Showing posts with label Temple Blessings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Temple Blessings. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

In 2013 I was reacquainted with my cousin Sindy. We are only a year apart in age and had been close as children, but because of extended family dynamics we didn’t see one another for several years. We both married, had children, lived in San Jose, California and led our own lives… even though we lived only miles apart.

I contacted Sindy when I found out she had stage 4 brain cancer. I was devastated for her, her husband and her 4 children. What do you say to someone you haven’t spoken to in 40 plus years…especially when you know they are going to die?

Well it was much easier than I thought. We just started where we left off years earlier. I could tell Sindy’s perspective on life was very different now. She wasn’t raised in a religious family and really had no need of church and God. But now she was hungering and thirsting for answers. The difficult part was that many of her friends from various religions were trying to “save her soul”. They wanted her to go to their church or have her repeat certain phrases so she could be assured that she would go to heaven. I knew I had to be careful and let the Spirit guide me in sharing the gospel with her.

I sent her a Book of Mormon with my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ written inside. I also wrote her a letter assuring her that I knew her soul was just fine and that Heavenly Father was very aware of her and loved her unconditionally. That opened doors to further conversation about the church. I knew the Lord was leading me along this path. I was able to feel His extreme love for her.

One day as she struggled with the effects of chemo, losing her abilities, and hopelessness I asked if she would like a blessing of comfort. I explained what that entailed and she agreed. I asked a former bishop, Steve, in my San Jose ward to visit her and give her a priesthood blessing. Steve is a great man with a solid testimony and is always looking for a good missionary experience. I went to the temple the day before I knew she would be getting the priesthood blessing and our family fasted on Sunday for both Sindy and Steve.

Sindy and Steve formed an instant friendship. It’s as if these two had been friends before. Steve and his companion stayed several hours at Sindy’s home getting to know her, talking about the gospel, and answering Sindy’s many questions. As far as Sindy was concerned Steve “walked on water”. She was so comforted by his presence and his blessing. He explained many truths to her that day, all of which rang true to her.

I thought this would only be a one- time meeting, but Steve stayed in contact with Sindy and reached out to her family (who weren’t interested in the gospel at all). He became a friend to them and was there at Sindy’s side the night before she passed away.

I knew I wanted to do Sindy’s temple work, but couldn’t quite find the words to say to her. Finally Steve gave me the courage to ask. She was delighted, humbled, and felt very unworthy of this blessing. She knew she hadn’t gone to church in her life and felt undeserving. As both Steve and I taught her about “the plan of salvation”, she really began to understand the Savior’s love for her and for all His children. We sent her a paper to sign giving us permission to do her work in the temple. At this point she was so weak she could barely sign her name. But it was good enough. She would remind me quite often that I had agreed to do her temple work. She didn’t want me to forget. It was obvious that it was foremost on her mind.

Sindy passed away February 1, 2015. A year and 3 days later we were at the Mt. Timpanogos temple. My daughter, Kellie, acting as proxy was baptized in behalf of Sindy. What a spiritual feast that was! We went on to do the rest of her ordinance work by proxy and I know that Sindy was there with us.

I learned so many things during this journey. I surprised myself with my reluctance to share the gospel that I love dearly. I’m a convert after all! Where would I be without my friend who had the courage to open her mouth and love me enough to share what she held most sacred and dear? I had forgotten about that special missionary spirit – that special feeling the Lord blesses us with when we share the gospel with others.  I had forgotten that we are the Lord’s hands and voices. If we don’t act and speak, who will? I had forgotten that there are so many who are searching for truth. Would we deny ourselves and others of this great gift?

One of my favorite scriptures is in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.”

Sindy and I are forever reunited. We have an eternal relationship that will never end. She is in the spirit world teaching the gospel (very enthusiastically, I’m sure) to our family. I am here trying to gain a relationship with her family so they too can have the blessing of the gospel in their lives.

What’s not to love about this gospel!

Renee

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Faith and Courage One Must Create

There are times in our lives where the refiner's fire purifies us to the point that we go beyond ourselves and think and write things that seem above us.  Maybe our true divine nature comes out and the spirit flows through us like running water.

I have had this experience happen to me a few times, where there seems for a time that the veil is lifted a little and where God's Holy Spirit personally teaches a truth.  I would like to share one experience in particular that happened to me.

I want to tell you about my Mother, Mabel Austin Crandall.  At age 18 she was a convert to the LDS church and loved the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with all her heart.   Even though her family could not understand why she left the Methodist religion that they had raised her in, she and my father were married in the Methodist church to make them happy and 1 year later were sealed in the Mesa, Arizona LDS temple for not only time but for all eternity. At that time, she gained a strong testimony of eternal families and of temple work.

