Monday, September 5, 2016

Family History - Clarksville, Tennessee

Hello Everyone! 

So this week in our training of Elder Carlson, we studied a lot about family history work. It was really cool to hear all sorts of great stories of how family history work brought families closer together and brought them great happiness. We read the testimonies of many individuals who were brought to our savior and His church through the spirit of Elijah. It was so cool seeing how the work of salvation is for everyone an the reality of this quote in Preach my Gospel:
“I hope to see us dissolve the artificial boundary line we so often place between missionary work and temple and genealogical work, because it is the same great redemptive work!” –President Spencer W. Kimball. 

Through this we have had many cool opportunities to share family history with many people around us - both members and investigators. It is really special how much it brings the spirit and softens hearts. My favorite was a recent convert family we visited yesterday. They have had the opportunity to take hundreds of names to the temple and now they are preparing to go for their own sealing. I loved hearing their testimony of how their family will be together forever and I thought of how it will open the door for them to perform those additional ordinances for all of their ancestors. A welding link is being formed throughout all the generations which will last for eternity. 

Sparked by this great spirit, I have finally gone and done what I have wanted to do for a long time. Today I was able to visit the graves of my great great grandmother and grandfather. It is really cool that to think of all the places in the whole world I could have been sent to in over 400 missions, they sent me to Tennessee. The apostle who issued that call did not know my family history, but the Lord does. Of all the wards in this great mission, president Andersen was inspired to send me to Clarksville. How cool is that! It was cool getting to be there and think about the lives they lived - growing up in the South during Reconstruction. I wonder what they did for work, what their school was like, and how they raised their children. What great lessons did they learn that they would want us to know. Am I honoring their name by the way I live?

Elder Basham with the headstones of George and May Basham

As cool as all of that is, I love more to think about our great heavenly family. When we are sealed, it is not merely to one other person, but we are linked in with the whole family of God the Eternal Father. It is a great covenant we take upon ourselves and it builds off the one we make at baptism and renew each Sunday. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have covenanted to take His name upon us. Do we honor that great name by the way we live and love each day? Do we live true to the great family we are a part of?

I love you all and hope you can say with conviction, "yes!" I testify that the Savior loves each one of us and His atoning sacrifice makes it possible for all of us to return to live with our Heavenly Father and our family again. I am grateful for this knowledge He has given me and I love Him. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

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