Surrounded by the lush greenery typical of Honduran cloud forest, San Pedro Sula native Elder José Bernardo Hernández, an Area Seventy, gave brief remarks and then offered a dedicatory prayer to commemorate the beginning of construction of the San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple.
Although few were able to attend the special event held Saturday, Sept. 5, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the simple yet sacred ceremony was live-streamed to members throughout the region.
The San Pedro Sula temple will be the second temple in the Central American nation. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then second counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple in March 2013.
In his remarks, Elder Hernández said Honduran Latter-day Saints will be blessed, not only by the finished temple, but also as they prepare for its completion. “Personal preparation [to go to the temple] will bring to our lives many unimaginable blessings, such as eternal life and uniting the family for eternity,” he said.
He encouraged parents to teach their children the importance of following God’s commandments and youth to attend the temple often to participate in ordinances. He also invited children to keep their sights on and always qualify to enter “the House of the Lord.”
During his visit to dedicate the Tegucigalpa temple, President Uchtdorf recognized three characteristics that are typical of Honduran members that make them a natural fit for the temple: First, they have a love of God. Second, they have a love of family. And third, they have a love of country.
Elder Carlos H. Amado, a native Central American who was then serving as a General Authority Seventy, also commented during the temple dedication on the economic and security instability faced by members in the area. But the Lord’s gospel offers hope and peace — and the temple is the house of the Lord.
“The temple teaches us that life is not a tragedy,” said Elder Amado. “The temple teaches us that life is an opportunity.”
At the time the temple was announced in April 2019 general conference, Latter-day Saint and San Pedro Sula resident Roger Zavala said he felt his heart would burst with joy when he heard President Russell M. Nelson announce that his country’s second temple would be built in his hometown.
“Our hearts are filled with joy knowing that so many faithful members here are helping to make this temple possible through their faithfulness and service,” he said. “Both our families on earth and our relatives on the other side of the veil will be blessed for eternity.”
In 1980, Church membership in Honduras was 6,300. Today, there are four missions and roughly 180,000 Church members in 239 congregations.
It took almost seven years from the time the Church announced the Tegucigalpa temple to its completion. The members, however, showed patience and perseverance during that time. For several decades they traveled roughly 400 miles to the temple in Guatemala City, an eight- or more-hour bus ride. The completion of the Central American nation’s first temple cut the travel time in half for many members outside of Tegucigalpa, so ward or stake temple trips could be planned for just one day. Because of savings in time and bus fare, the cost was cut by 90 percent. With the temple in San Pedro Sula, it will be reduced even more.
The San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple will serve Latter-day Saints in the Atlántida, Bay Islands, Colón, Copán, Cortés, Lempira, Ocotepeque and Santa Bárbara subdivisions of Honduras.