“Colonia Juárez Temple Groundbreaking,” Ensign, May 1998, 118–19
“On this small hill the temple will shine as a pearl to all who see it,” said Elder Eran A. Call of the Seventy, President of the Mexico North Area, at a groundbreaking ceremony held on 7 March for the temple to be built in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
The temple will be the second completed of the new smaller temples announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley in October 1997. The first small temple is already under construction in Monticello, Utah, a town in the southeastern corner of the state, and the third will be built in Anchorage, Alaska.
“These three temples are to be models for those that follow,” Elder Call said. “Let this temple be a model of frequent use.”
Colonia Juárez is one of the Latter-day Saint pioneer colonies founded in the 19th century in northern Mexico. The temple site, a hillside immediately west of Church-owned school La Academia Juárez, was donated by a local member. John Whetten, director of the academy, remarked, “I never would have imagined that the academy would be in the shadow of a temple.”
Also participating in the services were Elder Dale E. Miller and Elder Tomás Valdéz of the Mexico North Area Presidency. Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy, who was visiting the area to reorganize a stake, was also present. Local government officials attended, as well as Elder Servando Rojas, an Area Authority Seventy, and Samuel Cluff, president of the Mexico Chihuahua Mission. The site was dedicated by Elder Call.
Unusually cold weather for the arid northern Mexico region did not deter hundreds of members from attending the groundbreaking. In addition to local residents, members arrived by busloads from Ciudad Juárez to the north and Chihuahua City to the south.
Strong, cold winds followed by a rainstorm drenched those who attended, and later in the hour-long ceremony hail and then snow fell.
In his remarks, President Carl Call of the Colonia Dublán stake said, “At least this storm will keep us awake!” and reminded listeners of the hardships their forebears suffered when settling the colonies over 100 years ago. President Meredith I. Romney of the Colonia Juárez stake said, “You may be cold now, but you will soon have the warmth the temple will bring.”
Urging members to renew their temple covenants again and again, the brethren of the area presidency reminded listeners that the Colonia Juárez temple will serve not only the region surrounding the LDS colonies but also a large area of northern Mexico. An increase in interest in family history work has already begun. According to Colonia Juárez stake family history consultants Lupe and Rubén Vizcaíno, requests for rolls of microfilm have increased from 4 per month to 40.
The Colonia Juárez Mexico Temple will become the second operating temple in Mexico. The Mexico City Temple has been in operation since 1983, and another temple has been announced for Monterrey, Nuevo León, in northeastern Mexico.