Thursday, October 23, 2008

Temple Open House

Well, the big day has finally arrived. Last weekend the media and VIP tours of the temple were held and starting Monday it is now open for the public for the next three weeks. It is such an exciting thing just to see the Temple look like a temple again. During the construction everything was torn apart and the landscaping certainly suffered due to all the heavy equipment and materials. But little by little we saw the changes occur and now we look around and see much beauty. The outside of the building is fresh and white and the Angel Moroni is beautiful new gold leafing. The fountains are once again flowing and a large Mexican flag once again flying.

Not only did the temple get a facelift, but the Visitors Center had much of the outside paneling replaced due to damage from the polluted environment here in Mexico City. We even got a new banner in front of our building to tell people who we are. It didn’t arrive quite in time for the beginning of the open houses, but today it went up and looks great.

The MTC, the building housing the Distribution Center and the missionaries’ cafeteria, as well as our apartment building all got new paint jobs. Many new flowers were planted and the trees also got a great trimming. The view from our apartment window is wonderful as is the view from the Visitors Center looking toward the Temple. It is now so pleasant to walk around the Manzana, something we have looked forward to.

To accommodate the visitors many awnings were put up between buildings to protect them from the sun and rain. Originally the media and VIP’s were to begin and end their tours in the Visitor's Center and we were excited to show off our building. A very last minute change moved them to the MTC and although we were disappointed, a number of them still came to take our tour. We recently acquired a collection of Walter Rane Book of Mormon prints that certainly add to the beauty of our building. They are on loan to us but we hope to extend it for a very long time.

Monday was the first day of the public tours. Mondays are usually very slow for us but we had over 250 people during the first four hours and it was quite exciting. In addition to our tours and the references we receive, we are processing all the references received from the Temple tours. It is wonderful to read the comments of our friends of other faiths (Catholic mostly), and see how touched they were by the Temple and how many are requesting additional information and/or missionaries to visit them. We will be very busy during the open house but it is a good busy and we are truly enjoying it. Yesterday, the first Saturday of the open house we had over 3500 visitors in the center. We have never seen anything like it. Bus after bus kept arriving and it was great. We were very tired last night but it was well worth it.

Of course, we look forward to the large cultural event on November 15th and the re-dedication of the temple on the 16th. We learned last week that President Monson and President Eyring are scheduled to preside so we are all very excited. I am sure we will write more about that at the time.

We love this work and know it is the work of the Lord. It is such an exciting time to see new temples being built around the world. We know that the Church is true and will continue to move forward under the guidance of the Lord.