Anna Sheffield was visibly moved as the Hamilton New Zealand Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into view on Tuesday June 4, as her van drove along Tuhikaramea Road.
Even shrouded in scaffolding during a three-year renovation period, she loved returning to a place that means so much to her and her family.
Anna is a student at Brigham Young University-Hawaii and is a member of the school’s concert choir. She is in New Zealand with the choir as part of its “Voyages of Light” South Pacific tour.
She grew up in the state of Iowa in the United States. She is the adopted daughter of Val Sheffield, who is the son of Matthew Cowley’s only daughter, Jewel Cowley Sheffield.
Anna has known about her famous ancestor for years but only recently has gained a strong appreciation for his major contribution to the growth of the Church in New Zealand.
She attended the dedication of the Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Centre in 2017 and made many family connections there.
She said it is exciting to be back in New Zealand and very special to her. She said she wants to “live up to what Matthew Cowley did here.”
She paused for a quick picture beside a bust of her great-grandfather, which is displayed at the museum.
She also met with family friends and relatives prior to the concert.
Anna previously served as a service missionary in Los Angeles California, both as a family history consultant and as a temple worker in the Los Angeles California Temple.