The dedication was done in three sessions at 9:00 am, 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm. It was a very full day for everyone. It was so amazing to walk into the chapel full of people and feel the reverence that was there. I was so impressed. You could not hear one person talking. As soon as we sat down, I had the same peaceful feeling that I always have in the temple and I knew that we really were an extension of the House of the Lord. We don't have the opportunity to attend the temple often, so it gave me great joy to feel that wonderful feeling. There was a video going of pictures of temples and scenes from the inside with the tabernacle choir singing hymns. Finally, the scene changed to the Celestial room of the Trujillo Temple and it was almost like we were there. It was so beautiful!
All of the Stake Presidents in the entire temple district and their wives were invited to attend. All of the wives of the General Authorities were also in attendance. Each session had a choir of local Saints. The music was inspiring. The morning session began with Elder Bednar conducting. First, of course, was the Cornerstone Sealing Ceremony which is always fun to watch. All of the General Authorities and their wives contributed to the sealing of the mortar. President Uchtdorf directed this and his comments were always positive! Every now and then he would throw in some Spanish words, so then the translator would speak in English. It was great. Five children were asked to come and add some mortar and the Peruvian Saints were very excited about that. They took pictures of two little girls who were so beautiful and precious!
We had the priviledge of listening to the Temple President and his wife, the matron, Pres. Uceda and Pres. Uchtdorf. I was so impressed with the sweet testimonies of the Temple President and his wife. She shared the story of her conversion of when "the missionaries knocked on her door", about reading the Book of Mormon one day and knowing it was true and then praying and receiving a witness that the gospel was true. Her testimony was so simple and so sincere. Stories like hers always touch my heart because this is the work we are doing. It helps me to remember why we are here and why it is such a great priviledge to serve. Pres. Uceda gave such great counsel to the Saints. As I have mentioned before, he has lived in Peru his whole life and was here in the very beginning of the work in Peru and he understands the needs that are here. He counseled the Saints 1) Have a visible picture of the temple in your home. 2) Buy your own ceremonial clothes now. 3) Always have a temple recommentd. Don't ever let it expire. 4) Fill out the "My Family" booklet and do the work for your family members. 5) Attend the temple often. That is great counsel for all of us!
President Uchtdorf talked about being dedicated to the work of the gospel. He also mentioned Father's Day and that this Father's Day we were honoring our Heavenly Father by dedicating another House to His name. He reminded us we are all children of Heavenly Father and that we are all one great family in all the earth. Serving here in Peru and associating with the Saints has truly strengthened my testimony of this. Next was the dedicatory prayer, read by Pres. Uchtodorf and the Hosanna shout led by Elder Waddell. Jose, our friend who was baptized two months ago, was sitting in the back of the chapel which was filled with people all the way back and onto the stage. He told us that during the Hosannas, as he looked around and saw all the Saints waving their white hankerchiefs, for a minute he felt like he was in Jerusalem when the Savior made His Triumphal Entry. He said he could imagine all the people waving their palms and shouting, "Hosanna!" In Matthew 21:9, it tells us that they said, "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." It definitely was a day of gratitude and rejoicing.
At one point, President Uchtdorf quoted President George Q. Cannon when he said, "every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple that is completed . . . lessens the ower of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness.moves the heavens in mighty power in our behalf, invokes and calls down upon us the blessings of the Eternal Gods, and those who reside in their presence." President Boyd K. Packer said, "Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people." As we left the chapel that day, I felt very spiritually lifted and edified, just as I do when we attend the temple. I also felt renewed love for my husband as I always do in the temple. It was such a beautiful and uplifting experience for me. I am so grateful I was able to attend and witness this great historical occassion in Peru.
Since the dedication of the second temple in Peru, we have passed some other milestones in our mission. On June 27, 2015, we marked the one year anniversay of the start of our mission. We are grateful to have a year of experience behind us so that we feel more confident in what we are doing. many experienced presidents told us that things are much easier after the first year and they were right. We have learned a lot! We are able to find our way around the mission much better. We understand what is going on a little better. We are feeling more comfortable in the place which we live.
