So some extremely exciting news first! Our ward is splitting into two and becoming Tuul and Han-Uul wards. My first area Selbe also split into two wards (Selbe and Bayngol) this week. We’re not quite sure what that’s going to mean in terms of missionary work, but I’m ridiculously excited—this means we’re a lot closer to our goal of splitting the stake, which is closer to our goal of 4 stakes by 2020 (and hopefully a temple sometime after that?) Anyway, I got the news over the phone and I literally started spinning around and skipping down the street. So much for inconspicuous English teacher.
On Sunday they did the actual split and it was amazing. There were 206 people in that meeting and we sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” and I felt like the sound was filling up the whole room.
As far as people go, I feel like we’re finally getting a good teaching pool together in Han-Uul. I’ve had a hard time connecting with people here in the same way I connected with them in Onor but this week was really special for me. We have two Melchizedek priesthood age men we just started teaching and they are both pretty awesomely interested and have already expressed their desire to become members if they continue to know it’s right. One’s from a part-member family and the other’s family members are all investigators, but both families have little babies. It’s so amazing to teach families. Everything just clicks for them—and me—so much more. This gospel really is about how to be happy with your family for eternity, so it makes sense to work at it together.
The Elders had a baptism on Friday that really touched me too. The father had been a member since before he was married, and he got to baptize his wife along with their little son, turning a part member family into an all-member family [: The thing that I couldn’t get over was the dad’s face…it was a mixture of awe and shock that his dream was finally happening and a humble recognition that this potential eternal family was his reward after a long time of patient struggling. In thinking about what he might be feeling, I felt a wave of gratitude that my family is eternal. I’ve seen that face before twice—on my dad as he prepared to baptize my mother and later as we were sealed together as a family.
These ordinances are not just nice ceremonies. They’re not just a feel-good opportunity to celebrate people’s good decisions. They are real, actual covenants. Through the Priesthood power, sealing ordinances literally bind families together forever. Nothing else is more powerful than that—the God given authority to affect things not only on earth but in heaven. I am so grateful for this restored gospel and the opportunity we have to make sacred covenants with our Father in Heaven and one day be back with Him and the people we love most forever. I can’t explain what I feel in the temple or watching a baptism. It’s so much richer and deeper than any earthly thing. Looking at those people dressed in white, it’s like you can feel eternity…I testify that these things are of divine origin gifts from our Heavenly Father. I hope we never take the priesthood power on the earth and in our families for granted. I know that because Christ’s church us on the earth once again, families can truly be together forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Sister Shanti de Ruyter
P.S. I ran out of time to type my study notes but I’ll try next week. I love you!