MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay "A new era for Uruguay," began with groundbreaking ceremonies for the Montevideo Uruguay Temple, held April 27 under the direction of Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Elder Scott, a former missionary in Uruguay, said, "When the House of the Lord is completed, it will have an impact on all the nation. I have seen it in other nations, where members have eagerly attended the temple. The Spirit that comes affects not just the members, but all of the nation. This is a day of tremendous importance for Uruguay."
Elder Scott was accompanied by Elder Carlos H. Amado of the Seventy and president of the South America South Area, who conducted the ceremony and offered the site dedicatory prayer. Others who spoke included Elder Antonio Cappi, an Area Authority Seventy; Pres. Romulo Cabrera of the Montevideo Uruguay West Stake; and Daniel Martinez, one of the early local missionaries. A youth chorus performed at the ceremony.
Some 900 people attended, including Church and community leaders and members residing nearby.
There are about 70,000 members in Uruguay, a nation that has not yet reached 3 million in population. This was the third country in South America to receive the gospel, following Argentina and Brazil.
The temple site is located on property not far from the center of the city on Avenida San Carlos de Bolivar. The property, acquired by the Church in the 1960s and known locally as "Mormon grounds," is occupied by two mission headquarters, a distribution center and Church offices. Site work for the temple began just one day after the groundbreaking.
In his address, Elder Scott remembered his missionary experiences. "Forty-eight years ago, I stepped down from a boat in Montevideo and began a stage in my life that I have treasured." He expressed appreciation to those in attendance for their faithful lives, and noted that "you represent a much larger number of members. Where I once served as president of the Montevideo District, now I see many worthy families, many missionaries, many stakes in the blossoming of the work. I am grateful to the Lord for what was done; it is as leaven for the entire country. I pray that the Lord will be with you in your preparations to enjoy the blessings of the temple."
Elder Amado said, "For the adults, this is the completion of a dream, but for the children it is a start of a new era. Those who are pioneers have seen much, but the most fantastic things the pioneers have seen will not be anything compared with that which the children here will see. They will see much more, and they will do much more than the pioneer members.
"The temple will be constructed for you to serve your many ancestors. Filled with faith, they came to this land and founded this nation with the desire to know God and worship Him in liberty. Many of these immigrants were guided by the Spirit of the Lord to come to this land; many of them do not have the gospel, but their names exist, and the work for their redemption is accelerating."