Last Saturday we had the choice opportunity to witness the temple sealing of Keith’s eldest grandson Ben. Ben and Heidi met in their home ward after he returned from his mission. The sealing was performed by Ben’s maternal grandfather, Jess Larsen who came to Australia with his wife Sharon from Oklahoma to do so. It was wonderful to see the happiness on the faces of this beautiful, tenderhearted couple and to witness the unfolding of the generations of Chapmans on this occasion.
Elder M. Russell Ballard has changed my thinking in regard to how to teach children to honour the Sabbath. The beauty and simplicity of his insight is profound:
All of us are blessed when the Sabbath is filled with love for the Lord at home and at church. When our children are taught in the ways of the Lord, they learn to feel and to respond to His Spirit. We will all desire to attend each Sunday to partake of the sacrament when we feel the Spirit of the Lord.
M. Russell Ballard “God is at the Helm” Oct. 2015
How can help children learn to feel and to respond to the Spirit of the Lord?
In Primary we teach children of the sacredness of the temple with these words:
I love to see the temple, I’m going there someday,
To feel the Holy Spirit, to listen and to pray.
In the same way that we teach children to anticipate spiritual experiences in the temple we can also teach them that they are invited to feel the Holy Spirit, listen, and pray in the Lord’s house each Sabbath Day. Our chapels are dedicated places of worship where we participate in the sacred ordinance of the sacrament which brings with it sanctification from sin. As we walk into our chapels we are entering an ordinance room where we are invited to experience the sanctifying of our souls. Weekly we have an opportunity to bring our children into a spiritual environment where they can feel their Heavenly Father’s Spirit and with it the peace, security and sense of belonging that it affords.
If we allow ourselves to become preoccupied, rushed, or casual about our experiences in the House of the Lord, we will miss the opportunities that are available to us each Sunday. Jesus Christ has given us this simple invitation:
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).
I pray that we will recognize the opportunity afforded us each week as children of God to go to the House of Prayer where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ wait with open arms to receive us. May we do so with reverence and awe for the gifts that are so freely offered us by Our Eternal Father and His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
On New Year’s Eve we gathered with family and friends at the home of Paul and Amanda to welcome home Jayde from 18 months serving in the Jakarta, Indonesia Mission. It is always amazing to witness the transformation of a returned missionary and the living reality of the blessings that come as a result of their service. We loved hearing her bless the food in Indonesian and noting the peaceful, happy spirit she exuded.
As we visited with each of the grandchildren who were in attendance that night we were very pleased to see them progressing in education, personal development and spiritual growth. In all the grandchildren–our returning missionary and all the rest–we see their lives unfolding in many beautiful ways. Each child is precious and filled with unlimited potential.
In his interactive book “The Power to Become” Elder David A. Bednar teaches us that the answer to virtually every problem we face in mortality can be found in the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Bednar invites us to approach our challenges by asking the following inspired question:
What doctrines and principles if understood would help with this challenge?
Recently we were presented with a challenge by our Stake Young Men President wherein he asked what we as members can do to help keep the youth close to the Church. He cited a local statistic which indicated that only fourteen percent of our youth are serving missions and marrying in the temple. The discussion that day centered on worldly solutions to holding on to youth such as putting on world class activities and the philosophy that “It takes a village to raise a child.”
On arriving home that day we decided to approach the question using Elder Bednar’s inspired question. The simple answer we discovered brought into perspective the vital role of the home in the teaching and rearing of our youth–and the need for the Church to actively support parents in their divinely-appointed roles. In the words of President Spencer W. Kimball:
God bless the parents of this generation as you strive to devote your “best efforts to the teaching and rearing of [your]children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church.” (Handbook 2 1.4.1) As we do so we can rest assured that, as President Kimball promised
. . . not one in a hundred of your family. . . would ever go astray.” (Family Home Evening Resource Guide, 1974)
Christmas 2015 was a lovely mix of family experiences, visiting with neighbours, morning walks along the beach, lots of Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concerts (we have a very large collection) and happy conversations with family overseas. The weather was gorgeous. We also enjoyed preparing our first Gospel Doctrine Lesson having been called to serve as team teachers this year.
We traveled to Sydney mid-December for Keith’s final U.S. Immigration Interview. After months of careful preparation we were pleased that it went very smoothly, and when at the end of the interview Keith saw the officer stamp his application “Approved.” Hooray!
We spent five days in Sydney in what they call “serviced apartments” meaning we had a kitchen, washer and dryer, etc. It was very comfortable. It was nice to be able to prepare our food in our apartment. The grocery store was just around the corner–and it was just a ten minute walk to Church on Sunday.
We had an unexpected treat when invited to attend a Messiah concert with some of the Ward members Sunday night, and in addition to the enjoyment of the concert itself were surprised to see some close friends of Karen’s–Dave and Ilene Kinghorn–who are serving a mission in Sydney. What a small world. Ilene had been recruited to play viola in the orchestra.
We had fun traveling around Sydney on the trains and the ferries with all day passes we purchased for $2.50 each using our Senior’s Cards. The fact that all our sightseeing was practically free added to our enjoyment! The city was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the weather was pleasant. On our final day, however, storm clouds gathered and we found ourselves on an island in the harbour during a tornado. We gathered inside a restaurant with a few others while the heavy rain and winds passed over with no damage to the immediate area we were in.
It was a wonderful trip–the first we have taken since returning from our mission a year ago.
In her recent talk “Worthy of Our Promised Blessings given at the Women’s Session of the October 2015 General Conference, Sister Linda S. Reeves suggests how we might fortify ourselves in remaining clean and virtuous in an increasingly wicked world. She mentions the following eight tools we can use to fortify ourselves:
- Sabbath Day
- Living Prophets
I would like to add a ninth element to her list: Uplifting Music.
How are you using music to strengthen and uplift yourself and your family? Are there resources available that you might take advantage of more fully?
Last April I decided to download all the music from General Conference and place it on my iPod. I was amazed at the simpleness of the process. In the same way that re-reading a Conference talk enables you to receive additional insight and inspiration, I discovered that repeatedly listening to the musical numbers has offered an ongoing supply of spiritual upliftment and insight and invites the Holy Ghost into our home. I was spiritually strengthened by the truths as well as the spirit of the music.
I believe the Lord has made music resources readily available for our use for a reason. It would seem that our Heavenly Father is beckoning to us to draw nearer to Him through a means that can readily invite His spirit into our hearts: inspired music. Discover this rich resource for yourself. Begin today to more fully welcome the Spirit of the Lord into your lives through inspired music.