New training center dedicated in Peru -- Leaders asked to raise worthy generation

Spacious and attractive, a new three-story missionary training center here was dedicated Sept. 3 by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve.

The new center, in the La Molina district of Lima near the temple, has the capacity to house some 150 missionaries who will come primarily from Peru and Bolivia, the two nations that comprise the new South America West Area.Until this center was completed, the training of missionaries was conducted in a large home that had been adapted to this use by the addition of extra rooms. Even this proved to be insufficient for the 70 missionaries at the center, however, and classes were often held outside in the garden.

As large as it is, the new facility will be outgrown in a short time, said Church leaders in Peru. Further expansion may be needed in the future.

Elder Nelson, who was accompanied at the dedicatory service by his wife, Dantzel, spoke to a capacity congregation of some 1,200 Peruvian priesthood leaders and their wives.

In attendance at the service were the presidency of the South America West Area, Elders Richard J. Maynes, Ned B. Roueche and Juan Uceda of the Seventy, and their wives, and Pres. Joseph W. Cook of the Peru Missionary Training Center and his wife, Enid.

Also attending were the six Area Authority Seventies serving in the South America West Area, the presidents of all 33 stakes in Lima, and more than 300 bishops in Lima. Most of the leaders were accompanied by their wives.

Those who addressed the gathering were Elder Nelson, Elder Maynes, Pres. Cook and Pres. Abel Gonzalez of the Lima Peru La Molina Stake.

Also in attendance at the dedication were a number of government leaders and dignitaries, as well as some of the residents living in the vicinity of the center.

In his remarks, Elder Nelson charged the many local leaders "to take the responsibility to raise up a generation of young people worthy of participation as missionaries, worthy to teach and testify of the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Ours is the responsibility to teach peace on earth and good will among men," he explained. "Ours is the responsibility to teach people to love God and to love their neighbors as themselves."

Elder Nelson said that "the great example for this generation will be in the home, and next will be what we teach in Church. So in a way, this great building that we will dedicate tonight is a supplement to the home."

He added that "every one of our homes is a missionary training center. We will put on the finishing touches here."

Elder Nelson also expressed appreciation to the government leaders from Peru and the city of Lima who attended the dedicatory service.

He explained that the practice of dedicating a building followed the pattern of the Bible, wherein King Solomon offered a dedicatory prayer on the temple he built.

"Now, in these days of the Church, we dedicate important buildings when they are completed," said Elder Nelson.

In his dedicatory prayer, which he delivered in Spanish, Elder Nelson expressed gratitude "for this nation of Peru. The American hemisphere has been preserved in these latter days for an inheritance of the lineage of Joseph, son of Israel.

"This land is rich with the blood of Israel," he said, and is a land of promise that will sustain them "as long as they worship the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ."

Elder Nelson petitioned that the people of Peru would come to understand the divine destiny of their land. "Bless them that they will be able to live in liberty and peace, in faith without fear."

Also in the prayer, Elder Nelson asked that the center would become "a place of hope for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and a place of refuge from the storms of life."

In his address, Elder Maynes reviewed four questions that come to mind when dedicating a missionary training facility such as this one: First, "Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so dedicated to missionary work?" Second, "Who are these young people who serve?" Third, "What do the missionaries do?" And fourth, "What responsibility do we have as parents and leaders regarding this great work?"

In answer to all four of these questions, Elder Maynes described the principle of sharing that is mentioned by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."

This principle is a contrast to the ways of the world, he said.

"For example in sports, when one wins, others must lose. In business, when one succeeds, one must best his competitors. In politics, to be elected to office, one candidate must win while the other loses.

"However, the Lord through His ministry and example taught the opposite viewpoint. The Savior taught that to ultimately succeed by gaining eternal life, one must help one's spouse, children and neighbor to win first.

"Through His ministry and ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ clearly taught us that before thinking of Himself, He was first dedicated to the success and happiness of all His brothers and sisters. This is the reason why the Church is so dedicated to missionary work."

Elder Maynes described the young men and women who come to the missionary training centers as, "the pure in heart," and the best youth in all the world. "They teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and give thousands of hours of Christian service to the local communities of the world."

The local leadership of the Church, he said, has the responsibility to help find and retain those who join the Church.

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