First and foremost we see that everything is done correctly and with exactness in the San Salvador El Salvador Temple, the House of the Lord.
The Apostle, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, said: "Temple worship, including vicarious service for the deceased, is the premier expression of our belief in the power and infinite reach of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Temple worship testifies of our sure knowledge of many aspects of the Atonement: "First, of Christ's Resurrection; second, of the infinite reach of His Atonement; third, that He is the sole source of salvation; fourth, that He has established the conditions for salvation; and fifth, that He will come again."
--D. Todd Christofferson, "The Redemption of the Dead," Ensign, Nov. 2000, 10. Elder Christofferson is in The Quorum of Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
July 20th marked one year since we arrived in El Salvador. We were called to be the President and Matron of this temple on April 19, 2011. President Petersen and his two counselors, Rafael Majano and Eduardo Alas, interviewed between 400 and 500 members to be called as temple workers.
The temple Open House was from June 27-July 23 The Cultural Celebration was August 20. President Henry B. Eyring dedicated the temple on August 21, 2011. And the temple opened on August 22.
When Walt and I have the morning shift, we open the temple at 5:30 a.m., then work until 2:00p.m. When we have the afternoon shift we arrive at 12:30 noon and work until 9:30 p.m. On Saturdays, we open the temple at 4:00a.m.
For instance, if we have the Tuesday morning shift, then the Majanos have the afternoon shift. Then Wednesday morning the Alas open the temple, and we will have the afternoon shift. Thursday we would have a day with no shift. However, President Petersen usually goes to the temple even on his day with no shift--but only stays an hour or two.
On Friday we would then have the morning shift, and Saturday the afternoon shift.
On Wednesdays now, the temple presidency meet together from 9:00a.m to 12:00noon or later to discuss and plan for all aspects of the temple.
I meet with them once or twice a month, and sometimes my assistants join us. I meet with my assistants every other Friday.
We are very appreciative of our temple workers who come each day for a morning or afternoon shift. We have four Sr. Couple full-time temple missionaries from Idaho and Utah who work each day at the temple. The other volunteer temple workers do one shift a week and some do two shifts a week.
July 25 marks one year since our Sr. Couple full-time temple missionaries began their mission.
The Gibbons and Kitleys are here for 18 months and finish their mission January 25, 2013.
The Walls have extended their 18-month mission to be here until May 25. The Thompsons are on a 23-month mission and leave June 25.
The Gibbons served a previous 23-month CES mission in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. The Walls served an 18-month humanitarian area mission to the South America South Area--Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay when we were there on one of our area medical advisor missions.
Here are the Sr. couple full-time temple missionaries on the day they arrived in El Salvador - August 17, 2011. Left to right: Walt & Eileen Petersen (We had been here almost a month.) David & Marilyn Gibbons, Frank & Diane Wall, Trent & Arlene Kitley, Lon & Nancy Thompson. Gabriel Méndez, is the assistant recorder for the temple, and far right is Jaime López, our full-time temple recorder.
They both live here in San Salvador.As you can see, temple workers put in many hours serving in the temple. Since we can't talk about what goes on in the temple, we blog mostly about our dinners and outings together. We don't talk about what goes on in the temple--not because it is secret, but because it is sacred.
Sundays our 3-hour block for Church is 9:00a.m. to 12:00 Noon. Our stake center is right next to the temple, so it takes us 2 minutes to walk there from our apartments.
P-day stands for "Preparation day" which is Monday when the temple is closed. The temple is cleaned thoroughly that day, in addition to being cleaned on a daily basis.
On Mondays President Petersen drives our full-time couple missionaries to do grocery shopping, to the cleaners, etc. Sometimes we go out to lunch together after grocery shopping.
Then each Monday evening a different couple hosts a family home evening, giving a lesson or playing a game and serving refreshments.
One P-day a month we have set aside for an outing to go to a place of interest in the city or in the country. On Monday, July 9, we rented a bus to drive us along part of the "Route of the Flowers."
One of the cities along the route was Concepción de Ataco, and another was Ahua....something.
On the way we drove by Lake Coatepeque.
Here's the lake...
One of the cities had these fun paintings on their buildings. I think it was in Ataco...but not sure.
Of course, part of the fun is shopping for souvenirs...
We got three things: A lavender scarf, a fish wind chime, and a red bracelet.
We had lunch at El Jardin de Celeste...in a beautiful garden setting...
(My camera battery went dead here....so I'll have to get a photo of the restaurant from Diane or someone...)
I tried to get the kids coming out of school. They do a morning session and an afternoon session of school here to accomodate all the kids in the school buildings.
Here is the one group photo we got before our camera died..
After lunch we drove by a place that had some waterfalls. It was a steep 20-minute hike down, then a steeper 40-minute hike back. Two of the couples chose to make the hike. The other three couples waited in the bus. Elder Gibbons, Elder Kitley, and President Petersen shared airplane stories.
To see the beautiful photos of these water falls go to Hermana Wall's blog "Joy in the Journey" which you can scroll down our right column to find in the friends' section.
I got to read some in my Great and Terrible series by Chris Steward about the last days. Very compelling. Helps understand why being prepared with some food and water storage is so vital.
And now you know more than you ever wanted to about what we're doing here in El Salvador this July of 2012.