by Cindy R. Williams
As a Public Affairs Director over Media in my stake, I was part of the VIP list making and personal delivery of the invitations. All of the dignitaries I gave invitations to were gracious and most were excited. A leader of the Hare Krishna religion stopped by my home for his invite. He was on his way home from their "Holy Cow" celebration and brought us "sweets". He also did a Hare Krishna prayer for us. It was a remarkable time of sharing beliefs and love--quite entertaining as well.
I'm also helping the youth learn to play "How Can I Be" on the ukulele so they can perform for our prophet in the Cultural Celebration. How cool is that?
All of the Catalina Ward members received an invite from our Bishop to "knock and invite" 10 neighbors. I admit I was a bit hesitant to go "door knocking" even though it was my own neighborhood. The week prior, I received an email from my son serving a mission in Dallas. My backbone grew strong as I considered a typical day for him is to tract at least 12 hours a day, unless they have a service opportunity. He is mocked, sworn at, called a member of "Satan's Church," yelled and screamed at, spit in the face, flipped off, hit by garbage from passing cars and more. If my dear son can face all of this and go out again to serve the Lord, day in and day out, I can certainly walk my neighborhood and extend invitations to visit the most wonderful place on our planet. All week long we prayerfully worked on a list of names to visit.
My husband and I said a prayer together, took deep breaths and stepped out our front door to begin our route. The neighbors we thought would be most receptive gave us the cold shoulder and couldn't wait to shut their doors. As we kept walking, we were prompted, not once, but three times to stop by houses that we hadn't listed. The neighbors in each of these houses were delighted. They had been watching the temple as it was built and heard so much about it on the news and from friends, they were hoping to find a way to take a tour. That walk resulted in 14 neighbors going with us one evening. My husband invited a number of his clients and I invited three families of my music students. We ended up taking close to 40 guests temple, including the owner and technician from my favorite manicure/pedicure place.
I will tell you this, the Lord is here and in charge of this wonderful temple.
Back to being a tour guide. My husband, Jeff, and I served each Tuesday and Friday mornings, reporting in at 7 am, and finishing between 11 and 11:45 am. There isn't space to share the many, many, many mighty miracles we have seen, but I will share three heart warming experiences that touched me with smiles.
An extended family of three siblings and their children were at the front of one of my tours. The many cousins circled around me with questions as we walked through the temple. In the sealing room, the girls "ohhhed" and "ahhhhed" about being princesses in their wedding dress as I told them how the bride and groom kneel across the alter to be married. There was only one little boy, and he was about five, maybe six, years old. He was visibly upset. He looked up at me and demanded, "But how do you kiss your sweetie?" I was disarmed by this charming little guy and his very important question. I held my laughter and reassured him that the bride and groom lean over the alter and kiss. Satisfied, he skipped out after his cousins.
The other comment overheard was by a gentleman as he finished the tour. He said, "I knew I should have voted for Mitt Romney. These Mormons sure know how to do things right."
The comment that touched me the most was from a lovely lady visiting from England. That day, I had added to my personal prayer, a plea that I would have the right words come to mind to touch those I come in contact with as they visited the Lord's temple. Upon reporting to the temple, I received the coveted assignment to be the tour guide stationed in the Sealing Room where special needs visitors toured, separate from the regular temple tour. Most of the other tours were "silent tours" in order to move the many visitors through, but not this assignment. As I shared with this lovely woman and her wheelchair bound husband about being married for time and all eternity, and where the bride and groom sit, then where they kneel across the alter from each other, she had tears in her eyes. I shared how it wasn't secret, it was sacred. Then I showed them the "Eternity Mirror" and thanked them for coming to the temple today. The sweet lady placed her hand on my arm and told me thank you for what I shared with them here in this room today. Their daughter had joined the Mormon church and had married in the Salt Lake Temple three years ago. They hadn't been able to go in and be with her, and it had hurt their hearts. She said that today, as I explained and showed them what happened in this peaceful room, her heart was touched and the pain she has carried there for the past three years melted away. She now could see in her mind what it must have been like and how important it was that her daughter was married forever. She was at peace.
My prayer was answered. Oh how our hearts felt love for our brothers and sisters, even when we didn't know them. I feel the heavens have opened in Gilbert with our new temple.