In September of 1996 I spoke in Stake Conference at BYU on the topic of missionary work. I had recently returned from a trip to California where I had place a Book of Mormon with My Uncle Dan and Aunt Betty (Uncle Stan Fittinger's sister) Although the placement didn't result in a commitment to hear the discussions from the full time missionaries, I had planted a seed.
In August of 2006 I returned to California to attend the wedding of my Cousin Bret. At one of the receptions my Aunt Betty approached me and said, "You'll be happy to know we joined your church and we were recently sealed in the temple." Of course she meant The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only had Dan and Betty joined but my cousin Steve, their son, and his family had joined as well. They too received the blessings of the temple.
Yesterday afternoon I got a message from the Bishop I served with in Maryland and he thought I should know that Leonard Evan, someone I had a long history with, was getting his endowments out today. I mentioned this to Elizabeth and felt like I had the sky miles to make the trip. Liz wanted to go with me so we used all the miles and a little bit of savings and caught a red eye flight first to Atlanta then to Philadelphia. The Bishop picked us up at the airport and we made the trip over to the temple.
Now, back in 2008 I met Leonard for the first time as I was an Elder's Quorum President working to reactivate members within our ward boundaries. In time Leonard came back to church and little by little became very active in the church. In 2014 I moved to Arizona and the family remained while we worked to sell our house there. In 2015 on a return trip to Maryland I was able to attend Stake Conference where Leonard was presented and sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. I had the great honor of conferring that priesthood on Leonard and ordaining him to office of Elder. And then earlier today, I got to see the priceless expression on his face as I entered the chapel to go through the session in which he received his endowment.
Liz and I had been part of the building of the kingdom that brought about the Temple in Philadelphia so it was an added bonus to get that chance to attend this particular temple.
Back with my Bishopric. (Left to Righ) Randy Griffiths - 2nd Counselor, Me 1st Counselor, Leonard, Bishop Coldesina.
Married in the Salt Lake Temple 18 years ago next month