbor yell to us and asked us if we had any of our church literature that she could have. Of course we went over there and gave her a Book Of Mormon and taught her a short lesson about it. She was really excited to learn and to read about it. The next day we went by and she said that it wasn’t for her and gave us the book back. She was scared because it was different from the Bible. We testified to her for a few minutes and then she asked ‘can I actually have that book back?’ It was amazing and the next day she had read 10 chapters already and was talking about how she couldn’t wait to get baptized! She has continued to read and is excepting everything we teach her. When she gets tired of reading she gets on Mormon.organd talks with missionaries online! She is so elect. She came to stake conference yesterday and loved it and says that she has finally found the faith in which she belongs! She will be getting baptized this Sunday!!”

Even our investigators will recognize our obedience and trust us because of it:

“We had just finished harvesting for the day, and were riding back to be picked up at our apartment by our members. We noticed a man sitting down, smoking a cigarette behind his car. We stopped and offered to leave a blessing with him. He seemed very depressed and down, but he agreed. When we asked what he would like us to include in the prayer, the only thing he wanted was for God to help him get rid of cigarettes in his life. It was my turn to say the prayer, but before I started, he said, ‘Thanks for being obedient.’ I was confused at what he meant by that, but I said the prayer, we recognized the spirit, and invited him to be baptized. He agreed to a date on the 11th (mother’s day). Before we left, I asked him why he had said that before. He told me that we had been obedient to the spirit by coming to pray with him. He said that he believed that many times, the things we think we do by ourselves are actually prompted by the spirit, and we would not have stopped to pray with him if we hadn’t been obedient and willing to listen.”

 

The Temple is Already Blessing Lives

President Anderson’s letter for the week continues to share experiences of how the temple open house is continuing to bless lives by helping investigators feel the spirit and want to be baptized..

As we shared with a family the pain of the death of a young son, I thought about how just a month ago this couple went to the temple and were sealed as an Eternal family. I reminded them of the promises that were given there and that they could have their son sealed to them in a year.

President Anderson…

“Thank you so much for initiating harvesting in our mission! It has changed my life and taught me that I can call down the blessings of heaven on others. In my setting apart my stake president blessed me that ‘you will become a great prayer; many will [come to the Gospel] and come back to the gospel because of your prayers’. If that isn’t a reference to harvesting I don’t know what is!”

This is someone who, with faith, has created circumstances with the wonderful tools and resources we have been trained on, and have access to. The Temple currently has been an amazing tool to increase desires and solidify conversion, and so many of you have “created circumstances” with it to progress those you teach:

“This past week we had the opportunity to go through the temple with 2 of our progressing investigators. First, we took one last Saturday, His reaction to the temple was unforgettable he said ‘it’s like a castle’ and “I want to come back as soon as possible”. After, we went to the welcome tent and invited Him to be baptized the following day. The temple completely solidified His baptism and He was baptized and confirmed the following day. His mom came to his baptism and I remember Him telling us ‘we need to get her to go see the temple’. The following Tuesday, we had the opportunity to take her through as well. When we asked her ‘what room was your favorite room?’ She said ‘the celestial one, I want to go back there someday!!’ as we all then felt the spirit of her response, we invited her to be baptized the following Sunday. SHE WAS BAPTIZED in between conference sessions! The temple has been such a blessing and the most amazing tool to have a 100% baptismal rate for all we take. Everyone we take to the temple, we will baptize!”

Help others “act upon their circumstances” and answer their own questions of truth:

“We had the opportunity to go to the temple this past week with one of our investigators. He had read a whole lot of Anti-LDS literature throughout his life and has had some serious trouble accepting truth now because of it.  We had him pray about the Book of Mormon earlier in the week and the next day he, indirectly, said it was true.  This wasn’t enough, so we had him pray about a question we wrote: ‘Should I be baptized this Sunday?’ and write out his feelings on the paper when he prayed.  The next day we stopped by and we asked how his prayer went.  He said it went ‘Okay’ and we asked him to bring the paper where he wrote his feelings.  He had only written one word to answer the question; ‘Yes’.  It was a miracle.  A member drove us up to the temple shortly after that day …  We were able to have a tour of just our group and it was amazing.  The spirit was so strong.  The spiritual impressions he received directly from God and from visiting his holy house sealed his conversion.  He was baptized yesterday President.”

