There was a time in our lives when my wife, Ceci, and I did not attend church regularly. But we missed the Church, and finally I decided to fast and pray to know if our Heavenly Father would permit us to return to his fold.
A short time later, the doorbell rang when I was having my personal prayers. It was our branch president, President Pinos. He had come to ask me to be a counselor in the branch presidency. My prayer had been answered, and I knew that my Heavenly Father still loved me as his son. I felt that warm feeling which comes only from God.
This was the beginning of a beautiful year filled with spiritual blessings. An institute class began in our branch, with the Doctrine and Covenants as our course of study. Ceci said that she would help me if I would participate. A few months later the instructor left, and I was asked to take his place.
One of our lessons was on temple marriage and vicarious work for the dead. One night soon after, I dreamed that I saw my uncle, who had died nineteen years before, and my stepfather, who had also passed away. They seemed to want something from me. I felt something whisper to me that I must go to the temple, that temple marriage is a commandment of God.
When I awoke, I knelt down and asked Heavenly Father to permit us to go. Then, wanting to strengthen my resolve, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down the prayer I had just offered. “Heavenly Father,” I wrote, “if it is thy will, I ask thee to let me go to the temple with my wife, Ceci, and my children, Diego and Adrianita.” I awoke my wife and told her what I had done. She cried and hugged me. She knew how hard this goal would be to reach.
Since we lived in Ambato, Ecuador, the nearest temple was across national boundaries in Lima, Peru. A trip there would involve a lot of paperwork, a thirty-six-hour bus ride, and real economic sacrifice. It would be hard on our children, who had never traveled and were very active. But we were strengthened in our resolve when we received our patriarchal blessings.
On 20 May 1987, my wife, my daughter, my son, and I finally saw the temple. There was the figure of the angel Moroni, facing heaven from one of the towers. What joy we felt as my wife and I received our endowments and were sealed to our children for eternity! Then we did vicarious ordinance work for our loved ones.
Every time I think about this experience, I want to return to the temple again. I am so grateful we did not miss the opportunity to make these eternal covenants. God has restored his gospel, including his temple ordinances, because of his love for us. I know that he lives.