On August 1, 2015, Alex del Mundo faced his beautiful bride-to-be, Ariana Limas, across the altar in the Toronto Ontario Temple where they were sealed for time and for all eternity. This happens in LDS temples around the world many times every day, and each time there is a special story. Alex’s and Ariana’s story is a wonderful example of the Spirit of the Lord working in the lives of two faithful and obedient people.
On January 22, 2013, four months before leaving to serve an 18-month full-time mission for the Church in St. Louis Missouri, Ariana Limas was asked to provide Mormon Newsroom with a photo of herself preparing for her mission. “The article was about the missionary age change and how the youth were responding to it. The person in charge of writing the article knew I was getting ready to serve and asked if I would submit a photo of my preparation.” Three days later the article was published.
Alex del Mundo read that article and saw Ariana’s picture while he was serving his two-year mission in the Iloilo Philippines Mission, which he had started in December 2012. “I saw the picture and the article, but I remember more of the picture than I do the article.” He was immediately smitten; “Wow what an attractive girl!”
“When I got home (December 17, 2014) a mutual friend of ours asked if I knew Ariana and I said, “No, but the name sounds familiar”. I later realized that she was the girl in the article. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t know her, but I would like to,’ so I added her on Facebook.
Ariana had arrived home from her mission one month earlier: “I don’t usually accept people I don’t know on Facebook, but I remembered meeting his sister a few years back and she had mentioned Alex briefly. I also noticed that he had recently returned home from serving his mission. I was struggling with finding my purpose as a returned missionary and I thought it would be nice to talk to a recently returned missionary too”.
The following weekend was the annual Filipino Christmas Party hosted by the Toronto Stake, and this was where Alex and Ariana first met. “I just got back from the Philippines so I wanted to be around Filipinos”, says Alex.
“When Alex asked me if I was going, I was pretty excited. I’ve been attending this event since I was a toddler, but this was the first time I was excited to go because of a guy”, Ariana laughed.
When asked if they had gotten to know each other a bit at the party, Ariana said, “No, not at all.”
Alex responded, “Sometimes you have more courage online than you do in person. I talked to her briefly, but most of the time I was talking to a friend who was leaving soon to serve in the Philippines Mission.”
Ariana: “I was super disappointed because I wanted to talk to him and then he left without saying goodbye. When I got home he sent me a message apologizing for not saying goodbye and then he gave me his phone number so we could text each other.”
They had their first date a couple of weeks later. According to Ariana, “Alex was coming to Toronto for his friend’s farewell. We decided that he should come a day early so we could spend time with each other…which basically turned into our first date”.
The rest is history. They were married on August 1, 2015, in the Toronto Ontario Temple.
Both Alex and Ariana feel strongly that the spirit of the Lord was moving in their lives to bring them together.
Ariana: “After a lot of prayer and going to the temple, and asking if marrying Alex was the right thing to do, it was a testimony to me how the Lord works in our lives.” Starting to cry, she explained, “I was dating someone pretty seriously before my mission and I had to make this decision of whether I wanted to keep this person in my life for my future.
“While serving my mission I had made a promise to the Lord that I wouldn’t do anything against His will. No matter how much I wanted to be with this person, I knew deep inside that wasn’t what the Lord wanted. It never felt right when I prayed about it, even when I wanted it to be. It was hard for me to admit and accept that. It’s funny because having faith to find investigators and do the work was never a problem for me. It was having faith in the Lord’s promises to me and for my life that I lacked. I know that through the power of the Atonement I was able to do what I didn’t think I could, which was to let this guy go and trust the Lord when He said He had someone else prepared.
“When Alex and I started talking after I had been home for a month I knew right away this guy could possibly be my eternal companion. When I would think about Alex the spirit was so strong every time I asked, it was always such a clear answer.”
Alex: “For me, I didn’t really believe that there is just one person, a soul mate. I have the strong belief that if two people follow the commandments and live the gospel according to what Heavenly Father says they can develop a strong and healthy marriage. It doesn’t really matter what circumstances or where you come from. I thought the Lord trusts me that to make the decision who I want for my eternal companion and I kind of had the feeling the Lord was saying whoever you want to marry is up to you as long as they are living the gospel and keeping the commandments. So I looked to my Filipino heritage and I said, “I think I want to marry someone that will have a real appreciation for my Filipino culture to share that culture with”, and I also wanted a returned missionary so we could share our mission experiences with each other, so we can continue to preserve that culture in our family. I wanted the aspect of missionary work to be closely connected in our family.”
Ariana: “When I met Alex I was emotionally overwhelmed how quick the Lord was at fulfilling His promise. It kind of scared me.
Alex is one of the Lord’s tender mercies for me. There is a quote by Elder Bednar that I’ve kept, and I think it is the best way to explain why: ‘The Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings.’” (David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord”, Liahona, February 2012).
“I have come to realize how much the Lord does love me and has been watching out for me this whole time.”