On Oct. 15, more than 22,000 Chilean Latter-day Saints gathered in an open stadium located in Santiago to commemorate with a cultural program the 50th anniversary of the creation of the first Chilean mission. The event was broadcast to all the stakes in Chile and selected stake centers in the United States.
Even though the first missionary of the Church arrived in Chile in 1851, when President Brigham Young sent Elder Parley P. Pratt, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, to preach the gospel to the people of this country, it wasn't until 1956 that the missionary work was formally established in Chile.
Latter-day Saints from Chile love their heritage, so the youth were excited to celebrate this Church milestone for Chile with a cultural program in which more than 3,000 of them presented a play depicting different historical episodes of the Americas along with the development of the Church in Chile. Music and dances from three continents were included with beautiful costumes designed and made by parents and volunteers.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy and president of the Chile Area noted: "I felt deep gratitude and inspiration to watch this event, not only for the multitude of youth participating, but also for what each of them represented, for what each of them added to the show, for the light that each of them manifested. Because we believe in Christ, we follow His example. The show was simply spectacular and way beyond our expectations."
Javiera Núñez, a 14-year-old Mia Maid, presented an Argentine dance along with 40 friends her age.
"It was a marvelous experience to participate with so many other members of the Church and to see there are many of my faith with similar beliefs," said Javiera. "I felt excited to dance in front of such a multitude."
Maria José Pedreros, along with her dance partner, Yessenia Arévalo, agreed, saying, "It was great to perform what we learned during the rehearsals. We felt a great desire to invite more youth to be part of something so fabulous as this."
Among the attendees was Chilean Parliament member Marcelo Schilling. "It was as amazing as an Olympic Games inauguration," he said.
Claudio Radonich, who attended the event on behalf of the president of the Republic of Chile, added, "How surprising it was to see all these young people, so many in number and so well coordinated in dancing, doing these kind of things."