Today is our youngest daughter’s 28th birthday! We were thrilled to learn that she is spending a few days with another daughter in Texas. There is little that brings greater joy than to know your children love and care for each other, often at great sacrifice.
Our last guests left on Wednesday. We were grateful for their help in getting this big home ready for us to leave. Almost daily we’ve had an opportunity to gather with those we’ve come to love here and celebrate one last time together. Brent and Tina Hancock, Dale and Julie Larsen, and Tim and Joyce Mahr will forever hold a place in our hearts because of the impact of their association on us. They represent the valiant saints living in many lands whose hearts are prepared to live as a Zion people and welcome the Lord at His coming.
We’ve also had a chance to review the promises made to us prior to serving.
Knowing our family would be blessed has brought us peace. A few shared how their particular family has been blessed as we have served. Without exception they were those who came and experienced with sacred land with us for a few days. This place is like no other we have found. Many consider it a historical site, and it does have a rich and glorious past. But the power that resides here is the Spirit of what will be in the future. That has been our focus every day. We’ve been part of an amazing team of missionaries who will be forever friends. We have been blessed in ways we could not have imagined.
We gathered in our home last night with the 2021 team. It was the last big bash at the Bohannon House. We had dinner and then viewed the premiere showing of the 2022 Mission Memories Video. That has been a satisfying labor for me. My brother took care of all the technical processes, and he made my efforts shine. I was so grateful to have a brother willing to do something I was unable to do myself so I could be successful. It reminded me that I have another Brother who has done the same in an eternal sense and my gratitude for both increased.
Today I want to share some insights stirred by our reading in Ezekiel this week. Ezekiel 47:1-5 speaks of a vision given to this great exiled prophet. He saw that one day a temple will be built in Jerusalem on Mount Zion. When it is completed, a spring of pure water will flow from it eastward through the wilderness of Judaea until it empties into the Dead Sea. He saw that it impacted everything it touched with healing. Ezekiel prophesied that this river will one day heal the waters of the Dead Sea and that life in abundance with be found there in. What will literally be true one day of a very specific temple is spiritually true of every temple on earth today. From the doors of each temple flows a figurative, life-giving river. Each temple is a source of powerful and deeply refreshing living water. It is water that can provide peace, revelation, truth, light and priesthood power.
In Lehi’s “dream of the tree of life” we learn that not only the fruit of the tree represent God’s Love, but also the fountain of living water available to those who hold fast to the iron rod. The Savior’s Atonement and grace are the epitome of God’s love. Like the river in Ezekiel’s dream, this spiritual water—available in the temples—are evidence of His love and flow from the doors offering life and healing. This water can heal and give life to our marriages and our families. Those with the wisdom to plant themselves near the banks and draw its life-giving moisture into their souls flourish and are given strength and power from on high.
It is interesting that in his vision, Ezekiel found himself along this river of living water. His guide asked him to enter and measure the depth. When he entered the first time the water came to his ankles. Further downstream he was asked to enter again. This time the water came to his knees. As he moved further down the bank, he found that each time he entered, the water continued to rise. Eventually his description of the river is symbolic of what the temple can be for each who have made covenants as we choose to enter again and again. Ezekiel conclude, “It was a river that I could not pass over; for the waters were risen, waters to swim in…”
The first time we enter the temple we barely get our feet wet as we are introduced to the light and spirit available there. I know from experience as we patiently persist in returning again and again, moving forward in our journey of life, the water rises, and we find power to overcome any challenge life holds.
Having lived for 20 months at Adam-ondi-Ahman, referred to by many as an outdoor temple, that living water has continued to rise for us personally. Being surrounded by living “water to swim in” has been a blessing beyond adequate expression. It’s a feeling like coming home after a long, taxing, over-scheduled day. We’ve felt that same feeling at the temple. We have been magnified in order to accomplish what we were sent to do. There has been healing power and gifts of the Spirit manifest at a level we had not known previously. How grateful we are to be returning to a state with 25 temples! We’ve had “water to swim in” available our entire mission. Gratefully, it can be accessed in our homes, and we can always find in the temple if we are striving to keep our covenants. That is our witness! Accessing the power of Heaven requires that we make and keep sacred covenants. We can’t remember a day that brought us more joy than of being in the temple with all of our children! It only happened once, but it happened. We find hope in knowing each knows where to find healing and living water at its source.
Thanks to all for your prayers and interest in what has been a life-altering time in our lives. Many have made our service here possible. We hope they know who they are.
Next week we will begin packing up to move back to our home in Utah. We are among the most blessed because we have two homes. Adam-ondi-Ahman will always be home! Our love, Elder and Sister Kenison