I was 2 years old when the Philippines Manila Temple was opened in 1984. My father and mother had not been able to get married in the temple because at the time the nearest one had been in Hawaii, USA. So when a temple was built in Manila, my parents were anxious to go and have our family sealed for time and for all eternity.
Times Were Tough
At that time, my father had just graduated from college and my mother was working as a teacher. With 2 kids and one on the way, my father could hardly make ends meet with his salary as a casual government employee. I can vividly remember my parents eating salted fish so they could buy milk for me and my little brother. I can imagine how much they must have sacrificed just so we could be provided with the basic things we needed. As a father, it must have been hard for him to see his family have so little. I am sure that all he wanted was to provide a good life for us.
My Father’s Desire to Have His Family Forever
My father wanted a good life for us, but, more importantly, he held dear the promise of the Lord that his family could be with him for time and for all eternity. When he found out that a temple was going to be built in Manila, he made all the preparations needed to be able to bring his family there. It would also be his first time to be in the temple because the temple had been so far away during his Missionary Training that he had not been able to go and get his personal endowment. During his mission, he used to imagine what it would be like to go to the temple, so it was an exciting time for him preparing to go to the temple with us, but it was daunting as well. After evaluating his and my mother’s income, they discovered that there would not be enough to pay for both our fare and our board and lodging.
His Decision to Sell His Little Possessions
At that time, my father only owned a few things that he had bought previously. He had a little TV for our entertainment and he owned a watch that he’d had for years. He also had a scientific calculator from his years studying to be an electrical engineer. These were the only things of value that he possessed. We had no land and no house. He just rented a small room to house his small family. The TV and the watch were sold first but the scientific calculator was a hard thing for him to give up because it would be very useful in his future career. But, judging from the sale of the TV and watch, the scientific calculator had to go to raise the funds needed for travel to Manila.
Then Miracles Happened
When finally my father was able to buy tickets for the four of us, he could only afford the lowest form of accommodation. It was not comfortable. My mother was pregnant with their 3rd child and morning sickness plagued her. The journey to Manila took 3 days and after the first day of travel, my mother was already weak with morning sickness and seasickness. But then, as my father was out getting food for us, he met a missionary couple who offered us better accommodation. They sponsored an upgrade for us, and soon my mother felt a lot better. My father considered it to be a miracle because if she had continued to get weaker, he was afraid they would not have been able to continue the journey. When we were sealed, my mother felt the little baby in her womb kick as if to say, “Hurray!” The journey home was smooth sailing, without any discomfort and my father was empowered with a feeling of assurance that he had done the right thing in his efforts to provide for, protect and preside over his family.
We have now been sealed as a family for 35 years and it has blessed my parents’ lives and our lives as well. What my father sacrificed so we could be sealed was a strong testimony of his love for my mother and for his love for us. He taught us the difference between things that are of temporary value and things that have eternal significance. He was able to buy another TV and another watch and another scientific calculator but he said, “if I lose my family forever, that would be a great loss – something I can never replace.”