In many countries, great efforts made to attend the temple

As LDS temples continue to dot the world, more and more members are able to experience the blessings of temple worship, and many relate special, tender moments.

The Church News is publishing pictures of the temples, along with a vignette relating to each temple. This is part 4 of the series and features temples in Mexico, Central and South America.

Bogota Colombia Temple

Announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley on April 7, 1984.

Ground broken June 26, 1993, by Elder William R. Bradford.

Located in the Niza section of Bogota, about 10 miles from downtown.

Status: Pending government approvals to begin construction.

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - The Bogota Colombia Temple is expected to proceed in the not-to-distant-future after final government approvals are received, according to Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy, president of the South America South Area.

The long wait between the announcement of the temple and the groundbreaking, which was held last year, however, has given many of the members time to prepare family history work to be done when the temple is completed.

To help them, a missionary couple, Elder Macrey Call and his wife, Sister Carol Call, have worked with members in every ward and stake in Bogota, assisting them to fill out family history records, and preparing them for temple work.

"So with their focus on personal worthiness, there is a renewed spirit and increased interest in what they can do to invite the blessings of heaven on them and to accelerate the authorizations so that we can begin construction," said Elder Jensen.

"Under the direction of the area presidency, local leaders are encouraging members to prepare themselves by obtaining a temple recommend, even though they may not have the resources to go to Lima, which is the nearest temple.

"Stakes continue to contract with buses to make the five- or six-day trip each way to the Lima Peru Temple."

Leaders are also beginning to establish family history centers where members can do research on their family lines.

"Our previous area presidency laid a marvelous foundation on what is commonly known here as `Conversion to the Lord' by emphasizing personal and family prayer, and personal and family scripture study every day. That foundation is solidly in place and we are just really pleased with the attitude and spirit of the members.

Buenos Aires Argentina Temple

Ground broken April 20, 1983, by Elder Bruce R. McConkie.

Dedicated Jan. 17, 1986, by President Thomas S. Monson.

Located in the suburb of Ciudad Evita, southwest of Buenos Aires.

Modern adaptation of earlier six-spired design.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - Primary children all over the world were studying about the temple in 1993. It was the same in Argentina. We had groups of Primary children visit us every Saturday during the entire year.

One Saturday, we had a visit that touched the lives of those in the temple that day. Two large tour buses pulled up at the curb. We could see children alighting and forming rows, with three in a row, holding hands and slowly moving toward the temple gates. There were nearly 100 of them, and they were singing, "We love to see the temple."

All were dressed in white, the girls in long dresses with white ribbons in their hair, and the boys in white trousers and white shirts. The leaders accompanying them were also dressed in white. As the children entered the temple annex, they stopped singing and moved with great reverence toward the annex room where they were to assemble.

We noticed the details of their preparation. Each child was also wearing white shoes or had white terry cloth shoe covers. Each was carrying a booklet that he or she had made that had a picture of the temple on the front, and special things inside, such as a copy of the dedicatory prayer offered by President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency; the history of the temple and the site; teachings about the temple; and his or her own impressions of the temple.

Not a word was spoken. During a short service, the children, ages 3-12, gave the prayers, testimonies and sang. As we invited them to return to the temple to be sealed with their families and receive their own ordinances, the love in the room was overflowing. As each child left, still completely reverent, each one gave me and my wife, Joanne, a kiss on the cheek.

These children returned home and bore their testimonies in their wards. We have since heard reports of several of the testimonies. In addition, several of the children have returned with their families to be sealed in the temple. - Pres. Rodolfo Mortensen and Sister Joanne Mortensen, temple matron, Buenos Aires Argentina Temple

Guatemala City Temple

Ground broken Sept. 12, 1982, by Elder Richard G. Scott.

Dedicated Dec. 14, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located at the base of the hills in southeastern Guatemala City.

Modern adaptation of earlier six-spired design.

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA - Since its dedication in 1984, the Guatemala City Temple has blessed the lives of thousands of faithful members. Indeed, the impact and influence of the temple in the lives of the members can be measured in the increasing number of stakes and missions. In 1984 there were eight stakes and two missions in Guatemala. At the end of 1993, there were 24 stakes and four missions in this country.

We have seen the influence and spiritual impact of the temple as the many indigenous groups come for their sacred ordinances: Mam, Kekchi, Quiche, Pocoman, Cakchiqel, Sutuil and others who are direct descendants of the ancient Lamanites.

One of the most beautiful sights one can enjoy in the temple is to watch these pure Lamanites, indigenous to the country, come to claim the blessings that by royal birthright belong to them. All the temple workers know that they are special; they have such a strong spirit that the temple's atmosphere changes when they walk in. We have never seen people as reverent, humble, and with such spirituality as these "true Lamanites." To see them arrive, a little nervous and full of expectations - many times not even understanding or speaking Spanish - and after a few hours to see them leave with the brightness of eternity shining in their eyes is the most rewarding feeling one can have working in the temple.

