Dear President Albright,
As a senior missionary couple, my husband and I were often called upon by ward leaders to work with less active members and active members who had not yet received their temple endowments. We occasionally taught nonmembers as well. We appreciated so much when the bishop and ward council would give us inspired specific assignments of who they felt we should visit.
One day after church, the bishop gave us a list of several members he and the ward council felt we should visit for a variety of reasons. One of the members on the list was Roseanna, an 86 years old single sister, who lived in a nearby assisted living center. The bishop felt she was lonely and needed some encouragement. We started to meet with Roseanna weekly to discuss various gospel principles and have a prayer together. We also enjoyed taking her out to lunch occasionally.
On one of our visits, she brought out her family photo album and spoke fondly of her departed parents. We asked Roseanna if she knew how she could be with her parents as an eternal family by being sealed to them in the temple. She replied that she had NO IDEA of what we were talking about! Somehow she had forgotten about this important principle even though she had been baptized some ten years previously and had attended church fairly regularly.
We began to focus our next few discussions with her on the temple ordinances and the many blessings that come from temple attendance. At first she was resistant to the idea. She said that the temple was far too fancy a church for her to attend. She was content to just attend her local ward chapel in her own neighborhood. We patiently explained the significant differences between a temple and a chapel and again emphasized the special blessings that can only be found by going to the temple. She did not completely oppose the concept of temples, she was just puzzled at the many differences between local chapels and temples, and she wanted to learn more.
We eventually received permission from the Bishop to begin a Temple Preparation class in the ward and taught the temple lessons to Roseanna for about six weeks. She was an apt student, and looked up every single scripture that we discussed. The more she learned, the more she wanted to attend the temple. She slowly began to understand the sacredness of the ordinances that can only be performed in a temple. When our temple lessons were finally finished, she was interviewed by the bishop and a member of the stake presidency. Both men later commented to us how well prepared Roseanna was to attend the temple for the first time. They were impressed with her knowledge of the unique purposes of sacred temples.
Then a special miracle occurred. A date was set for Roseanna to attend the temple, but no one from our entire ward was able to attend with her on that date and time. My husband and I took her alone for her first visit to the temple. When we arrived, I left her with some temple workers to assist her in getting prepared. I then went to the locker room to dress and was surprised to find four sisters from Roseanna’s prior ward there. Amazingly, three of these ladies had been Roseanna’s former visiting teachers and friends. They all knew her well and loved her dearly. They all wanted to join us on our temple session starting in a few minutes to share this special occasion with their friend Roseanna.
It was a tender mercy that the Lord looked after Roseanna and provided these four dear friends to accompany her on this special occasion. It was miraculous that we found these sisters in the temple just minutes before the next session started. Roseanna was thrilled at this miraculous turn of events as we all went through the temple together. Special rescues like this can occur in every ward where the bishop and ward council strive prayerfully together to give inspired assignments to the full time missionaries, young and old!
Sister Ann Keller