* We got our car transferred from Arizona to Boise so it will be there ready for us when we are released.
* We got annual physicals from our long time doctor and were able to fill another year of prescriptions on all our meds to take back with us
* We were able to check on our home we have rented out to be sure everything there was ok
* We both got new glasses (Larry's had broken and my prescription has significantly changed
* We were able to get interviews for our needed new temple recommends with our familiar leaders in our home ward and stake
* We had an opportunity to teach a family history lesson in our home ward
* We picked up some supplies to take back with us of things that are not available in New Zealand
The list goes on and on. There were so many good reasons why getting to come home for this break at the mid-point of our 23 month mission was a good thing to do.
But all of that pales in comparison to the real reason for making this trip. We feel so very blessed to have been able to be with our son and his wife when they went to the temple.
They have both come a very long way since the day they were married back in 2006.
In addition to the sacred time we had with them both before and during their day in the temple, a couple days later Larry and I got to go back to take Stephanie and Chesilee to do baptisms for the dead. We also showed them how to find family names on FamilySearch so they can continue this important work.
We also took the whole family to the visitor center near the new Meridian Temple which is currently under construction. We watched a presentation about the process of building it which including some key life-lesson analogies about having a strong foundation, being flexible in times of strain and challenge, and the importance of protecting what we treasure from the storms of life.
I love the temple. Over the past year we have been to the Mesa Arizona, Gilbert Arizona, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga temples. In the coming year we will add the Fiji temple to that list once it opens back up after their long period of reconstruction and remodeling. Each temple is special in its own way. I have had many tender experiences in temples throughout the world as I have received answers to prayers, or simply felt an abundance of the reassuring love of my Heavenly Father and the Savior.
After watching my son go through near 20 years of complete inactivity from the church, I had pretty much accepted that it was highly unlikely that I would ever see him within the walls of a temple in my life time. So for this to take place now feels like a parting-of-the-Red-Sea sort of miracle for our family.
I am so grateful for the wonderful home teachers and friends who have helped my son and his family feel ready to reopen the door to spiritual things. I'm even more grateful for the amazing love of the Savior who gives us all second chances (or third, or fourth, or however many chances we may need). I am grateful for the possibility of repentance and change. I am grateful for the power for good that temples bring to this world. I am grateful for truths that I learn in these Houses of the Lord where the veil can get very thin, and where I can sometimes catch true glimpses into eternity.