Two responses demonstrate the impact of these ordinances:

"After being in this holy building, I have been able to better understand the order of things pertaining to eternal life," said one indigenous brother. "I have understood that if we desire we can be instruments in the hands of God to bless the lives of others on this or the other side of the veil."

Another patron commented, "As I ponder the privilege we have, as part of the children of God, to receive through correct channels and from authorized servants the saving ordinances, I cannot go forward without thanking Heavenly Father for the opportunity to partake of them."

We are also touched by the great sacrifices made by many of the Saints who come. Saints from Honduras and Nicaragua spend from 14 to 32 hours on a bus to get to the temple. A sister ordinance worker spends two hours or more by bus to get to the temple and takes in washing on other days so she will have the money needed for her bus fare. She seldom misses a day and is always on time. - Pres. Owen Dean Call, Guatemala City Temple

Guayaquil Ecuador Temple

Announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley on March 31, 1982.

Status: Pending government approvals to begin construction.

GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR - The Guayaquil Ecuador Temple is awaiting government authorization before construction plans can begin, but in the meantime members are continuing to make great sacrifices to travel by bus to the Lima Peru Temple, said Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy and president of the South America North Area.

"Many stakes, if not all, continue to have their excursions to Lima, which take three days one way, and then they spend one day or two in the temple. Then they come back, another three days on the bus.

"We just marvel at their faith. It almost makes you weep when you see the sacrifices they make in order to go to the temple for their one time. Some will return during their lifetime, but not many."

He said the area presidency encourages all members in the district to have temple recommends, even though they may not have economic resources to travel to Peru.

Lima Peru Temple

Ground broken Sept. 11, 1982, by Elder Boyd K. Packer.

Dedicated Jan. 10, 1986, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Modern adaptation of earlier six-spired design.

Located in the Molina section, in southwestern Lima.

LIMA, PERU - From the many invitations I receive from the units around Peru, I often have the opportunity to speak to the members about going to the temple and doing vicarious work and receiving the sacred covenants that are given in the House of the Lord.

On Nov. 6, 1993, I had the blessing to speak to members in the chapel of Tullumayo in the center of the Cuzco Stake, in the beautiful city of Cuzco, a city of archaeological significance and excellent Inca culture. It is also the home of ancestors of millennia ago who desired to serve the Lord.

Afterwards, I was approached by an enthusiastic brother of about 64 years of age who had captured the vision in his mind of going to the temple. He felt a strong desire to save money and travel to Lima. He set a goal to go with a group of 40 from the Cuzco area who were planning to go the following April.

That April, when the group from Cuzco arrived, among them was this persevering brother. When I saw him, I couldn't help but extend my arms to greet him with a hug. I asked how he had been able to come and he related to me the following account:

"After I listened to your words, my family and I met in family home evening and made the commitment to travel to the temple. We found a box in which to save the necessary money for my wife, my two youngest sons and me to receive our ordinances and be sealed to each other and our deceased ancestors.

"After the passing of several months we had collected by a united effort, [Peruvian] sole by sole, the amount of 150 soles (about $55 U.S.). We considered this to be sufficient to purchase our tickets for passage.

"Then my married daughter visited with the pleasant surprise of a gift to us of 100 soles to use for buying our food and temple clothing. We estimated now that we would have enough for food. We were very pleased to receive this help and were excited and ready to begin.

"However, the trip would be long and difficult, and my health has been deteriorating. We expected to travel to the city of Juliaca one day, sleep in that city, and ride a train all the next day and night until we reached the city of Arequipa. From there we would take a bus for about 17 hours to complete our journey. Nevertheless, we felt we would experience a great peace to be able to complete this long journey.

"As we prepared to buy these tickets, you can imagine our great surprise when our oldest married son told us that such a trip would not be good for my health. He unselfishly went to a travel agency and bought four round-trip airplane tickets for us. This was a blessing of an indescribable nature for us."

"Now president," said this brother, "I feel that the money we have left should be given to our stake president to help the others who are not as fortunate as we."

These types of accounts touch us profoundly and show our gratitude for a home where the family sacrificed and was filled with faith to achieve its objectives. - Pres. Isidoro Villanueva, Lima Peru Temple

Mexico City Temple

Ground broken Nov. 25, 1979, by Elder Boyd K. Packer.

Dedicated Dec. 2, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in the Aragon section of Mexico City, near a park and zoological gardens.

Design is a modern adaptation of of ancient Mayan architecture, especially upper portion.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - It is always a sweet experience when a family of converts comes to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. However, the sealing of a husband and wife from the group of people often classified as "field workers" is a particularly sweet, tender and beautiful experience.

When the ordinance is performed, the sealer gives to the husband and wife this invitation with these words: "You may now kiss over the altar."

These words are particularly meaningful and memorable for couples from this walk of life. In the majority of cases, for cultural and social reasons, such couples have never been the center of attention, nor had such beautiful words spoken to them as they hear in the sealing.

