Saturday was a day of celebration, new beginnings and a bit of shovel work for Chilean Latter-day Saints.
Work officially commenced on the future Concepción Chile Temple with the traditional groundbreaking ceremony. Elder Walter F. González of the Seventy and president of the South America South Area, presided over the event and offered the dedicatory prayer on the temple site.
His second counselor, Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the Seventy, joined him Saturday, Oct. 17.
Local Church and civic leaders also attended the groundbreaking ceremony. The event was broadcast live, via the Internet, to meetinghouses throughout Chile.
Elder González called Saturday “a great day” for both members and non-members across this South American nation. The building of Chile’s second temple (the first was opened in Santiago in 1983) will allow members throughout the greater Concepción region to draw closer to their families and the Lord.
“The temple is a place of instruction, revelation and covenants,” said Elder González in remarks prior to the dedicatory prayer.
Temples such as the one to be built in Concepción, he added, can help people understand their purpose in life. They can better understand why things happen.
“The temple can help us say, ‘I am a disciple of Christ.’ ”
Elder González challenged the members to prepare for the covenants of the temple by being “a person of your word” in their day-to-day lives. If, say, one commits to be at a Church meeting at 5 p.m. — then be at that meeting by 5 p.m.
Strive to become followers of Christ and His teachings, he taught. Observing the Sabbath is key to preparing for the priceless covenants made in the temple.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder González offered gratitude for the many men and women who will take part in the building of Concepción’s first temple. He gave thanks for the restoration of Christ’s gospel and His priesthood. He invoked blessings of hope and protection on the members and their neighbors.
Elder Teixeira noted the beauty of the day in central Chile — and the beauty of the many gathered for the groundbreaking events.
The future temple, he said, will allow families to claim the Lord’s greatest blessings as they are sealed together. “Not just for this life, but for all eternity. That’s why temples are so important.”
Prepare to enter the temple by first building faith in Christ, he said.
The temple can help unify families and people of all backgrounds, said Elder González’s wife, Sister Zulma González.
Few people will participate in the actual building of the Concepción temple, she said. But everyone can be “spiritual builders” of the new temple by offering their lives to the Lord. Forgive one another, pray for each other, take time for scripture study and offer a stranger a smile and a comforting word.
Elder Teixeira’s wife, Sister Maria Filomena Teixeira, spoke of the joy she has felt watching her own family serve and worship inside the temple.
The temple, she said, is a place of “peace, love and joy.”
A local member, Sister Jacquelin Ferreira, shared her testimony and challenged her fellow Latter-day Saints in Chile to prepare for the Concepcion temple through family history work.
Elder Hernan D. Ferreira, an Area Seventy and a Concepción resident, conducted Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony. A choir of local members provided music for the event.
Following the dedicatory prayer, Elder González, Elder Teixeira and the other visiting guests and dignitaries grabbed shovels and participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking. Members in attendance were also invited to turn the soil, commemorating the beginning of the temple construction period.