Monday, June 8, 2015

last letter

These past few weeks have been full of tender mercies of the Lord. My heart is full. It is incredibly hard to leave those I love here, to leave this marvelous work and these places where I have truly come to know my Redeemer. I had an amazing experience the other day in the Visitors' Center that helped me to gain a stronger witness of the truthfulness of God's plan for His family and helped me look forward to reuniting with all of you :)

Here it is:

Jackie and Kha Dang came into the Visitors’ Center without any knowledge of the church or our beliefs. They were on a vacation trip in Zion’s National Park and were going to travel to Salt Lake City to see a family member.  As they came out of Zion’s they were going to head north toward Salt Lake but then mistakenly went south toward St. George and they came directly to the temple grounds and felt to enter the Visitors’ Center. They were curious to learn about the church and, more specifically, the temple. Jackie and Kha grew up in the Buddhist religion. As I began to gain a better understanding of their religious background, Jackie opened up about an extremely spiritual experience she had about four years ago. This experience brought her to believe very strongly in Christ. She told me, “I was at the lowest point of my life and then Christ saved me. I know He’s there.” Ever since then, she has attended a Christian church and has read from the Bible. Kha seemed to be open to learning more about Christ, but he has never changed his religious beliefs from his Buddhist upbringing.

They had questions about the temple so we began to talk about the church of Jesus Christ being restored on the earth today and thus, the sacred truths of the temple were restored to the earth. To everything I told them, they responded with smiles, nodding their heads in agreement. This continued after each ordinance I taught them about in the temple. From baptisms for our ancestors, to learning more about our purpose in life and making promises with God, to the peace and clarity of mind in the Celestial room. They had no concerns with any of it, only complete agreement. It was great!

As we walked to the picture of the sealing room I explained how the main purpose of the temple was to unite our families. I told them of the sacred opportunity we have in this room to be sealed to our families, to live with them forever. I bore testimony of the hope and peace it gives me in life to know that I will see my loved ones again, even those who may pass before I'm ready. As I spoke these words to Jackie and Kha, Jackie had tears running down her cheeks and Kha wrapped his arm around her. She continued to cry and I gave her a hug. Kha explained to me that their nine year old son Vince, their only son, had passed away unexpectedly 20 days ago. They told me of the grief they have felt since his passing. Kha quietly said, “This has helped us to believe in Heaven.”  As we spoke more about the reality of life after death, I told them about the movie “God’s Plan for His Family.” They both agreed to watch it.

After the movie had finished, both Jackie and Kha were in tears. Jackie told me how she and Vince were the only ones that believe in Heavenly Father in their family. I asked if she felt the passing of her son has brought her closer to God. She then started to weep a lot and told me that she hasn’t picked up her Bible once since Vince passed away. She also said that she hasn’t gone to church at all either. Jackie continued to tell me that she knows she needs to be doing these things, but it makes it so much harder to do it without Vince. I testified to her of the love of God and the solace and answers we find throughout the words of the scriptures. I opened the Book of Mormon and read Alma 40:11-12. As I read these verses, Jackie smiled and looked at Kha. I felt the prompting to ask them if they would like to receive a priesthood blessing. I explained what the priesthood was and the purpose of the blessing. Eager to receive one, they responded with a hopeful “yes.”

They came into a teaching room where Elder Cleverly (the director of the Visitors' Center) and I talked to them a little more about the assurance we have that they will see their son again. She asked us if people that don’t believe in God will be able to see Him again. We explained in more detail the opportunity for them to learn about and accept the gospel in the spirit world and even have their baptism performed for them here on the earth in the temple. As we spoke of this, Jackie once again looked to her husband with a sweet, hopeful smile on her face. Elder Cleverly then gave Jackie a beautiful blessing.

After the blessing, I told Jackie and Kha that I thought it was no coincidence that they came into the Visitors’ Center this evening. Kha began to speak and told us that his son had spoken to him not long ago and told him to take his mother on this trip. He told us that he was sure that his son had led them here to the Visitors’ Center. Such a wonderful miracle of our Fathers tender mercy. Jackie agreed to have the missionary discussions in her home when they returned from their trip. She filled out a referral card and seemed to greatly appreciate the idea of me calling and emailing them throughout this process. We ended our visit at the Christus, where we played the message of Christ. The reverence they portrayed while listening to the words of Christ was a humbling experience to watch. With smiles on their faces, they again thanked us profusely and left with a Book of Mormon and Family Proclamation in hand. God's plan is perfect!

This was an experience that I will remember forever. The spirit comforted their souls and bore witness to me that this is real. We will see each other again after this earth life. Christ will welcome us home. And I know with all my heart that we will recognize him. I wish I could convey the feelings I had during this visit in text but it is near impossible. What a joy it is to share the message that we can be with those we love through all eternity. This mission was the perfect start to the rest of my journey home. It is so sacred to me and something I will treasure forever.

I am SO excited to see all of you again!! 

See you soon :)

Love, Sister Martin

We went up to the second highest mountain peak in St. George today with our senior couple and our recent convert, Alan! Alan drove his truck up there.... It was kinda scary... But we made it!! Beautiful

view from 8300 feet up :)

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