Central American Saints Rejoice at Honduras Temple Announcement

    “Central American Saints Rejoice at Honduras Temple Announcement,” Liahona, Dec. 2006, N4–N5

    Central American Saints Rejoice at Honduras Temple Announcement

    The news spread quickly across the country when a First Presidency letter dated June 9, 2006, reached members in Honduras with the announcement that a new temple would be built in Tegucigalpa.

    “We’ve been waiting a long time,” said Jorge Sierra, Honduras public affairs director and first counselor in the Honduras Comayaguela Mission presidency. “The people are very happy. Our Church leaders are very motivated. They’re committed to prepare themselves and the members to be ready for the opening of the temple.”

    Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s largest and capital city, is home to more than 1.6 million people. The new temple will be especially significant to the more than 168,000 Latter-day Saints across Honduras and Nicaragua. Until the new temple is finished, the closest temple to these Saints is the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple (dedicated in 1984), located about 214 miles (344 km) from Tegucigalpa.

    The Saints in the area have not only sacrificed time and funds, but they have had to travel dangerous roads to get to Guatemala and attend the temple. Despite the danger, members still make the trip.

    “For us, it’s a pleasure to go to the temple and work there,” said Eliana Sierra. She said many members have done family history work, sacrificed, and saved money in preparation to travel to and do work at the temple.

    “We are so humbled and grateful, and [we are] waiting anxiously for the temple,” Sister Sierra said. She said the members are grateful to President Hinckley and area leaders for their hard work in preparation for the temple.

    “It’s a moment we have highly anticipated,” said President Sierra. “Temple attendance at the Guatemala temple by members in Honduras has been good. We believe it will only grow having the temple here in our own country.”

    Besides the Guatemala temple, other Central American temples are in San José, Costa Rica (2000), and Panama City, Panama (under construction), making the Honduras temple the fourth in Central America. The Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple will be the 134th temple of the Church that is operating, under construction, or announced by First Presidency letter.

    The Church in Honduras has grown since 1952, when the gospel was first introduced through Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Gordon M. Romney, Central America Mission president. They left a Book of Mormon with a hotel waiter who was later baptized. A month later missionaries entered Honduras. The first converts were baptized and the first congregation was organized in Tegucigalpa in March 1953. Honduras now has three missions: Comayaguela, San Pedro Sula, and Tegucigalpa.

    According to December 2005 estimates, Nicaragua and Honduras are the fastest-growing countries in Church membership in Central America over the past five years. Church membership in Nicaragua has grown an estimated 50 percent, and in Honduras 16 percent.

    President Sierra said the temple will help facilitate Church growth and retention in different ways, such as through the open house and as a talking point for home and visiting teachers and leaders to open doors with the less active.

    In 1980 Church membership in Honduras was about 6,300. Today it is more than 116,000. In 1989, at the formation of the Nicaragua Managua Mission, Church membership in Nicaragua was 3,453. Today Nicaraguan Saints number more than 52,000.

    The temple will be a blessing to the fast-growing body of Saints in Nicaragua who have had to travel a great distance at great expense to attend the temple.

    map of Central America

    A recently announced temple in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, will join Central American temples already operating in Guatemala and Costa Rica and one under construction in Panama. (Map by Thomas Child.)