Recently I was able to travel with more than 100 other young men and young women from the Hamburg Germany Stake to the Frankfurt Germany Temple to do baptisms for the dead and to attend a youth conference. Maybe it was because I was 13 and had unrealistic expectations, but the trip didn’t start out exactly as I had thought it would.
We stayed in a youth hostel in Bad Homburg. The hostel is a really old building with dim rooms and old furniture. It seemed that the knights of old had slept in those beds. Some of the youth in our group, who had expected the comforts of home, were disappointed by their first impressions and wanted to go home.
Our leaders tried to encourage us by reminding us that we were here to serve people who had lived on this earth before us—people who were waiting for us to be baptized for them in the temple.
Our feelings began to improve as we became involved in the activities and workshops of the conference. Each morning we had a devotional in which many of our personal questions were answered. And one evening we had a fireside with Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Seventy, a member of our Area Presidency. He encouraged us to write down the goals we wanted to work on during the coming year. We put the letters in envelopes and addressed them to ourselves. In a year, we will receive these letters. I am already working toward reaching my goals.
During the rest of the trip, I didn’t hear anything else about going home. As we became more unified in our purpose, the worldly environment as well as the just-for-fun activities became less and less important. For example, we had planned to hold a social one night, but it lost its excitement for me.
I frequently had the feeling that a lot of us had come on the temple trip actually hungry for spiritual experiences. Many of us had those righteous desires fulfilled by our experiences in the temple. Tears of gratitude were shed, and friendships became stronger. Nowhere on this earth have I felt closer to Heavenly Father than in the baptistry. How marvelous it will be when I can go to the temple to receive my own endowment and enter the celestial room! I don’t know when that will happen, but I am already looking forward to it. I now know that I want to return to the Lord’s house often.
Some of my friends who came to the conference hadn’t prepared themselves to attend the temple. They quickly realized that next time they don’t want to come just for the activities; they want to be able to enter the temple.
At our closing testimony meeting, we felt a spirit of unity. All testimony meetings when we are together as youth are wonderful, but this one was something special. Some of us shared special feelings we had experienced in the temple; others who want to come back to the Church or to make peace with their families or to feel close to Heavenly Father also shared their feelings.
At the youth conference and in the temple, we felt the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. When we returned home, we took many memories with us—not of our uncomfortable accommodations, but of the Spirit we had felt in our hearts.