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Queensland members rejoice

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Sister Florence Kennedy

Like so many other members from Queensland, Florence Kennedy was thrilled that a new temple — her new temple — was to open at last. A Torres Strait Islander, one of Australia's indigenous races, Sister Kennedy is a resident of Thursday Island off the northeast tip of mainland Australia and member of the small branch of the Church there.

Sister Kennedy came to the temple dedication with her cousin, Rita Tyrell, and Brett Tyrell, also members of the Church. Sister Kennedy and Sister Tyrell are cousins. Their trip was not a short one. Thursday Island lies more than 1,500 miles north of Brisbane.

The Staffords

Elder Brian Stafford and Sister Mildred Stafford, an Aboriginal senior missionary couple serving in the Aboriginal Reserve of Yarrabah near the north Queensland city of Cairns, traveled more than 1,000 miles from their home to the temple dedication. Until now, the closest temple in Australia was 1,500 miles away in Sydney. Like most other Church members from their remote area of Australia, they had prayed for years for a temple to be built closer to their home.

The Staffords, members of the Cairns Branch, agreed the dedication was an experience they will never forget, especially being so close to President Gordon B. Hinckley. Sister Stafford called the dedication "a very emotional, special moment." Elder Stafford said joyfully, "It's marvelous to be here, especially after praying for a temple for so many years. The temple, to us, is the most sacred place on earth."