SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
Just six weeks after President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Panama City Panama Temple, construction began on another future temple in Central America.
On Sept. 20, members of the Central America Area Presidency and their wives each turned a shovel of soil, signaling the beginning of construction on the San Salvador El Salvador Temple. Once completed, the new temple will be the first of its kind in El Salvador.
Area President Don R. Clarke of the Seventy presided at the groundbreaking ceremony. He was joined by his counselors, Elder Enrique R. Falabella and Elder Shirley D. Christensen of the Seventy. The men were accompanied by their wives — Sister Mary Anne Clarke, Sister Blanca Lidia Falabella and Sister Marlene Christensen.
Some 600 people found shelter from the day's pouring rain under awnings and umbrellas. Elder Clarke counseled the members to return to their homes following the groundbreaking ceremony and meditate on the events of the day, according to Liz de Behner of Church public affairs in El Salvador.
"I'm going to write in my journal about what I have seen here today," Elder Clarke said.
Elder Falabella and Elder Christensen also spoke at the ceremony.
On Nov. 18, 2007, the First Presidency announced plans to build a temple in El Salvador. That was joyous news for the some 100,000 Salvadoran members. For many years, LDS Salvadorans have had to make the long-distance journey to the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple. Such temple excursions have exacted much personal sacrifice. Members have also had to deal with a rise in highway robberies.
Still, local priesthood leaders noted an increase in the number of Salvadorans who regularly attend the temple.
Central America is quickly becoming synonymous with temple building. The temple being constructed in El Salvador is one of six such edifices either operating, announced or being built in the Central America Area. The Guatemala City Guatemala Temple was dedicated in 1984. The San Jose Costa Rica Temple opened some 16 years later. On Aug. 10, the Panama City Panama Temple was dedicated in four sessions. Meanwhile, construction continues on the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple and the future Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple is awaiting groundbreaking.