Help others “act upon their circumstances” and experience the power of the Gospel:

“He came to church 3 weeks ago …  After church we tried committing him to a baptismal date for the following Sunday but he still felt as though he wasn’t ready. So that week we continued working with him… we were able to help him leave behind smoking, drinking, drugs, etc… He was amazing. He was such a repentant guy! The next Sunday … he came to church again. He loved it. We tried committing him to another baptismal date for the following Sunday but guess what…. ‘I’m not ready!’ is what he told us. Sad but even more motivated to help him at this point we pondered and thought on what was next. What could we do as the Lord’s representatives to help him get baptized this weekend? We decided… Well he’s living the commandments, he’s repented, he’s coming to church, what more does he need? He needs to have a spiritual experience at the Temple of God. This was on Wednesday  … we traveled with him over to the temple open house. Oh how beautiful it was. The spirit that connected … connected him with his Heavenly Father! … One stop on the tour of the temple was at the recommend desk. There the tour guide explained that after the dedication each person that enters will need a recommend. Well long story short we went through the entire temple feeling of the Spirit of God. That special connection that each of us has. Afterwards we encountered something that I will NEVER EVER forget. As we were looking back at the temple, this time from the outside in, we asked him a question, ‘how did you feel inside God’s house?’ his response was simply ‘I felt good. I need to prepare to get my little paper thingy (recommend) so I can come back!’  It was at that moment we told him that the first step of preparation that he was talking about was his baptism this Sunday … he looked at us with a smile on his face and he said ‘I know, I’m ready!’ He was baptized yesterday and what an experience it was! … Now he is currently working on getting his family there to the temple this week.”

The Temple Effect – Pres Anderson’s Letter

We still do not have internet at home but this letter was so inspiring that I had to post it here for those who do not get a chance to read the President’s letters. The effect of the open house and temple on missionary work in the area is going to be great. It will also affect the members and less active members as well…

Dear Missionaries,

 

Missionaries, what a wonderful weekend to listen to the words of our “Prophets” and to feast on the instructions to get closer to our Savior. To reflect on His great sacrifice and to celebrate His resurrection; to know that He lives, and that we represent Him is truly an honor and a privilege. Now we have the obligation to live and apply what was taught. Elder Hales has taught us:

“The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them. We accept the Savior’s invitation when we ponder and pray to understand what we have been taught and then go forward and do His will.” (Elder Robert D. Hales, General Conference October 2013)

President Kimball couldn’t wait to start applying the principles of General Conference:

“I have made up my mind that when I go home from this [general] conference … there are many, many areas in my life that I can perfect. I have made a mental list of them, and I expect to go to work as soon as we get through.” (President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference ,October 1975)

President Monson’s reiterated the importance of studying the talks:

“I encourage you to read the talks … and to ponder the messages contained therein. I have found in my own life that I gain even more from these inspired sermons when I study them in greater depth.” (President Thomas S. Monson, General Conference, October 2012)

We had a revelatory meeting with the leaders of the mission last Friday and I am excited for them to share the amazing things we counseled on, in particular, bringing our investigators to Church and to the Temple Open House.

