When you combine a Bishop with vision and a youth group with determination you get an experience of a life time. Tim Sanders, Bishop of the Somerset West Congregation in Cape Town had just that when he decided in 2011 that he wanted to do a youth trip to the Johannesburg Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2012 to do baptisms for the dead.
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The first step toward this temple trip was holding a fireside for the youth and their parents to introduce the concept and get them on board. During the fireside the youth were told that they could experience an opportunity to be a “saviour” for someone who had died. The criteria for those going to the temple was that the youth would have to keep their lives clean and pure to be worthy to enter the temple. They would also make a significant contribution to the cost of the airfare from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and pay for their accommodations while there.
The youth caught Bishop Sander’s vision and spent the year working to earn money for the trip. The work ranged from waitressing, washing cars, and emptying dustbins to cleaning yards, babysitting, and taking dogs for walks. The youth not only earned the money they would need, but learned lessons in the value of work, which will stay with them for a lifetime. The youth functioned almost like a business, exchanging various goods and services for finances that would take them to the temple.
One young woman said of her efforts in earning money, “Sacrifices are always worth it, and sacrificing my money to come to the temple was hard and took a lot of patience. But the peaceful spirit and amazing memories replace my empty bank account 1000 times.”
Each one of the 14 youth, who had earned their own way there, felt the spirit of temple work for their ancestors. Roughly 600 baptisms and confirmations were performed. One of the youth who attended expressed the feelings of each of them when he said, “I know with all my heart that temple work is an essential part of the Gospel. The trip was amazing and one of the best things about it was being able to make the effort to come here. I would do it again any day.”