Temple mission unites family in unique way

When Tio Tjomn Kie and his wife, Semg Nio, were called to Toronto as temple missionaries just over a year ago, they were a bit surprised. Due to Elder Tio's arthritic back, they had expected to serve in a warm, perhaps even tropical, climate. Eastern Canada doesn't exactly match that description.

Now, however, as their service in the Toronto Ontario Temple concludes, it is perfectly clear to the Indonesian natives, now Vancouver, B.C., residents, why they were called to labor here. It was to unite and bless families, including their own.While in Toronto, the Tios were reunited with several extended family members who they hadn't seen for many years. The city is a melting pot, attracting emigrants from throughout the world due to Canada's liberal immigration policies. The temple reflects that diversity.

"We have enjoyed very much being here," said Elder Tio, as the couple's temple service concluded July 10. "We know a lot of people inside the Church, and have met many relatives from overseas we hadn't seen before."

The missionaries had a joyful reunion with a niece, the daughter of Sister Tio's brother, who they hadn't seen for 35 years, and met her husband and children for the first time. They also met a cousin and two nephews, along with their families, for the first time. The Tios had known of the three through their family records and were excited to get acquainted personally.

All of these family members had emigrated from Indonesia and had become Canadian citizens. None of them are members of the Church.

"We gathered together and had a small family reunion with our family members and their friends outside the Church," Elder Tio explained. "Their acquaintances became our acquaintances. They asked us what we were doing in the temple. We told them and expressed our feelings about it. We talked about the gospel and left copies of the Book of Mormon with them. The temple united our family in a unique way.

"At first we were surprised when we were were sent here, but now we know why we were sent, to find our relatives. While here, I only experienced back pain one time. Normally, I regularly have pain in my back from arthritis. We know the Church leaders were inspired to send us here."

Sister Tio also expressed gratitude for the reunion with relatives, for the opportunity to serve in the temple and for the friendships made with saints within and without the temple.

"We are very grateful to have done the temple work for the deceased," she said. "I am also thankful to have met so many brothers and sisters of the Church here in Toronto. We have loved each other more and more each day. I am so grateful to have our family members here. I have many of their records and have recorded them in our family history so I can now do their genealogy. It's not easy to leave, but we will always keep in mind the joyful year here. We hope to meet again, if not here, then in the life hereafter. The gospel is marvelous and wonderful."

Elder Tio said above all the blessings that have come from their missionary service is a heightened spiritual awareness and increase in understanding of the sacred covenants of the temple. A humble man, Elder Tio was assigned as the instructor to teach the second shift of temple workers. He said he studied, prayed and pondered to better understand the temple and to regularly teach and answer questions with the Spirit.

He spoke also of the Lord's covenant with Noah following the flood, exemplified by the rainbow and its spectrum of color.

"I see many people in the temple representing many colors and races, yet I know we are united in one Church," he reflected. "I know the Church is strengthened as it gathers together people from different races."

As they return to their home in Vancouver by way of Church history sites in the eastern and midwestern United States, the Tios are looking forward to a family reunion of another sort. Their oldest granddaughter will be baptized Aug. 13. The baptismal service was postponed a week so Grandma and Grandpa could be there.

"We're excited about that," Elder Tio exclaimed.

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