Thursday, September 17, 2015

Day 12 in Tonga - the 110 year rule

On Thursday it was a public holiday so we had no formal presentations to give.  (It was the Crown Prince’s birthday).  We did go to one of the FHCs to help however we could.   I spent some time with Sister Piatau’s mother who was visiting from Auckland.   She had brought in information about various extended family members who had passed away so we could update records on FamilySearch.   She is very committed to family temple work.  However, I needed to go over the policy regarding who should submit names and when permission is required.   This dear lady would do temple work for every soul in Tonga if she were allowed to do so.  While her intentions are well meaning, it was important to explain why we do not submit names for people we are not related to and that distant relations should only be done with permission granted from their closest kin if born within the last 110 yrs.

We talked a lot about respecting other people's views and beliefs and understanding that the work of redeeming the dead is an ETERNAL thing.   While we may get impatient and want to do it all right now because we believe it is true and important (which of course it IS!), the whole point is to unite families, not to alienate them.  I gave her examples of people in my own family who have said no when I asked if I could have temple ordinances done for their parent or spouse.  I'm always disappointed when that happens, because it is completely out of love that I want to take those names to the temple.  But I can only hope that at some point in the future one of their children or grandchildren may feel comfortable with having it done.  Until that time, we need to back off.  I understand that is hard for some to accept. But our beliefs cannot trump someone else's.   One of the key principles of our faith is the 11th article of faith:

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege.  Let them worship how, where or what they may.

That means if someone else's beliefs lead them to think it is unnecessary or inappropriate for us to perform vicarious ceremony in the temple for their deceased love ones, we do not do it, no matter how strongly we may feel it is the right thing to do.

Our understanding of the plan of salvation is that God's greatest gift to us was our agency.  We have the ability to choose whether to follow Him or not.   I'm sure that as each of His spirit children were given the opportunity to come to this mortal life it grieved Him mightily to know so many would not choose wisely.  But He would never force us.  He will invite.  But we must choose.

That day we finished up earlier than usual and had no evening commitments so we made our way over to Little Italy, the place where we had stayed on our previous trip back in May.  We had a lovely meal  - lasagna and a yummy salad.  We had not eaten out much at all on this trip so we really enjoyed this opportunity to just spend a quiet evening together and we savoured our dinner.  

We love being out with the saints all over our mission area.  But at times, the pace of all this travel is exhausting.  I often don't sleep well when I'm in unfamiliar places.  Also our diet shifts a lot when we are traveling.  Part of that has to do with what is available in different places and part of it is that we eat whatever we may be served by the people we are with, which is often very different from what we normally have. It's a good thing neither of us are picky eaters and we are willing to try new things,because we have had A LOT of new and different things!  Some has been yummy.  Some not so much. We've never had to eat anything truly awful.  I never have developed a taste for taro - but have managed to eat what was on my plate more times than I can count.  Also we often end up eating way later than we normally would as we grab something after a late training.  So getting to choose to go for an earlier meal was nice.  While we did get a lot of fresh bananas in Tonga, there were very few vegetables and way more meat than our usual diet.  Because of that, I especially appreciated the delicious salad that night.

After dinner we took a walk along the path that goes along the shoreline there, watching the waves and the colors of the sky change as the day melted into evening.   It felt really nice till it started raining and we ran for the car.  
We talked about our impressions of this trip as comparted to our earlier work there and all we had learned inbetween.    We were feeling very grateful for the blessings of the mission, but we were both more than a little ragged.


We were ready to head back to New Zealand.

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