It was the last of the “quiet” weeks in the temple for several months to come. This week we will have new missionaries from the MTC as well as members from one of the Ivory Coast stakes Tuesday through Thursday. We have been asked to take a new role: Living Ordinance Coordinators. That has not been done before at the Accra Temple, so we will be working it out as we go along. Basically our responsibility will be to shepherd individuals and couples who come for their own ordinances and make sure that the process works smoothly for them. For those who may not be LDS or familiar with our temples, or what happens in the temples, there is a wonderful website here https://www.lds.org/church/temples/why-we-build-temples/what-happens-in-temples?lang=eng that explains all this, with beautiful photos also.
Our temple is relatively small, with session rooms that can hold 40 participants (called patrons), plus a few more with extra chairs set up. It is not unusual to have 8 or 10 or more patrons receiving their own endowments during a session, along with 30 or more others who are representing deceased persons. And it is not unusual on busy days to have 35 patrons receiving their own endowment and another dozen or so couples being sealed, often with children (what does sealing mean? Go back to the website!). It is important for couples who are being sealed to go through the session together. Sometimes the sealing is scheduled to take place immediately after the endowment, sometimes it is scheduled a day or two later, depending on the couple’s preferences and the schedule in the temple.
Usually everything works smoothly, especially when the ordinances are scheduled ahead of time and the individuals arrive when they are supposed to. But life often happens. They come late or they arrive without the staff knowing anything about them, on a day when the temple is already very busy. Perhaps a couple is ready to be sealed as a family but the children aren’t in the temple. Our new role is to sort out these challenges, figure out how to prevent them where possible, and generally help organize and prepare so that these new people have the best possible experience in the temple. We’re excited to have the opportunity.
Sue was called to teach the Young Singles Sunday School class today. Her students will be ages 18-31. She loves this group because they are adults with curious minds, opinions and personal experience. She has no idea who or how many will be in her class.
In our scripture study last week, Sue came up with a workable definition for her of the phrase “natural man” in the context of Mosiah 3:19. It is EGO. When we come to the realization that the goal is to do the will and the work of the Father [as Christ did] what we do is not about us - it is about Them. When we are aligned with Them, there is no need for ego.
We spoke with Marc and Tana Anderson [Ben, she is the Gospel Doctrine teacher in her ward and keeps up with all you publish] this week to give our condolences about the passing of his mother Missy whom we admired greatly. In the conversation we talked about mutual friends who have a son serving his mission in Benin and the adjustments he is making. It reminded us of an account given by our Area President’s wife about two young elders teaching in the Liberia mission. The lesson was on the law of chastity, with the idea that you would remain a virgin until you were married and then be faithful to your spouse. One of the young women spoke up and said, “If I live that law, I will not be able to eat”. Another said “If I live that law, I won’t be able to afford to go to school.” The Lord asks a great deal of his converts here, considering their culture, educational opportunities, experiences in war, and poverty. These young women thought the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ were worth it.