Sunday, January 17, 2021

a Time to Prepare


We were just doing a little scripture study this evening and we started talking about Joseph Smith's story, how he received the amazing vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ, but then had to wait three whole years to receive another heavenly messenger.

Three years is a long time to a 14 year old.  And three years is a long time when you don't know just how long you will wait for further instructions.  Three years is also a long time to wait while being harassed and persecuted by your neighbors and community. (And it would actually be seven years before he received the plates.)

In that "First Vision", Joseph Smith was given a glimpse of the future that would be full of revealed truth that would bless all of the earth, but then he was given years to wait, to learn, to be tested, and to prepare for that future to come to pass.

In our family, we're waiting for blessings to come to pass too.

Last year, we were told in General Conference that we would be getting a temple in Pittsburgh.  And right now, we're waiting.  Waiting for further instruction.  Waiting to know just where the temple will be built. And while we wait, we know that this time is a gift.  It is our time to prepare for the glorious blessings and responsibilities that await.

We decided to ask each member of our family to write down one thing they will do to prepare for the temple. (And then we acted out what we wrote for the rest of the family to guess.)

Here's what we wrote down:

We will prepare for the Pittsburgh Temple by:

Going to church nicely (that was 4 year old Val's, as you can see he drew his as a picture, which is a great comment, because he has been cranky about going to church since the shut-down!)

Reading Scriptures Daily  & Studying the Gospel

Picking up trash by the side of the road.  This was a funny one because our family adopted the road leading up to our house and have been picking up litter there for two years now (which was one of Scarlett's YW Good Works Projects).  If the temple ends up being near our house, it will certainly be like we've been picking up trash from the temple site unknowingly all that time.

Making our Guest Room look nice  & Preparing it for Visitors.  Ever since the announcement, we've been excited to think of a future where we get to put our friends up for the night so they can attend the temple.  After all of these years of having to drive far enough that we needed to either get a hotel or make a long, long day of it.  This bring us a lot of joy.

As I sat in church today, my mind was all over the future temple.

Here are some things I thought about:

1.  I need to carve out time each week to index and do Family History so that WHEN temples open again, or when our temple is ready, I will already have that pattern in my schedule and it can become my temple time.

2. I thought about service I can provide watching other people's children while they attend.

3. I thought about what it might be like to drive by the temple EVERY DAY, which made me reflect on the "drives to church" that I've had through my life.  

As a kid, we drove to church through kind of depressed town and the feeling of peace we had driving home after taking the sacrament really contrasted with our surroundings.  We passed my preschool, crossed a drawbridge, and a lovely park, always in full view of Lake Erie.

While we live in central Pennsylvania, we drove through beautiful countryside, which also took about 20 minutes each way.  I made my kids memorize the landmarks we passed on the way, because it made it seem like not as long of a drive. 

First we drove through our small downtown and crossed the Susquehanna River.  Then we passed the road with big dots painted on the road to make drivers slow down. (My kids' job was to count them.) We passed the sunflower farm, then the sheep out to pasture, and a big tree that looked like a dinosaur high on the ridge.  Then we drove by the little white church set close to the road, then the gun club, and we were almost there, but always watch out for deer!  

Driving to church then was a 20 minute exit from the world and my worries, and I really came to love it.  By the time I got to church, I was calmed by those natural surroundings.

Thinking about the possibility that a temple could be built just minutes away from my house, puts me in awe of a Great God, who can make dreams happen, where I never even imagined such a thing becoming a reality in my life.  Whatever happens, I am completely in awe of Him.  And I hope I can prepare for whatever happens next.

1 comment:

  1. also find some names of ancestors-cousins and families needing temple work and submit these. There are always more relatives needing temple work! I know after doing family history for 60 years now since I was 20 at BYU.