BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
The renovation of a temple is typically a mixed blessing for members living in the impacted temple district.
Having to close a temple for a period of time presents, of course, a spiritual and sometimes logistical challenge for faithful temple worshippers. For one, the closure will mean many will not be able to attend the temple for an extended period of time.
Even those who enjoy the means to travel to another temple somewhere else in the world must overcome scheduling difficulties and typically an increased financial hardship.
So when the Church announced in 2009 that the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple would close at the end of that year, many scrambled to spend a few precious final days serving in the edifice before the arrival of the closure date.
But the closure period has offered members a special, even sacred, period to rededicate their own lives to the Lord — a symbolic process that is coinciding with the upcoming reopening of the temple.
Originally dedicated in 1986 by President Thomas S. Monson, then second counselor in the First Presidency, Argentina's one and only temple has been well utilized for more than 30 years. The renovation project was necessary to upgrade the building's mechanical systems and to bring the beloved temple up to current standards.
The Buenos Aires Argentina Temple was officially closed on Nov. 1, 2009. Almost three years have passed and Argentine members are anxious to return. An extended open house period began on Aug. 4, allowing members and their friends and neighbors to tour the temple and relish its singular spirit. The open house will continue through Aug. 25. The temple will then be rededicated on Sunday, Sept. 9, in three sessions. Members throughout the country will be able to participate in the ceremonies via closed circuit broadcasts in stake and district meetinghouses.
The young members of Argentina will play a pivotal role in the approaching temple rededication activities. For months they have been preparing to perform in an Argentine cultural celebration of music and dance. The cultural event will be staged at an area venue the evening before the dedication.
The work of temple building in this Andean nation is not limited to the capital city. The Cordoba Argentina Temple is under construction in the northern section of the country following groundbreaking activities in October of 2010.
Buenos Aires enjoys a special place in Church history, especially in South America. On Christmas Day in 1925, Elder Melvin J. Ballard stood in a park in the capital city and dedicated South America for the preaching of the gospel.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Ballard prophesied that South America would grow like a towering oak stretching across the continent and becoming a power in the Church. The apostle's words have certainly been realized. South America is home to millions of members and dozens of temples. Argentina, meanwhile, is home to almost 400,000 members and more than five dozen stakes.