Sunday, November 22, 2009

Santiago Temple

You may not realize that there are many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Chile. While we usually think of South America as being mostly Catholic, that isn't really the case in Chile. The Evangelicals in Chile represent a large group as well as do the Mormons. This blog is to update you all on a few Mormon facts about Chile. There is presently one temple in Chile. It is in Santiago right across the street from where I live. This past October, the Church announced the building of another temple in Chile. It will be about 4 hours south of Santiago in Concepcion. The following pictures were taken on Saturday, Nov. 21st on the Santiago Temple grounds. I hope you enjoy them. The Santiago Temple features the iconic Angel Moroni as do most, but not all, Mormon Temples around the world.
As you can see, the Santiago Temple has been here for sometime. There has been one major renovation.

Temples do not function as churches. They are not open on Sunday. Tuesday through Saturday, they are open only to members who have a "recommend" which is obtained by being an active member in good standing. Usually, only adults or teenagers attend the temple.
"Mormon" Temples are considered sacred by the members and are used to perform sacred church ordinaces. Mormons are unique in their belief that marriages and families are eternal. Couples come to the temple to be married for eternity not "until death do you part".

Mormons are also unique in their belief in baptism for the dead. These ordinances are usually performed by the youth. This line of young people are waiting to enter the temple so that they can be baptized for deceased individuals who did not have the opportunity for this ordinance while still living. We believe that those deceased individuals have the right to accept or reject the ordinance performed for them.

Once you enter the temple doors, the noise of the city recedes and all is quiet and peaceful. Elder Davis works in the temple on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All ordinance work is done in Spanish. He has loved working with the Chileno temple workers and has made wonderful new friends.

Since families come great distances to visit the temple, you always see people of many ages relaxing on the temple grounds.
The gardens are beautiful so those on the outside of the temple have pleasant surroundings while they wait for their family members to finish in the temple.

These gentlemen have brought the names of their ancestors to the temple for ordinance work. They appear to be coordinating and comparing notes. Maybe they are brothers, or maybe they are just helping each other sort through the names.

These young people are almost ready to enter the temple for their part in the work.

They may have travelled for hundreds of miles. Every Friday and Saturday the parking lot fills with buses from all over Chile and also Mendoza, Argentina.

They stay in housing on the temple grounds for the few days they are attending the temple.

This time of year the grounds are bright with blossoms.

If you look carefully, there is a bird on the bush.

While parents are doing temple work, children picnic on the grounds. I am sure many happy childhood memories are being made.

Teenagers, lounge on the grounds after they complete their work in the temple. They are probably talking about all the neat kids they have met this weekend while in Santiago at the temple.

Couples come to be married or to have their marriage made eternal in the temple.

Sometimes, entire families come to the temple to be united as an eternal family. With all family members dressed in white they kneel at the temple alters and are "sealed" together for time and all eternity. Elder Davis says that those occasions in the temple are his favorite. This is the goal of all Mormon families.

So the temple, inside and out, is a lovely place to spend some time. The people are as beautiful as are the flowers.
This was a special weekend for us because it was Elder Davis's 70th birthday. We celebrated with close friends.

We have loved being missionaries for the church. Our work and new the friends we have made in Chile will always be special to us. We are in the last 3 months of this amazing experience and have mixed feelings as it is coming to a close. Mostly, we are thankful for the opportunity to serve and for the wonderful plan that makes these relationships eternal. We continue to feel our Savior's love and protection as we are so far from home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Politics & Religion

Santiago is a beautiful and exciting city. Within a couple of miles or less from our apartment there is always some beauty and action. Our frequent walks take us through one of the numerous parks. This giant old tree offered an interesting background for a photo of me.
We are now enjoying spring and flowers are everywhere.

On Saturday, we hopped on a bus and rode for about 2 miles. This brought us to the Mapocho River, running brown as always. The day was less smoggy so above the buildings you can see the white statute of the Virgin Mary. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

This is an especially fine tree growing on the greenbelt along the river.

We, two Mormon missionaries walked to this fine old Catholic church to investigate.

Since, the doors were open and the sign said a prayer observation would soon start, we decided to join them. We found the church about one third full of casually dressed folks.

They sang some songs and several people spoke. We understood many of the Spanish words because the words of prayer are similar in all Christian faiths.

As we left the church we spied this lovely angel watching over us.

Looking up we noted the beautiful cieling above the entry.

The courtyards of Catholic churches offer a quiet respite from the noise of the city.

We left the peace of the church feeling good about our brief visit and reentered the chaos of Santiago.
There seemed to be lots of energy in the air and the state police with dogs were walking among and greeting the people.
Then the noise of honking horns filled the air. This is Chilean campaigning. In Decemeber they will elect a new president.

Lots of flag wavers and information being distributed on the streets. Music was playing and there was a festive aire.

We retreated to a peaceful mall to enjoy whatever else this day might offer.

Street musicians! This is just one of many. Also, sadly you see many very old women begging on the streets. They often just sit with a cup. I load my purse up with pesos before I go out and drop numerous coins in their cups.
Time to have lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Notice the prices in pesos. We had streak and ribs and french fries.
Lunch for two in a city of millions. It was a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a spring day. We will be returning home sometime in February to winter in the United States. We will have this day as a warm memory of Santiago.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bellevista an Arty Barrio

It was a gloomy Saturday afternoon in Santiago so we decided to get out and shake it up a little. We drove to the funky barrio of Bellevista which is about 4 miles from where we live. This community caters to artist and features sidewalk cafes. We started our adventure in the European building which was built in the early 1900's by a French family and was later remodeled by a Russian family. It now houses little shops where artists sell their wares. We had a great visit with a Chilean man who had spent some years in the San Francisco area. He shared a little of the history of the house which is still owned by the widow of the Russian owner.

This is an example of the residences in the neighorhood. It is so charming and inviting. This neighborhood is quiet compared to other areas of the city. The streets are narrow and there are few cars.

Every available surface is used to artistically.

Even the fences are works of art.

We had lunch on the patio of Pablo Neruda's historic home site. He is a much loved poet who was very liberal and self focused. Some would not agree with my assessment. He has historic houses all over Chile, filled with his various collections of neat stuff.

This is a mosaic. These street art projects pop up everwhere in the barrio.

The federal police are on horses here which adds to the charm. Oh! Santiago, we are going to miss you!

Where friends meet.

These guys belong in the zoo. Which happens to be just up the hill from the barrio.

No day is complete without stopping at a side walk cafe for dessert. This little treat cost us about $6 each for an ice cream sundae. Everything here is mucho dinero.

This is Gail and Bryce shopping for finger puppets. Usually, Bryce isn't a shopper but he went crazy for these little things. He must be thinking about his little ones at home. I know he can hardly wait to get home and be with them all again.

This could have been a good picture. Instead it is a great picture because it caught who we really are. He is a clown and I keep him in line..... most of the time.