Three days inside of a bus, two boys, one man and a seven-month pregnant woman. That was how my family traveled to the temple for the first time.
They had to go to another state to travel with a different stake to the temple. The trip lasted around two weeks in total.
My parent were saving for months for my mom’s labor. When they heard they could go to the temple, my mom told my dad they could not lose that chance. They had to go.
“I can go to a public hospital,” my mom said.
That is what they did. They were sealed for time and all eternity in the Sao Paulo Temple in 1993. After they got back, they had a month and a half to prepare for the day I was born, and my mom did not have to go to a public hospital. Everything just worked out somehow.
That is just one of thousands of experiences of sacrifices the pioneers in most families made and still make to go to the temple.
Why did people do that? Why are they willing to sacrifice so much for that experience? Why don’t we see that very often nowadays?
Sometimes when we have to sacrifice a lot to get something, we work harder, and we enjoy the experience even more.
We just give everything we have, and we believe the Lord will do his part to complete our sacrifice and give us the special blessings we want so badly.
What makes us different from the first Mormon generation of our family? We have access to the temple so easily. We have an amazing campus. We have great teachers who always start their classes with a prayer.
I am convinced that when we have such easy access to those blessings, we do not always enjoy or utilize them as we should.
Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when they gave excuses after the Lord asked them if they partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
“The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat,” Adam said (Genesis 3:12).
The Lord then asked Eve what happened.
“The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat,” Eve said (Genesis 3:13).
Like my mission president used to say, that was the moment when excuses started on earth.
Since that day, humankind finds excuses all the time to not do what they are supposed to. That is why we do not have the same feelings as those pioneers.
Maybe we do not have to sacrifice as much to go to the temple, or to partake the sacrament or even to contribute with tithing, and maybe that is why we do not enjoy those opportunities as much as the pioneers in our families.
I am not saying we need to look for ways of sacrificing to feel that we are doing something good. Samuel was clear when he said that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). However, we get used to those things and just do not give as much importance as they deserve.
Obedience is the only way we can show God we love and trust him. It has to be by our actions. He gave us all those things easily because he wants us to be prepared for the future challenges we will face.
This is our moment. Let us stop the excuses. Let us work and give everything we have right now. This is such a short time. It is nothing in comparison to eternity. Isn’t it worth obeying right now to receive eternal happiness in the future?