I bought this round trip ticket to Utah the day after I arrived last time I was there, less than two weeks ago. I'll be honest, I grumbled about the inconvenient timing- just after a long weekend and smack dab in the middle of the work week- but how could I not come back? Napa and Dipu were coming to America and I HAD to be there. I met these all-stars back in '07 when, after months of learning with missionaries and fighting the law of chastity, the two finally moved out from their shared apartment and were baptized. Here's a pictures from Dipu's special day, specially decked out with Napa's feelings for the day, and ever since, as recorded on frequent Facebook posts. "We love Heavenly Father" was what empowered the two to finally move out even though they didn't know when they might ever be able to be married, as Dipu was an illegal refugee from Nepal and had no realistic way to get the correct paperwork.
(After busting through India, he rode stow-away style on a boat from Calcutta to Phuket, then bussed up to BKK. If that's not badass enough for you, once he was caught by immigration police and when asked his home country he reported Burma. Authorities rounded him and other Burmese refugees up and dumped them across the border, at which point he up and walked back, to meet his lovely Napa and subsequently the missionaries several years later. But I digress...)
After almost a year of baptism, Dipu somehow made it back to Nepal, shimmied out the paperwork he needed and hustled back to Bangkok to marry Napa. Since then, the two moved into Dipu's tailor shop (D & D Fashionway, if you're interested. High quality, low price!) to save money for a temple trip to Hong Kong. Here's meat dinner with them in April before I left Thailand, where they told me that since they found the gospel their "love only goes up and up".
Fast forward to October 5, 2010 and I'm with Napa again, this time in the Oquirrh Mountain temple, as her escort and quasi-translator (though her English is decent). After briefly explaining covenants we make with God in the temple, the temple matron asked if Napa had any questions. Napa's answer was simple: "I know. I know God. He know me. He love me." Yes, folks, it is that simple. The next day, I helped Napa into the wedding dress Dipu had made for her (in 24 hours!) and saw them sealed forever in the Salt Lake City temple.
Man alive, if that's not the most amazing experience a person can have, I don't know what is. First of all, Buddhism teaches that after death, the flame that lights the candle of our soul goes out (transferred to a new candle), never to be lit again. Although most Thais believe they will see their dead loved ones again, the Buddhist doctrine pretty clearly states that all these kinds of relationships are impermanent and will not carry on post-mortem. To see two people who, four years ago, had no idea that they could have their love go 'up and up' forever and ever, make a big fat step in that direction is positively mind-blowing. To know these people, the sacrifices they have made to get here, and the passion they have for this truth they have learned is a strength to me.
With the two sealings I have been to in the last couple weeks (the name-dropping sealer at Lauren's and the flighty sealer with Napa), I have been reminded of how important it is that we pay attention to the covenants we make. At baptism, we promise to obey God, He promises to be with us. As we increase in understanding of that most basic exchange of promises, we are ready to promise more. He is, in turn, ready and willing to give us more, give us everything if we're ready for it. The stakes are higher, the blessings more powerful. It is ultimately up to us how much heavenly goodness we want God to pour into our lives by how fully we choose to live up to our end of the bargain. A huge theme I heard in last week's conference was the importance of agency and that we choose our way to God's presence.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity to see Napa and Dipu make themselves available to all the best that heaven has to offer by stepping into God's temple and stepping up to His offer of all the blessings they could ever want. Now, I need to step back up as high as I can and choose to be one step closer to where I want to be.