She was the type of person that ate very healthy, exercised, worked hard, and was on every committee in the community you could think of.  I think she single-handedly made sure 25 scouts in her ward received their Eagle Scout awards. She worked in the scouting program, PTA, and Boys and Girls Club helping young kids succeed in life.  She was my best friend and great example of everything good. Her grandchildren were her life and she made each one feel so special. She taught me so many important life skills that I use daily!


In 1995 my very healthy mother of age 63 was diagnosed with cancer.  Sometimes Heavenly Father throws us a curve that we are not sure we can handle.  This was one of those challenges for sure!  I watched my beautiful mother gracefully have chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumors.   She would dress up and go to her chemo appointments like she wasn’t even sick and I watched while she was getting her chemo treatment.  However, she acted different than all the other patients sitting in their chairs.  She got up from her chair, while the medicine was dripping into her, and knelt down by each sick patient and took their hands in hers and said…”You are going to beat this.”  She was so brave and wanted everyone to have hope and faith that they were going to get better.

She fought a hard fight pretending like nothing was wrong.  But I could tell that she was getting worn down and very tired.  She still kept going so that we wouldn’t worry about her.  She would say “I’m going to beat this”.   As time went on, the Lord had other plans for her.  As I started dealing with the fact that I was going to lose my Mother and best friend here on earth, my heart fully turned to my Father in Heaven and I found myself writing a poem for my Father and one of my daughters who I could see were sinking into grief and despair.  The words just flowed like water and in a poet’s world, it’s probably not great…but for me, I was just writing what was in my heart that the spirit dictated to me.

Faith and Courage One Must Create
by Annette 1998

Let down thy shoulders, and calm thy troubled heart
The Lord is with thee from the very start

Tho earth’s tribulation, none shall escape;
Faith and courage, one must create.

Born with affirmatives, weakness and wo
Learning to deal with daily, as we go.

And as if sometime, somewhere along the way,
We stumble and fall, bearing a heavy load on our tray;

The strength is within us to carry on and be,
The strong, servant in heaven, who pleaded, PICK ME!!!

I will go down and serve those below,
Whose burden is heavy and hope is no more.

But how can I serve when I myself suffer;
When doubt and despair creep in at my door.

Surely life’s curves have been thrown my way;
I thank thee dear Lord for helping me through this day.

I will fight the thoughts of discouragement and fear
Because I know surely that my Savior is near.

He’s been through this too; all of my feelings of not
And I thank him for these experiences that I have not sought.

Remember, he suffered and died that we may ever be,
pure and clean, with him throughout eternity.

Perfecting my spirit is not too late.
Faith and Courage one must create!


In June 1998 as she was fighting for her life, Provo City Mayor showed up and presented her with “Citizen of the Year” for Provo City Chamber of Commerce.  Everyone loved and appreciated Mom in the community for all her hard work.

She put up a good fight and as the family gathered around her in her final moments, She managed to say with much deliberation…”I cannot face my Mother on the other side not having her temple work done.”  She would not let her spirit go until my girls got in the car and went to the temple to do the baptism.  We were all around her bed when the girls left to go to the temple.  That satisfied her to go ahead and walk through the veil.  I went to the temple that very evening to finish up her mother's work.  In fact, my whole family found ourselves in the temple that night thanking Father in Heaven for her life and just wanting to carry on her legacy by serving others.

I know my Father in Heaven knows me and helped me through this difficult time.  I also have had a very strong impression that my mother was taken early to help convert her sweet Christian family who have all passed away now.  Yes, we are doing their temple work and Mom is bearing her strong testimony to them that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and I know they are accepting the work because of my dear Mother!!!

If you want to know how you can be linked with your loved ones throughout all eternity, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org and the missionaries will teach you about our sacred temples and the work for the dead we do there.

Like my mother, I am so grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m a Mormon and love my life!!!

Annette



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blessings from Following the Prophet's Counsel

I know our prophet is a seer. In the Book of Mormon, the missionary Ammon explains this beautifully to King Limhi  "A seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed ... and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them." (Mosiah 8:17)  We cannot foresee things to come but our prophets can.

The prophet’s admonition for mothers to stay home where circumstances would allow was a counsel my husband, Chuck, and I had decided to follow long before we were ever married. But now that we would soon be having a baby it didn’t seem like such a good idea. We had just purchased a new home which I wanted to pay off as quickly as possible, so staying home just wouldn't work. Conflicted in how to proceed, we prayed for guidance. The answer came clear to both of us, “Follow the prophet's counsel. Stay home.” I questioned, how would we make ends meet? How would it all work out? Not knowing the answers to these questions was unsettling, but we didn't hesitate to follow the counsel we had received.