The wife perhaps in the past felt a tinge of envy as she saw a bride adorned for a formal wedding because life never gave her the opportunity to do more than dream of wearing such clothing. And now, though the comeliness of her youth has faded, she is actually experiencing that once-remote possibility.

Within the beautiful sealing room, she and her husband are respected and are the subject of great tenderness. The husband, perhaps, feels excited for the prospects of the future.

This mixture of actions and reactions at the altar are indescribable, penetrating the couple's souls, minds, and spirits.

In most cases, after the sealing, the couple stand and embrace, leaning their heads on each other's shoulders, weeping.

They weep and rejoice at the culmination of the most sublime ordinances on earth. Their separate threads of life have been tied together, to form a union without beginning or end, an eternal union between the man and wife. And the binding of threads seems also to have been sealed by their love." - Pres. Agricol Lozano Herrera, Mexico City Temple

Santiago Chile Temple

Ground broken, May 30, 1981, by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Dedication Sept. 15, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in the Providencia suburb of Santiago at former site of Church school.

Modern design.

SANTIAGO, CHILE - A heavy rainstorm fell during the day when the ground was to be broken for the Santiago Chile Temple and the site dedicated.

This occasion brought the hope of the years closer to being realized - a temple was to be constructed in our land. It was to be a house sacred and consecrated to the work of the Lord that transcended our mortal lives.

As we left our home to go to the groundbreaking ceremony, the rain grew more intense. The thunderclaps resounded in our ears, making the windows vibrate. The rain fell without ceasing, leading me to ponder about the tremendous potency of the thunderclaps that rolled down from the mountains, more powerful than we had ever experienced before.

The voice of God in thunder, I thought, potent, clear and powerful. It seemed as if it were announcing through nature that this great work would begin in a few moments.

The strength of the rain also proved the faith of the Saints, who ever since the announcement that a prophet would come and dedicate the temple site, had been preparing to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Upon arriving at the temple site, I was able to see the faith of my brothers and sisters, many of whom did not have hats or umbrellas. On this torrential May morning, thousands and thousands of them stood waiting for the sublime moment that the site would be dedicated for the temple.

The rain continued to fall with force. All those present stoically waited for the ceremony to begin. As they waited, a choir sang beautiful hymns in the rainfall. Their clothing was soaked, but none moved from his place, even as the rain increased. We sang and we rejoiced in the experience.

A great surprise was waiting for the Saints. As President Spencer W. Kimball arose from his seat to address the members, from among the dark clouds came a ray of sunshine, followed by others. Soon the clouds parted and bright sunshine warmed all those present.

Two years later, the Santiago Temple, with the statue of the Angel Moroni crowning its spire, was completed. Through all these years we remember the hope expressed beneath the rain; it was a true joy, something very special; we felt the presence of the Spirit of the Lord. All were inundated with warmth and happiness inside. - Rodolfo Acevedo Acevedo, Chile area historian.

Sao Paulo Temple

Ground broken March 20, 1976, by Elder James E. Faust.

Dedicated Oct. 30, 1978, by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Located in the Butanta section of Sao Paulo.

Modern design with Spanish architecture influence.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - The temple now is very busy. Attending the temple makes an impact in the lives of those who attend. It strengthens them spiritually. We have the testimonies of many brothers and sisters, who after being in the temple, are comforted and feel at peace emotionally, especially if they go to the temple when they are having trouble in their lives. Sometimes I can feel the change in their lives just from when they arrive and talk to the president, and when they leave and they talk to the president.

Despite the difficulties of travel, temple attendance has risen sharply in the past few years. Two years ago, attendance increased by almost one-third. Last year, we had an increase of about one-fourth.

The district of our temple includes Brazil, Paraguay and parts of Bolivia. Because this district is so vast, travel is often very difficult for those who live in the distant parts. Some of them must travel more than a thousand miles to reach the temple. Those who come from the Amazon city of Manaus, for example, traveled three days by boat and five days by bus to traverse the broad width of much of South America.

Others make similar efforts. Some time ago, a family came to our temple from Paraguay. They were a very poor family, and they came by bus. Unfortunately the bus they were on passed by the temple and they didn't notice. So they remained on the bus until it arrived at the central bus terminal.

When the bus stopped, they got off, but they didn't have enough money to take a second bus back to the temple.

And so they walked. It is quite a ways to the temple - more than 17 miles. Only the father had footwear, and he was wearing homemade thongs. The children didn't have shoes. It was quite a sacrifice for them.

They walked for a long time. When they finally arrived at the temple, they were so happy. They didn't ask for anything. They just wanted to enter the House of the Lord and be sealed together as a family.

After they received their sealing, the other members in Brazil collected clothing and shoes, and gave them to the family. The family returned to Paraguay rejoicing in their blessings of attending the temple at whatever cost. - Pres. Athos Marques de Amorim, Sao Paulo Temple

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