In a 1962 BYU speech titled “The Lord is Mindful of His Own,” Brother Robert L. Simpson, then the first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, told of an experience he had going into a humble Maori home in New Zealand.
“Here we had a situation where a mother and father and 12 children were living the gospel as well as anyone I have ever seen in all my life. As they would gather around each evening to have their family devotional scripture readings and have the children participate, there was a time in the evening when the father would put a few pennies in a glass jar sitting upon the mantle. The house was lighted with candles and kerosene lamps. In this humble home this little jar was always there — just a few pennies each day. This was their family temple fund. (Imagine a family of 14 trying to save a few pennies a day, knowing that they would have to travel thousands of miles, at least to Hawaii, in order to get to the House of the Lord to do what they wanted to do.) Then they would kneel down in prayer, and from the smallest child they would take their turns and ask Heavenly Father that they might enjoy the rich blessing of having their family sealed together in order that they might have the fulness of the gospel come into their home.
“I used to sit there and literally break up inside wondering how these wonderful people would ever realize this blessing. A few pennies a day — they just could not possibly get a family of 14 to the temple on a few pennies a day, and I did not know how they could ever do it. But they prayed in great faith, and they prayed with devotion, and they meant what they said.
“If someone had told me at that time that within my lifetime there would be a temple built within sixty miles of this very home, I would have said, ‘I don’t believe it,’ because I did not have the same faith these people had. I am not sure that they visualized the building of a temple in New Zealand either, but they knew that their family was going to get together and be sealed and receive the rich blessings of the gospel. I want to tell you that the Lord is mindful of these people. He was mindful of their plea, and he poured his blessings out upon this family — and this family was multiplied by many hundreds throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand. It is a wonderful thing to contemplate the great blessings of the Lord to these Polynesian people as he listens to their prayers of faith” (Leon R. Hartshorn, Outstanding Stories by General Authorities [Provo: Spring Creek, 2007], p. 115).