“The Temple Was Closed!” Liahona, Sept. 2011, 40
Our marriage in the temple was set for July 7, 2009—a date that we eagerly anticipated. Having grown up near the Aba Nigeria Temple, we were pleased that even though we had moved away, many friends and family members still living in the area would be able to join us either in the temple or later at a reception.
We arrived in Aba after traveling more than six hours from Lagos and made our final preparations for our sealing and reception. But three days before our scheduled wedding date, we were told that the temple was unexpectedly closed until further notice. We were distraught and confused. No one could tell us when the temple, which had closed because of unrest in the area, might reopen. Disappointed, we told friends and family that our sealing was being postponed, and we sadly returned to Lagos without knowing when we might reschedule another sealing date at the temple.
Upon retuning to Lagos, we prayed fervently for the Aba Nigeria Temple to reopen. A week passed without any news about a reopening date. This one week seemed like one year to us. We looked forward to our temple marriage and celebrating with friends and family as soon as possible.
As time passed with no news regarding a reopening date, we felt that we should consider alternatives. Because the Aba Nigeria Temple is the only temple in Nigeria, we realized that we would have to travel to the Accra Ghana Temple if we were going to be sealed anytime soon. Unfortunately, the trip would cost money we did not have. But we had always planned on a temple marriage, and we knew that we should move forward.
Borrowing money from family and friends, we arranged for an international passport, called the Accra Ghana Temple to schedule a date, and purchased airline tickets to fly to Ghana.
We arrived in Accra on August 14, 2009, and went to the temple the next day. In the sealing room, only the temple sealer and two witnesses joined us. No friends, no family, and no one we knew was with us. But in an unfamiliar country, in an area far from our home, we knew we were where we should be, doing what we should be doing. During that moment, we felt the powers of eternity and understood more clearly the love Heavenly Father has for us and for all of His children.
Tragically, my wife died in 2010 after giving birth to our first child. I miss her deeply but take great comfort in knowing that we have been sealed in the temple. I am eternally grateful that we didn’t put off our temple marriage by waiting for a convenient time. Our marriage is something I will always cherish and includes a story I will never forget.