Take the No. 1 Train
- Following an Apostle’s counsel helped the Zamoras be sealed in the temple.
- Ward leaders strive to help new members visit the temple soon after baptism so that they gain strength to resist temptation.
- The temple reminds LDS youth in the Bronx of their eternal goals.
“Whenever I go to the temple, I come out with, as we say in the Dominican Republic, ‘new batteries.’” –Kyrsi Zamora
“That day when we got sealed is something that I will never forget, because that’s when I felt that I was complete,” says Kyrsi Zamora. She is looking back on her sealing to her husband, Ephraim, in the Manhattan New York Temple.
“I’ve always loved the temple,” Ephraim Zamora says. He grew up a member of the Church in New York City, the son of converts to the Church. He is the bishop of the Spanish-speaking Olmstead First Ward of the Westchester New York Stake. But first he is a husband and a father, and the temple offers blessings that make those roles eternal.
Kyrsi grew up in the Dominican Republic. “I got to know the Church because my mom had a dream about the missionaries.” In the dream, her mother saw two young men in white shirts on bicycles. After moving the family to Santo Domingo, her mother saw two young men like those in her dream riding down the street, and she ran after them to say, “I know you have a message for me. I want to hear it.”
“I don’t know how my life would have been without the Church,” Kyrsi says. She was living in New York City when she met Ephraim. He had been asked by missionaries to attend a Spanish-speaking branch where his help was needed with members. Kyrsi was the single adult leader. When they were introduced, she offered to help him get acquainted in the ward. He knew immediately that he needed to get better acquainted with her.
The two of them met Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when he spoke at a conference in their area. He asked if they were married, and Ephraim surprised Kyrsi by answering, “Not yet.” They began dating in earnest after that experience. Courtship and marriage brought them challenges like those of any other couple, Ephraim says, but they followed the counsel Elder Holland gave in that conference to persevere. Doing so enabled them to achieve their temple sealing.
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The Zamoras have two daughters and a son: Betty, 14; Shasiela, 6; and Jacob, 2. Betty and Shasiela are from Kyrsi’s previous marriage. Meeting Ephraim brought her the opportunity to marry someone with whom she could work toward exaltation, Kyrsi says. Initially, Ephraim was uncertain about marrying a woman with two young daughters, but he says the Lord helped him see that he could be the father they needed.
The temple plays an important role in the lives of everyone in the family. Its covenants allow them to be an eternal unit. Its influence helps make their daily life better.
Bishop Zamora sees that same influence at work in the lives of members in his ward. “Even those who are recently baptized need the temple.” Ward leaders work together to help them begin preparing for temple covenants; the goal is to get new converts to the temple within 30 days to take part in baptisms for the dead. The bishop says the temple is important in providing strength to resist the temptations of the world. “They are no longer the people they used to be after they’ve gone to the temple. They change. They have a knowledge that they have to become more Christlike, and they do that.”
“It’s something marvelous here for the youth,” the bishop says. It is very difficult for youth in the Bronx to resist daily temptations, but the temple is a reminder of eternal goals.
In past years, members had to travel to Washington, D.C, or Boston to partake of temple ordinances. Kyrsi says the blessing of having a temple in Manhattan is that people can attend anytime. The temple sits almost on top of the subway system, with the number 1 train stopping just across the street. Youth can go after school, and young adults can go in the evening after work.
Their daughter Betty enjoys attending the temple. “Each time, she comes back changed,” Kyrsi says. Betty understands the significance of the work and enjoys serving others.
“For me personally, the temple is sacred,” Kyrsi adds. “Whenever I go, I come out with, as we say in the Dominican Republic, ‘new batteries.’”
It is a place she has gone many times to find answers to prayers. “Each time I enter into the temple, I feel the love of the Savior,” she says. It is a place “where we can go to prepare to be with our Heavenly Father again.”