Every week, except when closed, Teresa and I make a short journey down to the Jordan River Temple to participate in service to the patrons who attend. It is one of those things that we have determined to do to show our love for our Father in Heaven.
But truthfully, it does great good to our hearts, so we
are abundantly blessed.
|The Jordan River Temple|
Over the years we have served it has been our privilege to participate with friends and neighbors who also attend. Since our duties vary depending on our assignments each evening, we have met with people we love in a wide variety of situations. Without fail, it has been thrilling and deeply moving to serve with those who believe this work is vital for ancestors who have passed to the next life and family who seek God’s blessings in mortality. The few hours we spend in the Temple on these nights are always valuable to us and are missed when we are sick or otherwise
unable to attend.
This past Temple Night Teresa needed to stay home for some family responsibilities so I made the trip alone. It had been a long day and I wasn't feeling especially well – I even considered calling in sick – but this commitment is important to both of us so the thought was quickly banished. I reasoned that since my duties were secondary (some nights I have to take a more primary role in the events) I could relax a little and let someone else do the hard things. But I think there were other plans (unknown to me) for the evening.
In one portion of my duties I ran into a good friend who informed me that his grand-daughter had been called on a mission and was receiving her endowment that evening. The girl’s mother had decided it was also time to receive her own endowment, so the two were accompanied by siblings and parents to participate in the special evening. Having known the family for many years, this was and exciting announcement and I was thrilled at the prospects.
As I moved to my next assignment, I discovered that my friend and his family were part of that portion of the evening also. And, despite my previous thought of being secondary, I was invited
to be the officiator for the endowment session they were
scheduled to attend.
What a wonderful surprise – being able to have a small part in the progression of a family, whom I love deeply, towards the eternal blessings God has promised to His children. And to top it off, my friends wife, who is preparing to leave this life because of the ravages of cancer, was also in the company. It was so tender to see her daughters gently helping her as she participated in the ceremony – especially understanding that this was probably the last time she would be able to attend the Temple in mortality. My heart was touched and it was difficult to keep my emotions in control as I stood before the congregation performing my duties.
|The Manti Temple -- Teresa received her endowment here|
and we were sealed here in 1977.
As the ceremony started I was surprised to see another sister, also a dear associate to my friend and his wife, sitting in the company. She had come to the Temple to serve and happened to arrive in time to be assigned to our session. As I spoke with her later, she had no idea until she saw and spoke with our friends, the significance of the evening but was overjoyed to be there.
And finally, because my sweetheart was unable to be with us for the evening, she had called another sister worker to be her substitute. Teresa’s regular duties include ‘guiding’ sisters who are brand new to the Temple, helping them know where to go and what to do. Had she been there, she would have 1) guided the mother and daughter receiving their own endowment and 2) helped the ailing mother who served as escort. But, fitting in with the theme of the whole night, the substitute sister just happened to be another dear friend of both the husband and wife whose children and grandchildren were so greatly blessed that night. I can’t imagine the joy she felt at seeing the children receive their blessings and being part of such a tender experience for the mother/grandmother in her last days of life.
|Mesa, Arizona Temple -- I received my endowment here.|
When the night was complete and I had time to reflect on the experience, my thoughts turned to the love God has for His children and the ways He offers the little ‘tender mercies’
(1 Nephi 1:20) that remind us how much He cares for us. Simple experiences are generally the way He lets us know we are alright.
I am so thankful for a God who knows each of His children in personal ways. I am grateful for friends who make life exciting and tender and sad and just plain fun to live. It pleases me to no end that little things happen to remind me just how much God is involved in our lives. And I am especially glad that there is a House of the Lord where we can go to leave the world and receive ordinances and make covenants that will bless our lives eternally.
Indeed, there are Tender Mercies all around – if we will only look and find them.