When Randy Smith was in his early teens and a member of the now discontinued Stone Mountain Ward, Tucker Georgia Stake, he was straddling the line of gaining a testimony or becoming disinterested in the Church. His parents, James and Leigh Ann Smith, converts, were concerned about their son.
One of the people who stepped up was Joy Taylor (now Holladay), a single mother and new convert herself. She was the eighth Sunday School teacher that year of the large and somewhat boisterous 14-15-year-olds class. Her patient, loving and understanding manner reached the teens, and the class changed. After a year, Randy was her star pupil, and the Smiths and Sister Taylor were close friends. When Sister Taylor married in the Atlanta Georgia Temple, in attendance were the Smiths. "It was a powerful spiritual experience," said Sister Smith.
Both families later moved away, and while Randy was serving a mission in Brazil, the Holladays moved a second time. The families lost track of each other.
More years passed and Randy became engaged to Bethany DaBell of Las Vegas, Nev. As their marriage date drew near, the Smiths, now members of the Lake Worth Ward, Pompano Beach Florida Stake, wanted to contact their friend and invite her to the sealing, which was to take place in the Las Vegas Nevada Temple.
"I was not successful in a search for her current address," said Sister Smith. "At the marriage of Randy and Bethany, as I sat in the sealing room, the thought came to me that whenever I would go to the temple, I usually would run into an old friend. Then I thought, 'Well, that sure won't happen here, so far away from most of those we know.' "
After the sealing, Sister Smith was taking a drink of water in the dressing room when she heard someone call her name: "Leigh Ann!"
It was Joy Taylor Holladay, now a resident of Las Vegas and an ordinance worker, with tears in her eyes over the happenstance reunion.
"We embraced; it was wonderful to see her," said Sister Smith. "She was so excited to hear about our good news. She came to the reception with her husband. The Lord is mindful of our righteous desires."
"To see one of my students married in the temple was a very joyful moment for me," said Sister Holladay.
Another in a series of "Temple Moments."
Illustration by John Clark