Yes, they were away for 4 years...
So... here's a thought... I know that most of you reading this blog are probably thirty minutes away - or less... from the nearest temple...
Yet... it seems that so few of us visit the temple as often as we should. There are people all around the world that save for years just so that they can visit the temple once. We are building more and more temples around the world, so that is helping a lot of people, but there are still many members who drive for hours - or fly - to get to the nearest temple.
Here's a similar story...
Brother and Sister Vaha‘i Tonga of the Tongan Islands sacrificed in order to go to the temple. “It was not easy for a Tongan Saint to save enough money for such a journey. It took months of preparation and saving, but finally the money was gathered and plans were made.”
However, the mission president came to Brother Tonga and asked him to contribute toward a chapel to be built in his branch all the money he had saved to go to the temple. If he did not do this, it would be two more years before a chapel could be built there. Brother Tonga discussed the situation with his wife.
“It was difficult to give up their dream of seeing the new temple,” but the next day they gave the money to the mission president. “That night [Brother Tonga] … said [to his wife]: ‘Honey, the Lord has promised us through our leaders that if we keep his commandments he will prepare some way that we will be able to go to the dedication [of the New Zealand Temple]. We have cows, pigs, and some horses, besides furniture and mats. Let’s sell it all so that we may be able to receive the blessings of the dedication.’ ”
Brother Tonga and his wife tried to sell their livestock on Thursday and Friday, but no one would buy. Time was getting short. The following Monday the ship bound for New Zealand was to leave. Brother Tonga related:
“ ‘On Saturday morning three families came who needed some cows, pigs, and other things, and we received between $500 and $600 in about half an hour.’ ” They now had the money and would be able to go.
Brother Tonga and his wife were the first couple to be sealed in the New Zealand Temple. But the story does not end there. Brother Tonga said:
“ ‘When my wife and I were sealed to each other, something touched my heart. Our children were not with us, and tears came to my eyes. When we arrived home I promised our four children that if they would help, we could go to the temple together. I thought to myself, “How can you say, be a good boy or be a good girl, if I am not sealed to them in the temple?” I had the feeling that they were not mine.
“ ‘For two years we sacrificed almost everything. I divided my pay from school for each one of us, and we saved that. But we paid our tithing and fast offerings. We were left with 70¢ … a month for two years. We lived on what we could grow and gather. … My children could not buy candy or shoes or go to movies because they were saving to go to the temple. …
“ ‘To save on transportation costs I also rode my bicycle to district meetings … seven miles away. … Most of our district meetings began at 6:00 a.m. so I had to leave home very early in the morning.
“ ‘When the deadline came for getting our money in, … the two oldest boys said they had about $235. After saving for two years the little one [who was five years old] had saved $65. I had saved almost $1,300 for my family.
“ ‘Through sacrifice we were able to take our family to New Zealand to be sealed in the temple. We had to do some extra things to accomplish our goals, but it was a great blessing to us.’ ”
Okay... I know that this post may not apply to everyone reading this, but if it applies to you, if you have a temple nearby, make it a goal to go more often.
If you already go pretty often, that's great. Kudos to you, seriously... because it can be hard to find time to do it a lot...
Just a little challenge to you... try to make time. It's so important, and hopefully you've seen that people all over the world sacrifice a lot just to go once...
Here's a quote that I liked... It's not exactly about visiting the temple, but I think that it shows the sacrifice that have always gone into these beautiful temples...
"No effort was spared [in the building of the original Nauvoo Temple]. No sacrifice was too great. Through . . . five years men chiseled stone and laid footings and foundation, walls and ornamentation. Hundreds went to the north, there to live for a time to cut lumber, vast quantities of it, and then bind it together to form rafts which were floated down the river to Nauvoo. Beautiful moldings were cut from that lumber. Pennies were gathered to buy nails. Unimaginable sacrifice was made to procure glass. They were building a temple to God, and it had to be the very best of which they were capable.
"In the midst of all of this activity, the Prophet and his brother Hyrum were killed in Carthage on the 27th of June 1844. . . .
"But Brigham Young, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, picked up the reins. Joseph had placed his authority upon the shoulders of the Apostles. Brigham determined to finish the temple, and the work went on. By day and by night they pursued their objective, notwithstanding all of the threats hurled against them by lawless mobs. In 1845 they knew they could not stay in the city they had built from the swamplands of the river. They knew they must leave. It became a time of feverish activity: first, to complete the temple, and secondly, to build wagons and gather supplies to move into the wilderness of the West."
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