For the past few years, our Area Presidency have asked us to seek the blessings of the temple as one of the four Pacific Area priorities. With the Hamilton New Zealand Temple currently closed for renovations, Saints across New Zealand have found inspired ways to continue keeping the temple a priority in their lives.
From floppy discs to the internet—700,000 names captured.
A great example of this dedication to temple work is Audrey Day of the Hamilton New Zealand Stake. Many people who have passed beyond the veil will be able to thank her for her sweet service. By January 2019, Sister Day had indexed more than 700,000 names!
Sister Day has been faithfully engaged in this work since the time of the original name extraction programme, which was introduced around 1990. She kept pace over the years as the programmes, technologies and resources changed and improved. Although she has found technology to be a challenge at times, she has persisted in learning all she needs to know to continue this sacred work—it brings her so much joy.
Sister Day has experienced many occasions when she and her friend Sister Osborne could not read something on a film because it was either too faint or poorly written. They would pray and when they went back to it, the words would be clear and easy to see—as though their eyes had been opened.
Today, with the new and improved indexing programmes moving the work along at record pace, Sister Day feels that more than ever, all Saints, young and old, can get involved in this joyful work.
Temple work is not only done inside the temple.
“I can think of no better way to keep the temple close than to do family history work.
“The purpose of the temple is to seal families together so that we can all return to live with our Heavenly Father. Although these sacred sealings are performed inside the holy temple, finding family names can be done anywhere. Just get started and you will be led.
“Finding ancestors can seem like an overwhelming task but this is God’s work; He wants us to succeed. Our ancestors want us to find them and they will assist us if we have the faith to try. Not long ago, I was working on my family history and was praying for guidance. I was led by the Spirit to a child who had been added incorrectly to the record, and to another child who had been left out.
“You do not have to fear this work because you don’t have to do it alone. I have been called as the temple and family history consultant in the Parklands Ward in Christchurch, New Zealand and I love helping people who are learning what to do. If your ward has a family history consultant, reach out to them. As you do your part in this great work, you will feel your family and the temple close by.”
The Lord will help to provide a way.
“Last year, we set a family goal to save up for a holiday and choose somewhere that had a temple. We decided to go to Hawaii as we have family there and would benefit from their company as well as their babysitting services while we did sessions in the temple.
“As a family, we were inspired by the Spirit as we prayed about ways to save money. We did extra jobs for the family business, made and sold jewellery, went diving for fish and seafood so that we wouldn’t have to buy it and avoided wasting money on takeaways by making simple dinners and eating at home.
“Even though I was heavily pregnant when we finally made it to Hawaii, the holiday was lovely. The highlight of the trip was being able to take my father’s name to the temple. He passed away last year, so this was a sweet experience for us.
“I felt the Spirit so strong in the temple as I often do. I knew the sacrifices we had made throughout the year to make that trip were worth it.”
Before it’s too late.
“I won’t lie, It’s a lot of work. A lot of dictation, photo scanning and formatting, but it’s so worth it in the end. I was able to give each of my four children a copy of the first volume of my personal history, as well as my husband’s, for Christmas last year. It doesn’t have to be an award-winning piece of writing; you’re simply telling your own stories in your own words; anyone can do it.
“When I started this project, I wasn’t sure how much I would remember, but as I got into it, I was surprised how much came back to me. Doing this work will not only give your children and grandchildren the spirit of Elijah, it will also show you just how much the Lord has done for you in your life. Perhaps you might consider making your personal history this year’s Christmas gift for your children or other family members. They will love it!”
The home may be one of the only places of refuge our children have left in this world.
“Last year we focused on really investing in our little family unit. We wanted to establish better relationships with one another and make our home like a temple for the children.
“We did our best to prioritise the basics: family home evening, daily family prayers, and family and personal scripture study. Most importantly we talked. We talked a lot. We tried to create an environment where our children would feel safe to be open about everything going on in their lives.
“I feel for children these days. They are surrounded by negative influences and the home may be the only refuge they have.
“Visual reminders like photos of the temple or paintings of Jesus Christ are helpful. Recently, as a family home evening activity, we built a mini-sized temple out of blocks. It sits in our home as a daily reminder of our goal to always be worthy of the temple whether it is open or closed.
“It takes time and effort but before long, your children will crave the influence of the Spirit and the peace of a home protected from evil influences. Through prayer, scripture study and a lot of talking, our home is a refuge for our family—preparing them to recognise and love the spirit of the temple when it opens again.”
Working together to achieve more.
“Our ward has decided to work together to help each other keep the temple close by holding regular ward temple days. We have set a goal to reach 20,000 names indexed before the end of the year. As it is, we managed to index more than 350 names during our first ward temple day alone, so we’re well on our way.
“The chapel was set up with different rooms focusing on the various areas of temple work, including a member of the stake presidency so that people could have recommend interviews done while they were there.
“There was a family history room, an indexing room, a login and technology help station and a scanning station for digitizing old photos.
“There was a writing personal histories workshop and a lesson for the primary children on what a temple recommend was. Each child had a ‘temple recommend’ of their own made up to bring to church each week.”