“Finally Making It to the Temple,” Liahona, June 2019
A few years ago, I had never heard of temples. After discovering the Church almost three years ago, temples still seemed like figments of the missionaries’ imagination. On my small Caribbean island of Barbados, the idea of a temple on the earth seemed like a magical fairy tale that was too good to be true. If they were so awesome, then why didn’t Barbados have one?
A year after joining the Church, I finally came to a greater understanding of the role temples play in our lives as members of Heavenly Father’s true Church. I had an extremely strong desire to visit the one that was closest to my tiny island—the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple.
The cost of an airline ticket to Dominican Republic was much more than the few dollars I had in my bank account. Setback after setback seemed to push me further away from what felt like an impossible goal of visiting the temple. But I made it a habit to never forget this quote by President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018): “Always have the temple in your sights. Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of the sacred and eternal blessings there” (“The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Liahona, May 2011, 93).
One of the greatest joys in this life is the joy the temple brings. Hearing the missionaries speak of the joy and overwhelming sense of peace that always filled them when they visited the temple always made me a little envious because although I remained committed to my covenants, I wasn’t as fortunate as they were, being unable to walk or drive to the nearest temple. With the Dominican Republic temple being far away, it started to seem like I would never be able to receive the blessings that awaited me there.
Just when I had given up all hope of ever visiting the temple, the Barbados Bridgetown Mission young single adults trip to the Dominican Republic made my temple dreams a reality. Preparation was key. Entering the temple is by no means a small or insignificant undertaking, so at the start of the year, I kicked into high gear making adjustments to increase my spirituality. I took the sacrament more seriously, I started to pay closer attention during sacrament meeting, I bore my testimony whenever I had the opportunity, and I stopped letting technology distract me and decided to dedicate my hours of church to finding even more ways to feel the Spirit more abundantly.
Being spiritually prepared and worthy before entering the temple ensures that we will receive the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for us. After months of hardships, trials, and even the death of my beloved grandmother, no words can accurately sum up what I felt when I took those first steps onto the grounds of the Dominican Republic Temple. As I stood there with tears in my eyes, I felt the Spirit as I had never before.
During my many visits to the temple on that trip, I would always open my Book of Mormon to a particular scripture. It was one that I often read to my grandmother, although she was not a member of the Church before her death. It came from 1 Nephi 3:7, which reads “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
I know with all certainty that Heavenly Father was preparing a way for me to reach the temple and that it was through His divine intervention that I was finally able to make it there. Where there is opposition or stumbling blocks in our path, Heavenly Father will make a way for us to move forward, even if our path seems dark. The temple is truly a sacred place where we can feel Heavenly Father’s love for us on this earth.