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My Twelfth Birthday Gift

My Twelfth Birthday Gift
My mother has always loved attending the temple. When I was 11 she promised me a trip to the temple as my twelfth birthday gift. We live in Cape Town which is 900 miles (1600 km) away from the temple in Johannesburg, but had been several times before so that my sister and two older brothers could perform baptisms for the dead.  I was looking forward to my first time I would be able to enter the temple, and to performing baptisms too.
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My 12th birthday was just before the one week school holiday, which was ideal. We had in previous years travelled with the Herbert family in their large vehicle but this time they were transporting members of their branch so we would have to find another way to get to Johannesburg. We didn’t have the money to fly and weren’t sure how we would get there, but my mother encouraged me to pray that something would come up. She said that if we had faith, the Lord would help us as this was a righteous desire.

I was worried by the time the school holidays began because we still didn’t have a way to get to the temple and I really wanted to go. I expressed my fears to my mother, saying that I didn’t think we would be able to go. She reassured me by encouraging me to continue praying and to have faith that the Lord would answer our prayers. As the week started, my holiday gift seemed to become less likely.

On Wednesday evening of that holiday week I and my brothers and sister were playing on the beach. My mother was sitting in the car watching us. Her cellphone rang, and she was surprised to hear Sister Herbert. Her first words to my mother were, “You must have been praying very hard to go to the temple because two members who were going with us have just cancelled!” She then asked if any of us would like to join them. Naturally my mother accepted the offer for herself and me. They were leaving at 4am the next day so we rushed home to pack.

Our prayers had been answered. My young faith had been tested, but our righteous desires had been fulfilled. I was able to go as a new deacon to the house of the Lord to perform baptisms for those who had passed on from this life. It was wonderful in the temple. There is a feeling of reverence that one doesn’t feel elsewhere. We stayed until Saturday afternoon, then came home knowing that God does listen to us when we pray.