We, as a house at 1260, have decided to share some of our experiences that we have had with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Once a week we will write about an experience that we have had concerning a gospel topic that will change each week. Since most of us were blessed to be missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a lot of the stories will stem from our experiences there; however, not all stories will be from the mission. We all have had great and awesome experiences with the gospel, and we hope this will help our friends and family if they ever find themselves in need of a spiritual boost.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eternal Families

Eternal Families are awesome
                One of the best, and most important, parts of the gospel is the fact that families can be together forever. Our family relationships can continue on after we die. This is something that excites me quite a bit because I love my family. 
                My story for the week also did not happen on the mission, but as I mentioned last week my dad helped build a temple down in southern Mexico and we all lived down there for about 9 months.  One of the coolest experiences I had, happened towards the end of our experience there.  When a temple is completed there are a couple of days where they have an open house, where pretty much anyone can take a walk through the temple and see the beauty of it.
                Right before the open house on a Monday night, my dad told us that he wanted to take us through the temple as a family to look at the finished product.  When we got to the temple no one else was there! It was a Monday evening, and we were pretty much the only ones in the temple.  If I remember right, there might have been maybe 2 or 3 people doing some final cleaning; but other than that we were alone.  My dad showed us the different rooms, and the temple was extremely beautiful.  The end of our tour ended in what’s called the celestial room; a beautiful room representing the celestial kingdom.  We were in the room, just my family and myself, and I remember sitting there as a family (except my brother, unfortunately, who was serving a mission in Mexico City at the time) and just thinking how awesome it is that we can be a family forever.  I felt the love of our Heavenly Father, and I was extremely grateful for the family that he sent me to. 
                I know that the authority to seal families for eternity is found within this church, and needs to be done within the Lord’s temple.  I love my family and I’m grateful we can stick together forever! 
-Ryan Hutchings 

Eternal Families in Italy
                One of the core beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that family bonds are eternal that families are central to God’s plan. It is within families that we can find true happiness, discover our true potential, and better understand who we are, namely sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. I loved talking to the Italian people about families. I had the blessing of growing up in a home with a loving father and mother who supported and loved me. And so I naturally loved trying to share the joy I felt in my own family with others.
                 I specifically remember one day on my mission where we were talking with a man about how much God loves us, and that one of the manifestations of His love for us is that we have families that we can spend the rest of eternity with. The man seemed very leery of this idea. He said, “So let me get this straight. You say that living forever with your family is your idea of heaven? I hate my family! I really can’t stand them, and quite frankly that sounds more like hell than heaven!”
I was so taken aback. It had never occurred to me that someone would have had a negative experience growing up in their family and would subsequently not love being with their family. I understand that not all families are perfect. And don’t get me wrong, my family is far from perfect. We have our quirks and weird idiosyncrasies. But I wouldn’t change them for the world. A family provides security from the evils around us in the world. A family helps us learn how to work hard and reach our full potential. A family teaches us what love is and how we should show love for our fellow man. I firmly believe that a strong unified family and home in which love prevails, support is felt, and life lessons are taught would improve the world more than anything else. I feel that Satan know this too, and it is precisely for this reason that the family is under attack. Satan knows how important the family is to God’s plan. He understands what a wonderful thing a family can be, and this is why Satan is constantly trying so hard to undermine and destroy them.
                  I had a missionary colleague whose family were all converts to the church. He often talked with me about what an amazing experience it was for him to be able to go to the temple and be sealed to his parents and brother for time and all eternity. I can still remember the spirit that he brought whenever he spoke of and testified of families and their eternal nature. Seeing how the knowledge of eternal families had blessed the life of this mission colleague has had a great influence on my life. Hearing his testimony on this subject has helped me reflect on how much I too love my family.
                 Probably the most important thing I have learned from my family is that they love me. They love me in spite of my many short comings and imperfections. The love that they have for me is almost indescribable. This knowledge alone is probably blessing enough, but the fact that I know I have a loving Heavenly Father who has perfect love for me that is infinitely greater than the love that my own family has for me is almost too much for me to comprehend. I will be forever grateful for the lessons that my family has taught me, and I am also grateful that thanks to the atoning sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can be with them for all eternity. 
-Bradley Zentgraf