Puerto Rico prepares for new temple and the Christmas season with #LightTheWorld celebration

With song, dance and story-telling, members of the Church in San Juan ‘light the world’ and look forward to a new temple

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Puerto Rico recently held an event not only to look forward to their new temple, but also to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.

A Light the World concert was held on Nov. 5 and posted on the Church’s Caribbean Area YouTube channel on Dec. 12. While celebrating Puerto Rican roots through songs and cultural dances, the program also focused on the Savior and sharing His light. 

The show centered around six characters in different circumstances, who, through prayer, asked God to help them find solutions and share light with others. Music and dance groups were interspersed through each scene. 

Elder Jorge M. Alvarado, a General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the Caribbean Area presidency, attended the event with his wife, Sister Carilú Alvarado. Also in attendance were San Juan Puerto Rico Temple President Justo Casablanca and his wife, Sister Lucy Casablanca.

Elder Tomás G. Román, an Area Seventy, was the concluding speaker. He told the audience in the theater of the University of Puerto Rico how Light the World is an invitation to transform Christmas into a season of service. 

“It is a worldwide movement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that invites us to do the things that Jesus did. Feed the hungry, comfort the lonely, visit the sick and afflicted, and show kindness to all people,” Elder Román said. “Light the World is the perfect way to make our light and your light shine brightly; we can all do something here on our beautiful island of enchantment.”

A youth choir made of members of the Church sings during a Light the World concert in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 5, 2022 and broadcast Dec. 12, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He also spoke of the new temple, which will be dedicated on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. The temple is more than a chapel or a building, “it is a sacred place,” he said, and he invited all in the audience to attend the open house

“Come to the temple, know for yourselves what the temple is and what it means for us. It’s the house of the Lord,” he said. 

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The people of Puerto Rico have gone through hurricanes, earthquakes and other challenges in the past few years. But in a visit to the island in September 2018, President Russell M. Nelson gave a promise. 

“As you individually grow to become more of the person God wants you to be, you can know for yourself that better days are ahead for the people of Puerto Rico,” he said, speaking to the Puerto Rican Saints in their native Spanish language. “You can face your tomorrows with great optimism, knowing that the best days of your life are ahead for you and for your loved ones.”

The Latter-day Saint Puerto Rico Choir and Estacas Dance Group with the collaboration of Kamilla’s Dance Studio perform during a Light the World program in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 5, 2022 and broadcast online on Dec. 12. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Idaliz Santiago, who helped organize the Light the World program, said so many people contributed and had a part to play, and God helped them with it.

“The Lord wanted to test our faith and refine our spirit, she said. “There were many hours of rehearsal and the spiritual experiences that we lived. ... We hope those who participated felt the same.”

A scene of a family happily reunited and celebrating Christmas during a Light the World program in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 5, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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