Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
President Thomas S. Monson speaks during the morning session of general conference at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. He announced the Provo Temple will be rebuilt and other new temples constructed around the world, and the creation of the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund.
The year 2011 was an eventful one for our family. I was a stay-at-home mom and part-time student at Utah State University. Also that June, we welcomed the birth of our third child. While we loved our new baby, her arrival made purchasing a larger vehicle necessary. The addition of medical bills, tuition and a van payment to the list of our other expenses made extra money nonexistent.
That fall, during the October general conference, I was touched by the plight of many LDS members who live great distances from temples. My heart flooded with excitement as I heard LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson explain the purpose of the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund. Until then, I had never considered how difficult it must be for countless individuals to make just one trip to the temple. When he asked members to donate, I knew I wanted my family to be part of helping others achieve their dreams of being sealed together forever in the temple.
I yearned to give to the fund, but as I reviewed our budget I knew it would most likely be many months before my desire could be fulfilled. I did not even mention my wish to my husband; it seemed pointless because we did not have the money.
While I continued to listen to the other speakers, I sent a sincere prayer toward heaven. I told Heavenly Father I believed the temple assistance fund was a wonderful idea and that if I had a spare $100 I would gladly give it to the fund. However, I also told him that in our current situation we would be unable to give anything.
As conference went on, my anxiety over being incapable to donate subsided. Heavenly Father knew my heart, and I had faith that eventually we would be in the financial position to help. I had no idea how quickly my desire would be fulfilled and the assistance we needed would come from Italy.
Several weeks before general conference, my mother-in-law, a native Italian, had wanted to visit her father and other relatives. After my in-laws returned from their trip, about a month after conference, they presented us with a gift from my husband’s Italian grandfather. The present was a monetary one, something we had not expected. As far as I had experienced, it was the first time my husband’s grandfather had ever sent such a gift to his adult, American grandchildren.
As I fingered the money, several possibilities went through my head regarding how this unexpected windfall could help us financially. Immediately I remembered my prayer the month before, and my desire to help prospective temple patrons again returned. When I suggested donating part of the money to the fund, my husband immediately agreed that we should use $100 of his grandfather’s gift to help others receive their temple blessings.
I believe an Italian grandfather was inspired to give money to my family so we could forward it on to bless others. The General Temple Patron Assistance Fund is an inspired program, one that blesses not only the recipients but also the givers. I am grateful for our part in helping another family realize its dream of being sealed together forever.
Elizabeth Reid is the wife of one and mother of three. She has a bachelor of arts degree in economics and history from Utah State University. Her adventures and opinions are shared on her blog at www.gelatoandchocolate.blogspot.com.