Monday, May 16, 2011

It Takes Faith

Click on map to enlarge
Thursday the 5th  I was at the front door of the temple here in Campinas.  I was doing the normal thing of greeting people as they come in.  I was unaware of what exactly was happening in the life of this family who were coming for their first time. I didn't know how far they had traveled or how long they had been trying  to come here, the struggles they had been through, or what there expectations were.  A few hours later that day he came to talk with me.  He told me something of their trip and how hard it had been to prepare and save the money necessary, and how happy he was to finally be here.  He said it has been over 10 years that they have been waiting for today.  Always when we had planned to come, something would go wrong and we couldn't come.  As you can see in the picture it is over 1600 miles from Manaus in Northern Brazil by the Amazon River, to Campinas; so it is either a 7 day trip by boat and bus, or a 3 1/2 hour plane trip.  The caravan they were in came by plane.  He hadn't had any sleep for over 24 hrs before getting to the airport.  When he arrived at the airport he found out that he was to be the leader of the caravan.  I guess there were about 20 people in the group.  He had never even been on a caravan before.  He then had to take care of some problems that had arisen.  There they finally were at the front desk, I told him his recommend had not been activated yet.  He didn't know what that meant and was devastated for just few moments, thinking he wouldn't be able to come in.  However, his wife's was just fine, which cause me to wonder for a moment.  As we talked about his experiences that day I got to know how prepared he had been.  He noticed things in the paintings on the walls that I hadn't thought of and how they relate to the temple ordinances.  I felt a special something about him and we have exchanged emails and even Skyped once since he has returned home to Manaus.
    Normally caravans leave on Saturday to go back home, but this one was staying over until Monday afternoon.  We saw he and his wife taking pictures of each other in front of the temple on Sunday and went over to offer to take pictures of the both of them.  After the pictures we visited for about an hour and invited them to come to our apartment the next morning which is our P day, to visit some more.
We found out that they had been unable to get permission from the father of the 2 oldest daughters so they could be sealed to them.  This is a second marriage for both of them.  They were heart broken to have to return without having the whole family sealed.  They still felt so very blessed and the experience of going to the temple and receiving the ordinances was more wonderful than they had dreamed.  The Manaus temple will be completed in about a year, but they don't want to wait until then to return to the temple.
    Monday afternoon we were invited to a devotional the caravan was having before returning to Manaus.  After a couple of talks they opened up the meeting for anyone who wanted to bare their testimony.  They were all so uplifting.  They related how this experience had changed their lives and strengthened their love for the Savior.  The spirit was so strong, I couldn't remain seated. Those who where leaving sang the closing song "Till We Meet Again" to the temple missionaries.  It was an honor to be there.  After the meeting we hugged everyone.
    I have learned to try to put myself in the shoes of the person on the other side of the desk as they enter the temple.  It isn't routine for them.  I am there everyday and so things become kind of routine and it shouldn't be.


  1. YOu mentioned this on Skype when we talked with you. What a wonderful experience for you and for them. Sounds like they will be friends for a long time. Have a great day.

  2. What an amazing story. Isn't it amazing how much people will sacrifice just to get to the temple. It is so hard for the people here, but they just keep trying and have faith that someday it will work out. What great experiences you are having. We send our love. EST