“Our Temple Marriage Was Worth Any Price,” Liahona, Aug. 2007, 44–45
It wasn’t until after my first business venture broke down and my second one burned to the ground that I wondered if I would be able to take my fiancée, Beny, to the temple. We had heard that getting there would be a trial of faith, but when we made temple marriage our goal, we had no idea how thoroughly our faith would be tested.
Beny and I met in our native Panama after serving missions. At the time, couples in Panama who wanted to start their married lives in the temple were married civilly just before traveling to the nearest temple, the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple. It would be an expensive and difficult trip, but being sealed was a blessing we did not want to live without.
The day after I proposed, I lost my job. Undaunted, I decided to earn money by giving bus tours. My bus broke down the first night. Concerned but determined, I next decided to sell T-shirts. The morning I went to pick up the shirts from the manufacturer, I found that the building had burned to the ground the night before. It seemed that my hopes had gone up in smoke too.
It was only a few months before the next scheduled temple trip, yet to this point, every effort I had made to raise money had ended in abrupt failure. I left the smoldering rubble and went to find Beny.
“I have nothing,” I told her. “Maybe you shouldn’t marry me.”
“If I were marrying for money, I’d be married already,” she said. “But I’m not marrying for money. I’m marrying you because I love you.”
That was a turning point. We felt that we had passed an important test. As we pushed ahead with faith, doors began opening. I found work making furniture, though the pay wasn’t enough to meet our needs. Then a kind bishop offered to help us with our bus fare. As exciting as his offer was, it didn’t feel right. We were intent on being self-sufficient. But seeing that he truly desired to help, we asked him if he could give Beny a job instead. He did.
After earning enough money to travel to the temple, we married civilly and were at last on our way to Guatemala with 10 other Church members. But our test wasn’t over yet.
Widespread transportation strikes stopped us at the border of Costa Rica. After waiting at the border for two days, our driver decided to turn back. But Beny and I, along with two brothers and one other couple, decided not to give up. After watching our bus turn around and leave us, we walked into Costa Rica. We kept walking, sleeping in roadside shelters, until we reached the Nicaraguan border. From there we managed to take a taxi to the capital city, where we purchased a bus ticket to the Honduran border. Two days—and two more buses—later we finally arrived at the temple. We were happy, but we were dirty and tired, and we had spent far more than we had planned.
After cleaning up, Beny and I realized that we were missing our living-ordinance recommends! What made matters worse, our bishop in Panama was scheduled to leave that same day on a business trip. We were brokenhearted. Had we passed through all of our trials for nothing? We ironed Beny’s wedding dress and trusted that if the Lord had helped us get that far, He would see us through to the end.
Though we expected our bishop to be gone, we decided to call him anyway. To our surprise, he had not taken his business trip after all. He said he felt that he should stay home instead. We were thrilled! He promised to fax the needed paperwork as soon as he could get to a fax machine.
We waited and waited, all the while praying in the temple’s marriage waiting room. It was Saturday, and in two hours the temple would close until Monday. What could be taking so long? At last the fax arrived, with an apology from the bishop: the power had gone out just as he was preparing to send the fax.
Finally, after all our trials and delays, we were sealed eternally as husband and wife. Our joy—worth the working, the waiting, and the worrying—was full!
Not everyone getting married in the temple will face such challenges, but for Beny and me (and the others who went to the temple with us), these experiences were a refining process. Three of the four brethren who made it to the temple on that trip were later called as bishops. Two are currently serving as counselors in stake presidencies. We’ve all been so blessed. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
If our goal to marry in the temple had been only for worldly love, we wouldn’t have made it. But because we believed in the sealing power of the priesthood restored in our day, we didn’t give up, knowing that our temple marriage—for time and all eternity—was worth whatever sacrifice we had to make.