“So You Rode A Hot Air Balloon To Church?”

Hot Air Balloon To Church


We all know how important Sabbath Day observance is to the Lord. This fun and remarkable story shared with us would be one such example of just how important:

“Years ago, my employer at the time, gave me a “Leadership Award” and sent my wife and I on a vacation to San Francisco, California. The planned Sunday activities included a Hot Air Balloon Ride over the beautiful Napa Valley north of San Francisco.  We both felt a little guilty about participating in this activity as we would be heading out into the countryside and would be missing our church meetings. While on vacation, we had always made a point of observing the Sabbath, and attending our church meetings, no matter where we were.

The balloon ride included my wife and I, two other people we did not previously know, and the pilot. The ride was beautiful but we felt some pain knowing we were not where we should be, not doing what we knew we should be doing.

As the balloon ride came to an end, the pilot slowly brought the balloon down and prepared to land at the designated spot.  However, as we came in to land, the winds picked up and pilot had to open up the burners and up we went.

The pilot scouted out another possible landing site–a neighborhood cul-de-sac.  On our approach to land, the winds picked up again and the pilot, for our safety, was forced to open the burners and up we went again.

At this point the pilot seemed a little concerned, which also caused us some concern.  She said that she had never drifted this far before, without being able to land.  The pilot again searched for a suitable place to land and spotted a large empty parking lot around a building.  As we got closer, we exclaimed, “That’s our church!!  We’re LDS. Mormons!”  We were all stunned.

As we prepared to land we shared some of our beliefs and how we felt guilty for not attending church that day.  We all laughed about how divinely guided the situation seemed to be.  We later learned this church building was the only church building in this largely rural area we had been flying over.

Shortly after we landed, cars began to arrive in the parking lot.  Sacrament meeting was about to begin and we had arrived on time!  One of our balloon mates took a picture of us in front of the church.  We invited all to attend church with us.  They were pleased that we had arrived in time to attend our church meetings, but kindly declined our invitation.

After the sacrament meeting a few of the kind members of the ward approached and asked, “So you rode to church in a hot air balloon?”  One was the Ward Mission Leader, a calling that I had at the time. He shared some ideas about what was working in their ward and when I returned home, we implemented some of those same ideas in our Ward in Round Rock, Texas.

Needless to say this experience caused us to re-evaluate our attitude toward Sabbath day observance. Indeed it solidified our testimony.  Who do you think was in reality piloting that balloon?  

In the April 2015 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson taught, ‘I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father.’ I simply asked myself: What sign do I want to give to God?’ ”


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