Sunday, April 16, 2017

Doors unlocked by our Savior

We testify that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, that He died for all of our sins and was resurrected.  He did this so that we could return to the presence of Our Father.  Temple covenants are the keys that open the doors to eternal life. We finished our Easter week in Madrid, Spain and were able to spend some extra time in the temple.  It was an appropriate way to celebrate the Easter weekend as we were able to unlock the doors to Spirit prison for many of our ancestors through eternal temple covenants on their behalf.

At the Madrid Spain temple, after participating in temple ordinances for our ancestors
Spring has come to Europe.  The photos below are of spring blossoms on the trees outside of our apartment building.  The view is from our balcony.

As we posted our last blog, we were still in Antwerp, Belgium.  We were able to participate in the Stake Self-Reliance committee meeting last Sunday evening.   We were asked to also train some facilitators.  We spent one hour going through most of the new facilitator guide which proved to be very helpful for the committee.  This is a great committee that has been meeting regularly for some time.  They are becoming mature in their self-reliance efforts and seemed to feel the spirit of this new guide.

On Monday morning, we had a waffle in the hotel.  Since we were in Belgium, we realized that it might have been our first Belgium waffle that we have ever eaten in Belgium.

We had an eventful week in the Area office.  We arrive home from Belgium in time for some scheduled Zoom meetings with missionary couples.  We had several of these meetings during the week.  On Tuesday night, we were able to facilitate our Health and Well-Being self-reliance group in our ward.  On Thursday at noon, we had one more meeting with one of our returned missionaries.  On Wednesday night we were able to enjoy a dinner at the home of Elder and Sister Busman, before they leave to go home from their mission.  Elder and Sister Swenson were also at the dinner with us.  We were able to prepare for and participate in our monthly Area Self-Reliance Committee meeting on Thursday.

As we finished these activities, the Area offices were closed for the Easter holidays beginning on Friday.  We were scheduled to spend this coming week in Spain, so we decided to come a few days early and spend some time at the Madrid temple.  We were hosted by Elder and Sister Kimball, our Spain Self-Reliance missionary couple who treated us better than we deserve.  

We were able to do 15 initiatory ordinances for ancestors on Friday evening.  On Saturday, Elder and Sister Kimball went with us to do an endowment session.  We then stopped for a meeting with some stake self-reliance specialists from two of the Madrid Stakes and then returned to the temple to spend over 2 hours doing sealing ordinances.

Meeting with Stake Specialists and Elder and Sister Kimball 
In front of the Madrid Temple

With Elder and Sister Kimball in front of the Madrid Temple
 By the time we finished the temple sealings, we had completed the sealings for 12 couples and 34 children were sealed to their parents.  This is representative of our own living family, as we have 12 children that have been married and currently have 36 grandchildren.  A fun little coincidence.

What is always so meaningful is to complete the work that has been going on by many over several months.  Much of the ordinance work has been completed by our children and grandchildren in the U.S.  Some of it has been completed by us in temples in the Netherlands, Preston, Freiburg and now in Madrid Spain.

More importantly, we completed the marriage sealings for three of Sister Rueckert's great, great, . . great grandparents.  These were names that we found in Erfurt, Germany last August.  We also sealed 11 children to one Rueckert family and 7 to another.  Each of these were part of the relatives that we had discovered in July of last year.  10 of the children in one of the families and 2 in the other were children who died as infants.  The Spirit was strong, especially with one sister who was proxy for some of these infant children.  She had lost a child of her own and related so strongly to these situations.  Temple work is wonderful, but it is exceptionally rewarding when it is for our own relatives that we have been able to find in our Family History work.

Family cards for the 12 couple and 34 child sealings that were completed on Saturday afternoon
We have thoroughly enjoyed following the Principles of Peace and the Prince of Peace that was available on the Church websites.  These messages of inspiration have strengthened us as we have studied the last week of the Savior's life.  On Saturday night we were able to watch a movie called "Risen", which was produced last year about the Centurian that discovered the truth of the resurrection for himself.  We highly recommend it.  We love this time of year!

We awoke this morning to our Easter treats in our hotel in Madrid.  It may be simple, but we do enjoy this high quality chocolate.

We were able to attend our Church meetings in Madrid, Spain this morning and have spent the rest of the day traveling with our Self-Reliance Services manager through Spain until arriving at the Northeastern part of Spain at the city of Vigo.  We will spend this coming week helping unemployed leaders in this district.