A smaller Leadership Council
On July 1, 2015, part of our mission was taken away. Our mission is much smaller and things will be much different. It has been much quieter, not such a high volume of calls as we had before. It is hard to think of the missionaries we will not see again, but I have learned that a big part of the mission is change and saying goodbye. We have missionaries leaving at least every six weeks and some times more often. Tomorrow we will have twenty-four missionaries leave and go home that we have served with for over a year. It is always difficult to say goodbye, but it is a necessary part of mission life.
Saying goodbye to two great missionaries!
On July 4th, 2015, we passed another milestone. We have had two 4th of Julys in the mission now! After every holiday this year it will be the same. I do miss all of the fun holidays and traditions that we have in the United States. We also had a great occassion on July 4th, because a special lady was baptized. Her name is Hade and her husband is a recent convert of about two months. She was not very interested in the church until she attended her husband's baptism and went to the temple. Those two events changed the course of her life. I went with the sisters to teach her one time and she was overflowing with love for the sister missionaries who had taught her. She told me that she considered them angels that had come to minister to her. She praised their teaching and said that their Spanish was perfect. She is a sweet special lady who was prepared by the Lord to receive the gospel.
Hade with her two "angels"
Hade and Guillermo. He had the
priviledge of baptizing his wife.
Last Sunday we visited a large branch in the District of Lambayeque called Olmos. They meet in a very nice chapel, but it is surrounded by a market so we were not able to drive our car into the parking lot. We had to park our car and walk through the market. It is always interesting to contrast the feeling in the market to the feeling in the church. I almost cry when I see some of the places that these branches with faithful Saints meet. Sometimes they meet in warehouses with cement floors and tin roofs. Usually there is a lot of dust. The windows and insulation are not good, so there is a lot of noise from the street; bands playing, loud music, dogs barking, and people chattering. Twice in branches we have been visited by dogs! It is a challenge to keep the meetings quiet and to be reverent and focused. Last week I played the piano for the Olmos Branch and music always helps the atmosphere a lot. I had a little helper who came up on the stage and accompanied me on the piano.
My sweet helper!
Today I felt like I witnessed a miracle. We went to a small branch called Morrope in the District of Lambayeque. It only has 40 members with anywhere from 25-35 attending each week. That means that they have the highest percentage of members attending than anywhere else in our mission because the average attendance is about 30%. I felt the Spirit so strong as we took the sacrament, especially when I looked at the sacrament table and saw the reverence with which the sacrament was blessed and passed. These saints knew that this ordinance is sacred. Because of the words of the sacrament hymn, I thought of the Savior and His willingness to condescend to come to earth to live as a man in a place so inferior to where He was before. It really is a miracle to go to a tiny out-of-the way branch and find the exact same gospel and feel the exact same spirit. It was amazing and my heart was touched.
4th of July fun! We miss these little
people a lot.
The branch we visited today meets in a rented room. Once again, we had to park our car and walk through the market where they were selling many things. We saw fruit, beautiful vegetables, shoes, clay pots, dishes, snacks, sweets, food, jewelry, hair excessories, etc. It is impossible to remember everything. It was just an odd mixture of stuff. It was interesting to see how they were set up. Some vendors had tables and tarps for protection and others had their goods laid out right on the ground. The products were still neatly organized! It was a challenge to find the building because it did not look like a church. It was very nice, with nice tile and painted walls. Most of the branches have wooden benches in the chapels. It was very clean and organized. I was impressed with how smoothly this branch functioned.
More and more I am loving the experience of being here. Like in many areas, there are saints in Peru who are less active, but we also have met many who are extremely faithful, who fulfill their callings and responsibilities to the best of their ability. The Branch President today, told us that he has to make a twenty minute trip to Lambayeque every Sunday to turn in the tithing for the Branch. He does not own a car, so he has to pay to ride in a combi crowded with lots of people. The Branch has no computer so everything is done by hand. They love the Lord and reverence His sacrament. They know the gospel is true and that it blesses their lives. As Pres. Uchtdorf said, we are all one big family and I feel such unity with the Saints of Peru because we all know that Christ lives and that this is His gospel.
Tall missionaries with short Mission
President and wife!