On Friday, we went to the temple with Eduardo Colon. He has been working on his family history and finally had a name ready (it was his father-in-law). I brought one of our family names through. His name was Lois Sturtevant, born in 1748 in Middleboro, MA. I also brought the names of the father and brother of a recently reactivated family that we have been working with. I now understand why people make such a big deal of bringing your own family names to the temple. It was such a sweet experience. Eduardo was just so excited and felt the Spirit the moment we drove into the parking lot. The entire time inside he kept saying, "I just have to bring Kimberly (his wife) here". She was working and couldn't make it.
President Crane was kind enough to come down to the baptistery and talk to Eduardo for a while. It was only us missionaries and Eduardo and the temple workers and President Crane just began teaching the doctrine of family history and temple work. It was powerful. He explained why the scripture says that the hearts of the fathers turn to the children before the hearts of the children turn towards their fathers. He said this is because those who have passed away and are taught and accept the Gospel are then stuck in prison waiting for us to do their work for them. He then looked at me and said, "Elder if you were in prison and someone came and paid for you to get out, how would you feel about that person and what would you be willing to do for them?" I answered and then he said, "Those spirits for whom we do this work are in prison and cannot progress. They are damned. If their family members on this side of the veil are not members, then they began to pray for them to accept the Gospel. They inspire the missionaries and the members to begin sharing the Gospel with them and helping them prepare to go to the temple. Thus, the hearts of the fathers turn to their children so that their work will be done and as their descendants accept the Gospel, they then turn their hearts towards their fathers as they do their family history and temple work. We become saviors on Mount Zion for these spirits and for the rest of our lives, they pray for us and protect us and bring the Holy Ghost into our lives".
I just couldn't imagine any greater blessings than angels praying for and surrounding us in every moment (D&C 84:88). President Crane also quoted Elder Nelson saying that doing our family history work and going to the temple is "a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in our lives". We just keep on teaching people about family history work, promising them that angels will be present in every lesson, and trusting that the Holy Ghost and Spirit of Elijah will begin to work in their lives. The Gospel is just so wonderful and so true!
Eduardo Colon then bore his testimony on Sunday in Sacrament Meeting about the temple and how much he wants to return. It strengthened my testimony to know that the Gospel is not only true for me and our family, but for every single one of Heavenly Father's children here on the earth. There is no greater cause in which we can ever be engaged than the salvation of souls. Whether it be as parents saving children, children saving parents, missionaries, temple workers, family history enthusiast, or disciples of Jesus Christ, sharing the Gospel and helping others come unto Christ bring joy, peace, happiness, and a thrill that cannot be found anywhere or in anything else in the entire world.
We began teaching a new family this week. La familia Vencez. The dad doesn't want anything to do with the Gospel, but the mom, two daughters, and son are all very interested and want to learn more. Please pray for them. That they will feel the Spirit and have a desire to be baptized. Also, please pray that Hermano Cabanzo will have his heart softened and stop drinking coffee. If he gets on board his whole family will be baptized. They have been investigating for 10 years and have almost been baptized 2 or 3 times. He is in the same situation that Eduardo Colon was in and when Eduardo stopped drinking coffee, it allowed him to receive the grace and the mercy that he needed to finally be baptized.
We had our mission wide fast this Sunday. All members and missionaries in the mission boundaries fasted that the members would have the opportunity, courage, and words to invite a non-member during the month of September to either 1) come to church, 2) receive the missionary lessons in the member's home, or 3) receive service from the missionaries. I know that great miracles will come as a result to this fast.
We will finish teaching all the missionary lessons to the bishopric tomorrow night. It seemed funny to me at first that we would be teaching arguably the most active people in the ward the missionary lessons, but the blessings have been immense. We have found many many new investigators, and the second counselor must have been thrilled as he conducted Sacrament Meeting on Sunday to see his family there for the first time in years. His wife, two daughters, and grandson all came as a result of feeling the Spirit and being invited as we have taught them.
What marvelous blessings we have in this Gospel. I know that this work is true and that it brings more happiness than anything else the world could ever offer.
I love you all and am grateful for your prayers,
P.S. We played kickball and baseball with the youth and their friends yesterday for a Labor Day activity.