Guatemala training center dedicated

A new missionary training center and temple patron housing for the Central America Area was dedicated Jan. 22 by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve.

The new facility of 36,400 square feet will accommodate 102 missionaries and about 112 temple patrons and seven temple missionary couples.Among those attending the dedication ceremony were 41 newly called missionaries from Central American countries, the first class to trained at the new facility.

In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Packer asked a blessing upon all those who would be trained at the center. He also petitioned that the nation and peoples of Guatemala would have the necessities of life.

Although Guatemala has experienced economic discontent typical of many developing nations in recent years, the Church continues to grow here at approximately 8 percent each year.

Elder Packer counseled the youth to appreciate the difficult challenges in life because it is from these that growth comes. He recalled earlier visits to Guatemala when he dedicated various meetinghouses in villages of indigenous groups. He also recalled being at the dedication of the Guatemala City Temple.

Elder Packer, who was accompanied by his wife, Donna, was in Guatemala City to preside over a regional conference that was attended by some 6,000 members and included a leadership session for 700 priesthood leaders.

In attendance at the dedication ceremony were Elder Robert E. Wells and his wife, Helen, and Elder Joseph C. Muren and his wife, Gladys. Elders Wells and Muren are members of the Seventy and counselors in the area presidency. Pres. Boyd Fenn, missionary training center president, and his wife, Della, also attended the ceremony. Pres. Fenn has supervised the training center for the past two years in a temporary facility. A week following the dedication, he was succeeded by Elder Milton Wille.

Pres. Owen D. and Sister and Barbara Call, temple president and matron, also participated in the service. The congregation was made up of some 400 priesthood leaders and their wives.

The new facility was started in July 1992. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the Seventy, then area president, commented, "From a humble group of six men in Guatemala 40 years ago, we have grown to more than 268,000 members in Central America.

"Although we have seen much, we will see more," he said at that time.

Membership in the seven nations of Central America is now nearly 300,000.

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