Paul and Steve Saunders grew up and now currently live in the Washington, D.C., area. Having regularly driven to the temple, they realized that there was a need for a “temple shuttle” for those who didn’t drive. For the past four years, the brothers have operated a free car service Tuesday through Friday evenings, picking people up from the Metro station and taking them directly to the temple for worship. Here, they share their story with us about performing incredible service close to home.
I have been incredibly blessed as I've made time to help others get to and from the Washington D.C. Temple on the temple shuttle. It hasn't been easy. There have been nights where I've asked myself, “What am I doing sitting outside the temple or Metro in a shuttle?” At the same time, there have been nights where I couldn't have been more pleased as a volunteer driver. Driving itself is a straightforward experience. On slow nights I'll have time to read a book or get on a laptop and be productive in between rides. On busy nights, it's straight back and forth driving between the Metro and the temple nonstop.
There is something special about people going to or coming from the temple. We give rides between the Forest Glen Metro Station and the temple. No matter who they are at any other time, people going to and from the temple are agreeable people. The act of preparation is evident as they go in. Peace accompanies them as they come out. It has been a privilege to associate with brothers and sisters at their best without guile.
I like to think of temple work as a team effort, with me giving an assist in the form of transportation. I look at genealogy work under the same light. If there is one thing I've learned from helping others get to the temple, it's that going to the temple regularly is a decision. I have been impressed by the dedication of many people who come regularly to the temple, some of whom travel over an hour one way to do so. It is clear that the temple is a priority in their life. Regulars are an inspiration to me.
I grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. Whenever we went to the temple we drove. I always thought that you could get there on the Metro very easily. One day about nine years ago I finally tried it for myself, and I was rather disappointed. I found that it was doable, however not as easy as I had hoped. And I still thought that of all places to get to easily from the Metro, the temple should be one of them.
When I started the temple shuttle with my brother Steve about four years ago, I never thought that I would be a part of making that easiness happen. It's been a lot more work than I was planning on. Thankfully we've been blessed along the way. I'm grateful for the financial support we have received from many wonderful donors so that we can continue running the shuttle.
At times I've wondered what it is that has motivated me through these years. At first my motivation was the amount of people utilizing the temple shuttle. If a lot of people would ride, then I was pleased. This didn't happen as often as I dreamed. So new motivation came. If I discovered riders who only came because the temple shuttle was running, I was glad. This happens often. My strongest motivation has come when I consider the riders who want to keep the temple close and I see them do it. If the one smiling regular who rode last night or the repeat married couple who got a ride tonight are keeping the temple in their lives because of the temple shuttle, then I am happy. I admire these riders. By keeping the temple close now, most likely they will continue to do so in the future wherever they are. In doing so, they shine to those around them as they have to me. And in my mind, this is a lasting effect.
I have a family heritage of serving in and attending the temple often. I've seen and appreciated the blessings from it. I'm glad to share this heritage so that others may have it too. Actually, being a part of the temple shuttle is a simple way that I contribute to a better world. I think the more people who make time to go to the temple regularly, the better chance the world has at being a better place.
For more information on how to serve locally, visit ldscharities.org