Stories of Faith

Meet the family who’s served in 100 temples (and counting) around the world

The Alcantar family (from left to right: Ange, Zander, Sawyer, Drezen, Ambery-Jae, and Sal) at the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple.
The Alcantar family (from left to right: Ange, Zander, Sawyer, Drezen, Ambery-Jae, and Sal) at the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple.

Courtesy of the Alcantar family

Almost five years ago, the Alcantar family—dad Sal, mom Ange, and kids Drezen, Zander, Sawyer, and Ambery-Jae—decided to travel full time with a specific purpose: to serve in every Latter-day Saint temple in the world in two years. It was an ambitious goal that has adapted over time, but it is one that the whole family continues to embrace—even over 100 temple trips later.

In 2017, the Alcantar family started their travels in an RV and ultimately were able to visit every temple in the United States except for three within the first two years.

Somewhere in the middle of that first stretch, they retired the RV and returned to their home in Mesa, Arizona, before feeling called to move to Sal’s hometown of Snowflake, Arizona, where they continued to make one-off trips to temples in Canada and elsewhere as time and a global pandemic allowed. But in January 2024, they decided to travel full time again and this time include Europe in their second “temple tour.”

Touring Temples in Europe

Of the seven temples they served in while in Europe, the Paris France Temple seemed to stick in their memories the most. Nine-year-old Ambery-Jae thought “all the flowers were really pretty,” and 12-year-old Sawyer was excited because, as he says, “I could go be baptized with my brothers and then my mom. And then I could also have the opportunity to help others have the choice to be baptized, too.”

Outside of the temple, staying in patron housing (a place for temple patrons who come from far away to stay overnight) was a special part of the Alcantar family’s Paris Temple visit. Sal shares that the family enjoyed serving and visiting with members of the Church from around the world:

“For one night, after dinner, we did service inside the patron housing. It was really cool for the kids to be able to serve, and then they got a chance to meet and talk, especially with the elderly Saints that were there.”

For 16-year-old Drezen, visiting the Sistine Chapel and the Rome Italy Temple on the same day was a testimony-fortifying experience. He says:

“Because the Sistine Chapel is a holy place, there is a certain reverence to it, and you do feel different. One day, we had a huge tour, and it was cool to see all that [history] and culture. But then, later that day, we went and visited the Rome Italy Temple, and the feeling was unmatched because the reverence and the Spirit were so strong. It was just another confirmation to me and a really good builder of my testimony.”

Fourteen-year-old Zander agrees that though he misses his friends while traveling, the trip has helped him make new connections and get closer to his family. “I love the temples and have met so many cool people traveling with my family and have a lot of fun memories,” he says.

The whole family also found their testimony and knowledge of the Bible grow as they spent time looking at the “Come Unto Me” window in the Rome Temple visitors’ center.

The Alcantar family at The Hague Netherlands Temple.
The Alcantar family at The Hague Netherlands Temple.
Courtesy of the Alcantar family

For Ange, an originally unplanned stop at The Hague Netherlands Temple strengthened her belief in eternal relationships and friendships. During their visit, they met another family in the baptistry whom they felt like they had known forever. In fact, they hit it off so well that both families rearranged their respective vacation plans to spend time together.

“They feel like family already, and that, to me, is essentially what the temple means: We have these connections that we're helping find and build through sealing ordinances. Yes, we're doing work on the other side of the veil, but it also helps us on this side of the veil.”

The Special 100th Temple

The Alcantar family knew they wanted their 100th temple visit to have extra significance, so they decided to leave Europe and head to the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple. Sal had served as a missionary in the Dominican Republic when Elder Richard G. Scott dedicated land for a temple, and it would also be the first time the entire family traveled there together.

There was a shortage of temple workers when they arrived, so the visit felt even more meaningful when Sal was able to volunteer his Spanish skills to help perform over 300 baptisms over several hours.

The Alcantar family at the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple.
The Alcantar family at the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple.
Courtesy of the Alcantar family

Sal describes the visit as an emotional experience, getting to help a new member coming to the temple for the first time as well as youth from various nearby islands who otherwise might not have been able to do as much temple work. “I was able to serve the Lord in the Dominican Republic in a different way,” he says. “The first time was for the living—the second time around was for the dead. It wasn’t the plan at all, but it really hit home.”

Plans for the Future

With children growing older and an extended family member facing terminal cancer, the future of the Alcantar family’s goal is somewhat in the air. Currently, the plan is for the children to return to school before Drezen, who will be a senior in high school, serves a mission.

“To be honest with you, I hoped we would be able to serve in all the temples by now,” Sal admits. “But they’re growing so quickly. Every time general conference is on and the prophet announces the new temples, we anticipate that probably more than most because we know that's going to be something that's an ongoing forever goal.”

With over 200 temples still ahead of them, the family may decide to visit temples individually to count toward their collective goal. But no matter what they decide, there is no doubt that this special focus has united each family member and prepared them for life ahead, including helping Drezen prepare for missionary work.

“Sometimes, I read the scriptures and see all these crazy miracles, and I think, ‘Oh, we don't really have it that much nowadays,’” Drezen explains. “But being able to personally go to 100 of our temples and having so many temples all around the whole world shows me the love that our God has for all His children on the earth now.”

No matter your situation, their family encourages everyone to find their way to the house of the Lord. Sal and Ange recognize that attending so many temples may not be a necessary or feasible approach for everyone, but they acknowledge that it has made the temple an important centerpiece in their family. And they both have a testimony that temple ordinances have a universal significance—regardless of the location. As Ange says:

“My advice would be to not take [temples] for granted, and if you have one close, to take advantage of it as often as you can. Because whether it's on the other side of the world or not, the ordinances are the same and that's the true power of the temple.”

▶You may also like: Identical twins called to serve in neighboring missions: “It was better than we could’ve hoped for”

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