“By Their Works: A Temple-Going People,” Ensign, Apr. 1996, 80
Church members in the Toa Baja Puerto Rico District recently coordinated a trip to the Orlando Florida Temple. Plans began more than two years ago when area youth, encouraged by several Church activities focusing on setting goals and doing family history, talked to their local leaders about planning a temple trip. Tentative dates were set, and members became even more enthusiastic when the Orlando temple was dedicated. The Puerto Rican members planned to travel to that temple a year after its dedication.
Eventually, some 220 people, including four couples who planned to be married and 50 youth, made the trip. Those involved met in three special meetings in preparation for the temple trip. “Now is the time to put all our affairs in order,” counseled Ernesto Rivera, district president, during one of the gatherings. “We must forgive those who have offended us, ask others for forgiveness, and, if needed and where possible, make restitution. … Let’s be sincere with ourselves, open our hearts, and remember that no impure thing should enter the temple,” he concluded.
Members were reminded to submit their family group sheets where possible so they could do family names during the time spent at the temple. Family history seminars were held to assist the members in completing this. As a result more than 3,000 names were identified and cleared for ordinance work.
On 31 July 1995, the plane arrived in Orlando. The flight had been the last flight out of San Juan before the airport was closed due to a hurricane. Church members in Orlando greeted their Puerto Rican brothers and sisters and held family home evenings for the group.
The next day, four buses arrived at the Orlando temple. While waiting for the temple doors to open, the group sang hymns. During the next four days, 3,181 baptisms, confirmations, and endowments were performed. Seventeen hundred marriages for the dead were performed, and 1,599 children were sealed to their parents. Ordinances for the living included 38 endowments, 34 sealings to spouses, and 8 families sealed together.
On Wednesday, August 2, Hurricane Eryn hit Orlando, and many temple workers were unable to fulfill their temple assignments. The group from Puerto Rico volunteered their help, and many members worked in the kitchen, dressing rooms, and laundry.
“During this trip I met many brothers and sisters from many different branches and towns in Puerto Rico,” said Angel Rodriguez, president of the Humacao Branch, on the last day of the temple trip. “Today I can say that I no longer feel that I am just a member of this or that branch of the Church. I know that we are all truly brothers and sisters.”—Nivea Rebecca Fraticelli, Caguas, Puerto Rico