With summer has come an influx of visitors to the temple and the grounds. What a busy day we had last Saturday! Over 400 people came to our little Visitors' Center, including 15 separate sets of missionaries who brought people wanting to be taught the gospel by our sister missionaries. We also had two Stake Primary groups come for presentations and movies in our theatre. That may not seem like much in some of the larger visitors' centers, but with our smaller staff and small space, it was a challenge! We juggled people in and out of the Visitors' Centre and the theatre all day -- and we loved it! At one point, each of our sister missionaries and Don were all conducting individual tours (we usually try to teach in companionships) and I was helping a member of our Mission Presidency with 6 rotating groups of Primary children in the theatre. So much fun! We love to see our Visitors' Centre used to full capacity.
Below are pictures of what our temple grounds look like on busy Saturdays. Our security staff doubles as traffic managers, trying to fit all the coaches and cars into the parking lot. Because most people have to travel distances of one to six hours or more to get to the temple here, they tend to come together and to make a day of it. Families come together, wards come together, old friends meet. There is such a marvelous spirit on the temple grounds when so many people are here. Makes me wonder if it's similar to what we'll experience "on the other side" when we are all reunited in that beautiful place.
Wards and families congregate near the reflecting pool for picnics on the lawn or at picnic tables. It is so fun to see people enjoying the weather and enjoying being together.
Meanwhile, in the Visitors' Centre, lessons are given, testimonies are shared, movies are shown, and love and encouragement are extended.
|President Martin, counselor in the ELSM, teaching a group|
of Primary children about the temple.
|Sister Cardona with an investigator|
and the sister missionaries who brought her.
|Elder Carpenter teaching two older men|
with the two elders who brought them.
|Sister Stewart teaching a group at the Christus.|
|Another couple being taught, with the temple as|
a backdrop, by Sister Watt and a friend.
Even the construction barriers that are beginning to go up on the south side of the temple cannot dampen the enthusiasm and the spirit you feel on the London Temple grounds. In about six weeks, the temple will close for 2 1/2 months while some much-needed improvements are made to the temple air conditioning system. The process has already begun on the outside of the temple. Big trucks have been delivering portable construction trailers and fencing for the project. Heavy machinery is already in place. Our landscape has changed a little, but the grounds are still amazingly serene.
During the planned remodeling, the Visitors' Centre will remain open. We expect that it will be much quieter on the temple grounds without temple patrons during that time, but we look forward to being able to give more one-on-one attention to those who come to the Visitors' Centre. The sister missionaries are also looking forward to devoting good amounts of time to the online Chat, email, and Facebook teaching that has become so successful recently. ~Pat~