Focusing on a Forever Family

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“Focusing on a Forever Family,” New Era, Dec. 2012, 28–30

All about Families

Focusing on a Forever Family

Having a temple built in El Salvador became a great blessing for two siblings who helped their parents return to the Church.

family eating together

Kevin and Jacqueline S., a brother and sister in El Salvador, are the best of friends, and they stick together in everything. They have a great love for the gospel and for their family. They want their family to be together forever.

When Kevin and Jacqueline were younger, people at church would ask their father, “When are you going to be sealed in the temple?” And he would respond, “When there is a temple in El Salvador.”

Praying for Their Parents

However, by the time the San Salvador El Salvador Temple was announced in 2007, Kevin and Jacqueline’s parents had stopped attending church. But Kevin, now 18, and Jacqueline, 15, kept going to church, praying that one day their parents would return.

“I never stopped praying and asking Heavenly Father that they would become active again,” Jacqueline says. “I know Heavenly Father wants the best for us, and He wants us to be an eternal family.”

They also tried to be good examples for their parents. “I never lost hope,” Kevin says. “I always read the scriptures and prayed, and my parents would see me study and leave to go do home teaching visits and to go to Church activities. As I worked to keep the commandments and to progress, my parents saw my example.”

Feeling the Spirit of the Temple

Kevin and Jacqueline’s prayers for their parents began to be answered as the temple neared completion. “When our leaders announced the dedication and cultural celebration, we invited our parents,” Kevin says. “We told them about the privilege we would have as youth to participate, and this motivated them a lot and helped them progress spiritually.”

In addition to attending the cultural celebration, the family was also able to attend the temple open house.

“Even though my parents hadn’t been going to church, they still view the Church and the gospel as something sacred,” Kevin says. “When we entered the temple, my father began explaining to my sisters and me that when we enter the temple, we wear white and that this is where we perform sacred ordinances.”

Kevin was amazed that his two-year-old sister, who normally has a lot of energy, remained quiet while they were inside the temple, and he noticed how his mother had tears in her eyes as she viewed the different rooms and paintings. When the family entered a sealing room, a volunteer tour guide explained to them that this is where families are sealed together forever.

“Our little sister then began to touch each one of us and say, ‘My mom, my dad, my Kevin, my Jacqueline,’” says Jacqueline. “It was like Heavenly Father spoke through her to tell us that we are all hers.”

“Then she hugged us and started giving us kisses and pointing to the mirrors,” Kevin says. “We looked at ourselves together in the mirrors, and it was amazing. When we left the sealing room that day, we made a goal to be able to get back there.”

Regaining Perspective

After attending the temple open house, the family began making some changes. “Since we went to the temple, our family has regained perspective,” Kevin says. “Since then we have been having family home evening, and our parents are bringing us to church and sitting with us on the front row of the chapel.”

In August 2011, Kevin and Jacqueline felt blessed to sit with their parents in the stake center as they viewed the broadcast of the temple dedication.

“When the temple was announced in 2007, my parents were less active, and I thought I would never have the opportunity to be with them at the dedication,” Kevin says. “When they were sitting with me, I could really feel that Heavenly Father had answered my prayers. To be there with my family was one of the greatest blessings I have had in my life.”

“This experience of the temple has strengthened me,” Jacqueline says. “What has strengthened me more than anything is seeing that the temple changes lives, because it helped my parents become active in the Church again. Now we have made the goal that we will be sealed in the temple. I know Heavenly Father wants the best for us.”

Photographs © IRI and courtesy of Kevin and Jacqueline S.