Monday, July 16, 2012

Visit to the Johannesburg Temple

The highlight of this week was my trip to the temple. I went with three brothers from Maseru Branch and a sister from Masianokeng. The Maseru Branch President, Liphapang (pronounced deep uh pong) Monesa drove us, and the other attendees were Khopolo Tsiu, Seeiso Rapitse, and Morongoe Khotobane. We left at 7 a.m. Friday morning, and drove to Joburg. We went straight to the temple and stayed for the rest of the day. We stayed the night with my new friend Thembinkosi Msimango, and after another visit to the temple Saturday morning we took the return trip to Lesotho.

Johannesburg Temple, aerial view

Temples are a very special place to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While regular worship services take place on Sundays in almost 30,000 congregations worldwide, temples are larger and rarer structures. The temple can be described as a place between heaven and earth, where we go to feel closeness to God. They are open throughout the week so that members can come and worship at anytime. It is in the temples that we are married for time and for all eternity. The temple is also a place to learn about the purpose of our life and the path we must take to return to live with God. It is the greatest spiritual education ever! Visitors are welcome in the Sunday services of the Church, but temple attendance is reserved for members of the Church who are keeping the standards and commandments of God. Just after a temple is built (and before it is dedicated) temples are open to the public for tours, after which the temple is dedicated to the Lord and closed to the public.

The Johannesburg temple was the first in Africa. Before it was built, Church members had to go by boat to London to attend the temple. Some facts about the Johannesburg temple can be found here.

I had a great time at the temple. I also ran into a lot of old friends. First I saw the MTC manager, Mark Mocke, and spent some time with him and his family. Brother Mocke used to puzzle us with clever games and riddles while we were training to be missionaries. He was such a fun guy to work with. He is also a ping pong master. I am pretty good at ping pong, and so were several guys with me in the MTC, but Brother Mocke destroyed us all.

I also ran into a few guys from the Johannesburg 2nd ward, where I went to church for six months of my mission. I saw Obert, Honest, and Karabo Mamabolo. It was so good to catch up and talk about mutual friends and see how everyone is doing. I hope to visit Karabo and his wife when I go back to Joburg in August before I go home.

I also ran into Kyle Zeeman at the temple. I knew him for only a week or so in 2008 as he was preparing to leave for his mission. He went teaching with Elder Roper and I for several days, and then left. We both recognized each other but it took us a while to figure out how we knew each other. He seems like a really cool kid, and is now working at the temple.

I was also very happy to meet Sister Louise Futter and Sister Wilhemina Becker at the temple. They have been working at the temple at least since 2009 when I was serving in Joburg. These sisters helped me to schedule weekly temple trips for the Joburg 2nd ward recent converts. They were so helpful and friendly, and I developed a friendship with them during my mission. I was so happy that they still remembered me! Before I left South Africa in 2009, I was talking to Sister Futter about how much I loved the temple. She encouraged me to seek for the opportunity to work in the temple when I had the chance. I thought that one day when I was retired and had a lot of free time I would be able to work at the temple; I never expected I would have that experience while I was still young. Instead I have been blessed with the opportunity to work at the Provo Temple (since August 2011), and it has been such a joy in my life. I told Sister Futter that I was working there now, and she was so happy to hear it.

Johannesburg Temple

The friendships that exist through the church are really cool. When you hear that someone is a member of the church, you have an instant connection to that person, even if you know nothing else about them.

Other than my temple trip, this was a pretty uneventful week. I continue to work on my projects at Itjareng, I teach with the missionaries on Fridays, and I teach Sunday School on Sundays.

One last thing I can share--last week Sunday I did a special musical number in church with Mamalema Mokotla. We sang an arrangement of four of our hymns (Nearer My God to Thee, Praise to the Lord the Almighty, Be Still My Soul, and Christ the Lord is Risen Today), and we sang everything in Sesotho! I did a pretty good job of pronunciation, though I had to read everything off of the paper. I got a lot of compliments on the singing, and the two senior couples (from Canada and USA) were especially impressed. It was fun to prepare for that musical number. My Sesotho speaking ability is now back to where it was in 2008, but I am far from being fluent.

I am happy and well. God is good.

Sala le Molimo,

Thuso Moorosi

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