I quit my job which cut our income in half. My husband got a second job to make ends meet. I remember living off what little food storage we had and what seemed like many, many, macaroni and cheese, ramen noodle nights. We welcomed our first baby boy, Bradley, into the world shortly after and things did not get any easier. With only one car, I would drive my husband to and from work with newborn baby in tow. He worked from 6:00 am - 4:30 pm and then from 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm. I wondered how in the world the prophet’s counsel for me to stay home was truly blessing my life at this time, when all it was doing was making it miserable for both of us. I felt guilty staying at home as I watched my husband work two jobs. I was spending all this time at home enjoying my baby while my husband sacrificed time, energy and sleep. This could all easily be resolved if I went back to work; after all, our baby was so little, he would never remember if I was home with him or not. I prayed again and the answer was the same.  “Listen to the prophet, stay home”.

We obeyed, but still things did not improve. In time, we ended up having to sell the home we thought we would grow old in. We moved into an extremely humble apartment not too far from my husband’s work. Defeated and discouraged, we clung on to the promise that we would be blessed for following the counsel of our prophet.

Everything would come to light just a few weeks after moving into that apartment. My baby was now 22 months old and during a doctor’s visit, for what we thought was a knee sprain, we were told that our son had terminal stage 4 neuroblastoma. In an instant our world was turned upside down. For the next 15 months our dear son would endure aggressive treatments and surgeries that made him extremely ill and frail. Now I knew why I needed to stay home. Because of the changes we had made, I was able to stay at the hospital with our son and care for him as long as it was necessary. As time continued, no amount of praying, fasting, or pleading would save our son. Three weeks before his 3rd birthday, while I held him in my arms and expressed our deepest love for him, he returned back to our Father in Heaven. Our hearts shattered into a thousand pieces that day.

During one of many difficult nights that would follow after our son's passing, I was impressed to read from the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi Chapter 17.


As I read through the account of Jesus Christ’s visit to the Nephites, I was impressed by how much he loved them, and blessed them and their little children. I felt that same love from our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ at that very moment. It was such a personal witness to me that our Savior knew of our circumstance, loved us and loved our son deeply. The Spirit bore witness that our son was happy, free from sorrow, sickness and pain, and that he was not alone but surrounded by angels just like the Nephite children were so many centuries ago.  I was brought to remember that our temple marriage made us a forever family and we would see him again. I was brought to remember the blessings that came from listening to the prophet’s counsel for me to stay home. I had truly been given a gift I could never replace: time with our precious son! I was able to enjoy every minute of every day of what would be our son’s very short 3 years here on earth. I could see all of the pieces come together at that very moment and I was truly grateful for listening to the prophet’s counsel.

Jacqueline

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Converted Women & Temple Blessings



As I considered the wonderful women of the Church, particularly in my family and our ward family, I am deeply grateful for their faith and courage as a beacon of love, life, and light.  Although we often note that the highest blessings of the temple are made available through the power of the priesthood, some may forget to recognize the essential role of these beautiful women in bringing forth these blessings.

At the August 2013 Campus Education Week at BYU, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve taught “The power of a converted woman’s voice is immeasurable…  A woman’s sphere of influence is a unique sphere, one that cannot be duplicated by men… In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan… a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman.  In the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by a husband and wife… The endowment is literally a gift of power. All who enter the house of the Lord officiate in the ordinances of the priesthood. This applies to men and women alike…” (BYU Campus Education Week, Aug. 2013).

In speaking to the women of the Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley said “you are an absolutely essential part of the plan.  Without you the plan could not function.  Without you the entire program would be frustrated… the crowning act [of creation was] the creation of woman.  Each of you is a daughter of God, endowed with a divine birthright.” (CR, Oct. 1996)

Although priesthood authority may be conferred upon the men, the full measure of priesthood power and temple blessings does not exist without the faithful women of the Church.  Your influence in the home, in the Church, and in your community is far reaching and extends throughout the eternities.  May you seek refuge in the House of the Lord, draw often from the power that is found therein, and remember your divinely appointed role that allows the blessings of the temple to be extended to all men, women, and children on both sides of the veil.  To the women, young women, and girls in my family, our ward family, and the Church, may you remember that you are magnificent and of infinite worth!  To the men, young men, and boys in my family, our ward family, and the Church, may we remember to always honor and respect these beautiful daughters of our Eternal Father.

By: Brother P.N. Felipe Chou