Surprise behind the Temple
Saturday mornings are chaos 99% of the time. This one was no exception. The temple had a full reservation schedule--literally every seat taken--when three buses from Torreon arrived unannounced. Everyone began the "adjustment game" as we tried to find room for everyone in this very small temple. More or less we were successful, but mostly because everyone here is so kind and generous. Several of the "hermanos" offered to help with baptisms and the laundry. It was a huge laundry day with hundreds of overalls and towels to wash. In fact, there was so much activity that we ran out of towels and had to stop baptisms for a short while. When that happens, it is necessary to take clothing to a large washer and dryer that are set up in another building behind the temple. Linda filled the cart and went out the back door at warp speed. She noticed a young couple walking hand in hand along the sidewalk in the gardens behind the temple and also noticed a young woman with a camera filming them. As the scene came into focus, she screeched to a halt so she would not be in the video. It only took about a minute for them to walk to the camera; but just as Linda was about to put the cart in to motion again, the young man dropped to his knee, opened a ring box and proposed to the young woman at his side. Posters were raised, clapping was heard, and a few squeals were heard from the small gallery that had gathered. Once the camera had been aimed in a new direction, Linda slipped quietly by with her load of wet clothes.
A Good Place to Meet Your Spouse
The temple laundry is where we often meet the most dedicated members. The very busy Saturday morning mentioned above brought one of these beautiful "hermanas" from Torreon into the laundry. As we worked hanging, and folding and giving out clothing she told me her story.
Several years ago, she was in the temple serving in sealings. Nearly everyone in her ward finished their assignment and decided to move on to something else--she decided to stay. She was at the altar when a very handsome young man walked into the room. He was also from Torreon, but from another ward. They didn't know each other, but both "admitted" to noticing one another. She surreptitiously asked who he was and where he was from. He also managed to find out who she was before the sealings ended. Friends who were there introduced them and they began to date. She said that the first time she went to church with him, she was inundated with people telling her how wonderful he was and that she'd better hang on tight! She said, "We were just friends for about six months. We then dated seriously for four more. We became engaged and were married 18 months after we met--we did it all by the book--and I took their advice and am hanging onto him with both hands!" She and her husband are now serving as Stake Young Men/Young Women Presidents. Who would have thought that one could meet a spouse doing sealings in the temple.
Apodaca Ward FiresideA few weeks ago we were asked by the bishop of the Apodaca Ward to speak to the youth as the closing fireside to the ward conference. He had heard from someone about the talks we gave at the Anahuac Institute on leadership; but wanted a slightly different theme: "The Importance of Education and Balancing it with Activity in the Church." As the date of the fireside approached, we discovered that it had morphed from a small ward activity into a fireside for all the youth of the stake. That information didn't change our talks, but we thought maybe we did need to buy more M&Ms for the attention activity. It is a good thing we did! According to the leftover M&M Minis, there were about 100 youth and their leaders in attendance last Sunday.
We were very impressed with the youth and their leaders. Just 30 minutes before the fireside was to start, it started to rain cats and dogs. As we entered the building, the bishop greeted us and informed us that the meeting would need to start a few minutes late due to the rain, but that everyone was en route and would be there shortly. We met the stake president, who said that he had just received text messages from the other wards and they would only be about ten minutes late, due to the water on the roads. At 6:05, the stake president turned to the Stake Young Men's President and said, "They are all here. I have sent a text to the Bishop. If he is not here in two minutes call him and tell him we are starting." The bishop showed up one minute later and the meeting began, just as everyone had hoped. We were amazed at the technologically savvy coordination effort that was going on! The youth looked sharp, had scriptures, were full of light, and participated eagerly. It was a very enjoyable evening for us--and as a bonus, we found a new route to the airport via this charming, old-style Mexican town.
As we greeted the youth and their leaders that evening, we were surprised to see three temple workers that we know and love from that stake who are working with the youth. Two of the young women that Linda had met before the meeting stood patiently in line afterward to thank her for the talk. They mentioned that they would be in the temple on Saturday afternoon to do baptisms for the dead, so Linda told them to ask for her when they arrived. That, however, was not necessary because Linda was working in the Baptistry on Saturday afternoon and there was a grand reunion over white overalls.
Saturday afternoon was busy with several stakes besides Apodaca. Our stake, Roma, was out in force preparing for stake conference next week. Something very special happens when the temple is filled with people you know and love. Our bishop did herculean work getting our ward out. Four members of our ward who are fairly recent converts participated in baptisms. The two women brought over 20 family names with them for which they and the other ward members did the work. It was a very touching experience watching them perform those ordinances for their loved ones--and it had a profound impact on them. What a loving, compassionate Father in Heaven to connect us both forward and backward in such a tender way!