As site work on the Recife Brazil Temple progresses, excitement among the members is growing, said Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy and president of the Brazil Area.
"It is very satisfying to see the spiritual interest of an entire community being generated by the construction of the new temple in Recife," said Elder Zwick. "This significant project has had a very positive impact upon our retention and activation efforts."He said the project is ahead of schedule and is anticipated to be completed before the turn of the century. "The piling work is under way. The foundation system and site work are progressing well while the final working drawings are being completed. This accelerated approach will ensure an earlier-than-normal completion and has helped us avoid untimely construction shutdowns due to heavy seasonal rain," Elder Zwick noted.
The exterior of the medium-sized temple will be of a natural Brazilian white stone. The temple will have two ordinance rooms and three sealing rooms, and is designed for "ease of expansion," Elder Zwick said. It also has a patron housing facility located on the site.
He said the temple site is easily visible because an elevated highway passes the property, giving a vantage point for all passersby.
The temple district will include eight missions, including the newly announced Joao Pessoa mission, and 47 stakes and 13 districts.
"This is a very rapidly growing part of Brazil where the gospel is really blessing lives in ways that have an amazing impact," Elder Zwick continued. "Recife is an area of incredible natural beauty, and the beautiful people who live there are understanding the eternal values of a temple.
"Those members in that area frequently travel by bus caravan to
the temple inT Sao Paulo. It takes them more than 50 hours of travel on the highway to get here." Elder Zwick said that after they arrive, they spend several days working in the temple.
The temple in Recife "is going to bless lives and the missionary work will be greatly enhanced by it," Elder Zwick explained. He also said the family history centers in the stakes in Recife have stepped up family research work. "We see the results of that in the work that is being done in the Sao Paulo Temple right now."
Elder Cleto Oliveira, Area Authority Seventy and vice chairman of the temple committee, said the members are grateful and very happy to see the start of a temple in Recife.
"Since the groundbreaking ceremony," he said, "anyone who passes slows down to look with interest at the temple. Because the temple is in a place where many cars pass, it is now easier for members to talk about the temple. People ask questions. Even those building the temple are interested in what the Church is doing.
"The temple has provided something for the missionaries to talk about as they knock on doors."