We saw so many miracles this week with the Mission and the Temple and we are anxious to watch for continued miracles in your areas. Every missionary needs to get someone to the Temple. If you have been, then go again with a different investigator. If you can’t get a reservation, come anyway; you won’t need a reservation because the flow is working so efficiently. This will require that you plan well so that your areas don’t suffer. It will also require that we coordinate extremely well with investigators and members to get to the Temple. Some of the comments of the missionaries have been amazing:

“I knew the temple would be such a miracle for missionary work but just having the opportunity to serve at the temple open house, especially in the reception tent after everyone has gone through the tour, I never could’ve imagined everything that I’ve experienced or heard. People literally come up to us and ask ‘how can i become a member?’ Every single person I talked to felt the spirit in the temple and they cannot deny that. I approached these two ladies and asked how they liked the temple. One was a less active member and the other was a non-member. The non-member told me it was a miracle in itself that she was even here. She said she would never come and that every time the Elders came to her house to see her Sister, she would run them off and slam the door in their face; or if they were there she would never sit in the same room as them. Then she looked at me and said ‘After today, that will never happen again’. When she said that, the spirit was so strong and she went on about how she was going to always let them in and be a part of their lessons and then she added ‘I’m not a member now, but that will change.’ And I knew those words were true. The Temple is speaking for itself and I know that we will reach our goal … The Temple is the key!”  

The Temple is solidifying our investigators baptisms:

“… we had the unique opportunity to take her to the temple on Saturday.  It was so amazing to see the affect on her.  Once she had gone through, nothing (and I mean nothing) could have stopped her from being baptized the following day. She was even handed anti-material as we were leaving the temple, and when we told her that it was other people, speaking badly about the church, she folded it up (in a bit of an offended manner) and handed it to us saying she didn’t want it.”

People are pleading for more information:

“It was amazing to see people’s hearts so touched by the spirit. I am sure many of them did not plan on feeling that way, or expected to love it so much. The Lord truly softened so many hearts through the temple. Two women came up to me and began asking me questions, all sorts of questions. I answered everything the best I could. They were loving every minute of it. Then they asked about the Book of Mormon. So I told them about that; then one of the women revealed to me that she had three friends who were Mormons. I told her ‘Well if you would like to see the book you should ask your friends to show you.’ She said okay, but then she said ‘can’t you give me one?’ I told them I really can’t give them materials unless they ask for it. In unison they said ‘Can we have one?’ They were so excited.”

The Spirit of the Temple is piercing their hearts:

“We had so many people come up to us at the end of the tour and ask us, ‘What do we need to do to become members of your church?’ and ‘Can I have a Mormon Bible?’ The power of the temple is REAL. Everyone is feeling it and it’s so cool to see them at the end of the tour converted through the Spirit of the Temple. There was this man  who was one of these miracles. His really good friend woke him up Saturday morning, ‘Get up, We’re going to see the Mormon Temple.’ He hadn’t heard anything about Mormons or the temple at all before his friend invited him. He hadn’t even seen the temple before this time and at first he didn’t want to go but then decided to in the end. For the past couple of years he told me that he felt very lost, like he didn’t have a purpose in life. He’d been praying to God every single day to help him know where he needed to go, but he didn’t feel like God was leading him anywhere. As he went into the temple, he said that he felt like God was calling him to come to Him through this church. He told me, ‘I want to be baptized. What do I have to do?’ It was such an incredible testimony to me that the Temple is God’s House on earth and that he will call on His elect to receive His blessings.”

I have had the opportunity and privilege to go through with ministers from other religions and the positive feedback has been amazing. In fact, a Rabbi went through a few days ago and sent this message: “Thank you so much for hosting us earlier this week at the Temple. We are interested in learning more about the Mormon teachings.” I will be visiting with them this week.

Those that are going through the Temple are feeling the Spirit of Elijah, perhaps the influence of their own ancestors:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”(Malachi 4:5-6)

They are being pulled towards the ordinance of baptism as they view the magnificent baptistery and feel the Lords command:

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”(John 3:5)

They are feeling the power of binding families together for eternity as they enter the Celestial room and the sealing room:

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

The Spirit is at the Temple, what an amazing opportunity to help our investigators to feel it’s tremendous power and influence. The Temple is a beacon to the world, and a beacon to South Florida. Have the faith to bring your investigators to the Temple Open House; organize with your members, and I know you will share in these miracles!!!