Dave Veinot and his wife, Veronica, were neither strangers nor foreigners to the gospel of Jesus Christ. His wife had been raised as a Catholic, his mother was Lutheran and he had attended a Baptist young peoples’ group as a young man.
Following marriage, as their family size began to grow, so did their interest in Christian values. “By the time our family included three boys, we decided that they needed religion,” recalls Brother Veinot. Coincidentally, religious choices were suddenly presented to the Veinot home in the winter of 1980.
“The Jehovah’s Witnesses came, the Wesleyan Church came and then the Mormons, all around the same time. It was like we had a neon sign on the driveway – ‘People Looking for Religion!’ All of them started coming without being invited, but we weren’t really interested,” Brother Veinot recalls.
Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had twice knocked on the Venoit’s door previously. But this time the gospel message resonated with the hearts of the couple and it did not take much time for the Veinot family to embrace the truth.
It was then, shortly following baptism, that the couple was introduced to temple and family history work. The infectious project of finding ancestors and preparing their names to receive temple ordinances became a labour of love.
“Back then, we had to drive 24 hours to the Washington, D.C., temple. I had been called as branch president, so we went once a year,” says Brother Veinot. “We would arrive first thing in the morning and stay until the temple closed at night.”
Then in November 1999, the Veinot family and many others in Nova Scotia realized a life-changing hope: the dedication of a temple in Halifax. “We were invited to become temple workers shortly after the Halifax Temple opened. Now we were only three and half hours away and we accepted the assignment to serve once a month.”
During his leadership assignment, Brother and Sister Veinot continued to serve in the Halifax Temple regularly. “We spend as much time as we could there, but he served only as a patron.”
One temple experience was most impressive to the Veinots. In March 2013, they accompanied an older couple to the temple to do baptisms for their relatives. “Brother Hamilton had been walking with a cane and his wife’s help,” remembers Brother Veinot. “But when he went into the baptistery, he was like walking on air and went on his own down into the font.”
Sister Hamilton, who had for years opposed the Church, entered the font while tears coursed down her cheeks. “It reminded me of the time that we went to the temple for the first time,” says Brother Veinot. “The boys, all preschool age, were sealed to us. We experienced indescribable feelings that we could be a family together forever.”
Those feelings were recalled to his memory when his oldest son, who lived only five days, was sealed to the Veinot family with the branch president serving as proxy for the boy. “While that was very emotional for me, I felt the same way for the Hamiltons in the baptistery.”
“If only every convert could get to the temple as soon as possible after they’re baptized to feel the power of the Spirit that we can be together forever.”
The Veinot’s are quick to observe the temple sacrifices of others. “From Caribou, Maine, it is seven hours one way. It is amazing to see people from the outer areas of our temple district who are very faithful and come to the temple four times a year. One sister from Old Maine comes once a quarter although she has to walk with a cane and comes with her hands full of cards to do the work for her family.”
“It’s wonderful, the dedication these people have,” says Brother Veinot. “They’ve caught the spirit regarding what the temple can do to our lives.”
“To obtain blessings from the temple, we need to make sacrifices, whether coming long distances or short distances; we need to make those sacrifices. That, really, is part of what the blessing is.”