On Saturday, May 9, Erin and I finally got to go through the St. Louis, Missouri temple! I had been so excited for this day for so long, I even had a countdown for it on my phone 🙂
After our temple session, we went to a Thai restaurant for dinner and Erin and I convinced our parents to stop at Krispy Kreme for donuts on the way home – yum!
As I was preparing to go through the temple, I wanted to make sure that I was going through because I was ready and not just because it was an item on my pre-mission to-do list to check off. I took my first temple prep class over a year ago in my home ward in Georgia. I am so grateful my bishop in Warner Robins felt inspired to have all the preparing missionaries take temple prep! Shout out to you, Bishop Carlson. My teachers were the wonderful Davis couple…they were the best temple prep teachers I could have even hoped for. They understood my concerns and my anxiety of going through the temple. I was nervous at the time of going through because at this point I didn’t fully understand the temple (still don’t) and quite honestly I was kind of afraid of making more covenants with my Heavenly Father when it seemed like I was still trying to master my baptismal covenant (still am). They answered my questions, my emails, and were remarkably patient and kind when I had difficulties. They encouraged me to read the Pearl of Great Price in my preparations for the temple…I took them up on their advice and I am so glad I did! I read the Pearl of Great Price alongside David A. Ridges’ Pearl of Great Price Made Easier and wow what a game-changer. I learned a million more things reading those two books together than I would have if I had just read the Pearl of Great Price by itself. I love all the books in the Made Easier series, definitely recommend them to everyone. Great study tools! I also read Your Endowment by Mark Shields. I didn’t understand that book as well before the temple, but now that I’ve been through the temple a lot of the points he discusses make a lot more sense. But I’m so glad I read it before my temple experience because I recognized many things that happen in the temple from my reading! After I read those books, I still had several months left until I took out my own endowment…and there were still some things about the temple that I was unsure of. The best thing I could think of to do was to pray that I would know what I needed to study and understand so that I could be ready for the temple. Over the next few months I felt impressed to read and study talks and scriptures whose topics I won’t discuss here but oh my goodness imagine my happiness and surprise (well, I shouldn’t have been surprised, my prayers had obviously been answered) when I went through the temple and topics that I had felt impressed to study were a major part of the temple experience. A huge testament to me of answered prayers and personal revelation. So grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is preparing me for what I need to be prepared for 🙂
I believe that Heavenly Father’s hand was so evident in my preparations for the temple because of the unique situation of the mission in which I am called…my very first Sunday in the field, just four days after I enter the MTC, Trujillo, Perú is getting its very own temple! I am so excited for the people of Trujillo! What a blessing to them and a blessing to me that I get to serve with a temple within my mission’s boundaries 🙂 I anticipate that much of the work I will be doing on my mission will be getting individuals and families to the temple, and I know that to do that I need to have a strong testimony of the temple myself.