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Some 'wonderful things' happening in Colombia

BOGOTA, Colombia -- "Wonderful things" are happening here as members are taking advantage of the newly dedicated temple, and the Church has gained a higher profile from the recent temple open house.

"There are wonderful things going on here," said temple Pres. Jerry Cahill. "We are getting wonderful support from the leaders."Members are eager for the blessings of the temple, he explained, noting that on the first day the temple was open April 27, 36 sealings were scheduled, but about 80 were performed.

"The stakes brought two or three people for every one they said they were going to bring," he said. "The people were pleading to get in. There was such a demand. I locked up the temple at 1 a.m."

He said the temple presidency is pleased with the continued response since that time, although the attendance has been interrupted occasionally by transportation strikes and the demands of work.

In the 33 years since the establishment of the Church here, membership is now more than 123,000, in 23 stakes and four missions and 21 districts. Meetinghouses have been constructed nationwide, and the Church is known from border to border. It is true that Colombia is a nation with challenges as nearly 20 percent of its workers are unemployed. Residents must live with a high rate of violent crime in the country that includes frequent armed robberies, kidnapping, assault and drug traffic.

Yet, despite these turbulences, more and more people are becoming acquainted with the Church. During the temple open house, the numbers of visitors continually increased, day to day. On the last day, more than 20,000 visitors came. These mostly non-member Colombians listened with great attention as they were told of the transcendent principles of eternal families, said their guides.

The "wonderful things" for Colombia began May 10, 1966, when Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elders Randall G. Harmsen and Jerry Broome, the first two missionaries, arrived in Bogota.

The missionaries were welcomed by the expatriate families of Harold M. Rex, who was the first branch president; Lewis Satterfield; and Lewis E. Burnham. These families held Church meetings in their homes prior to the arrival of the missionaries. Clare Hodgins, whose husband was not a member, also attended with their children. Other members converted elsewhere included Pedro Qui