When we served in the Visitors' Center at the Mexico City Temple, many of our "Hermanas" (sisters) were from the north. There are many things that have touched us while serving at the temple, but the sweetest of all has been to connect with some of our beloved Hermanas again. We have seen Hna. Alvarez from Monclova, Hna. Rodriguez from the northwest of Monterrey, and have had emails from Hna. Cantu, Hna. Martinez K., and Hna. Martinez Z. We have met their parents and spouses and friends. We never imagined that we would ever see these beautiful women again--and to be able to tell their parents and family members about their amazing service in the Visitors' Center and our deep love for them is pure joy! We suspect that we will feel the same way about the fun, generous, dedicated people that we are working with here in the Monterrey Temple.
The other day, I (Linda) was working away in the temple and I heard a lovely voice say, "Leendaa. Leendaa." The shift coordinator, Hermana Torres, was trying to get my attention. I was very surprised. It is rare that anyone in Latin America ever calls me by my first name. I am always "Hermana"--a term of respect and love--but not intimacy. It touched me so deeply that she would use my name, because that is a sign of real friendship. I think I will like having a first name.
There is a very special sister that works with us in the temple: Hermana Campa. She is 84 years old and is a fixture here. She knows everyone and everything. She stands about 4 foot 8 inches tall, stretched out, and has shock-white hair. She may be one of the only two or three women in this country that don't dye their hair. Hermana Campa knows all the words to the most popular hit songs and has entertained John at the front desk for hours with her stories. She is beloved by all--people queue up to greet her when she comes. She is thin as a rail and as spunky as they come. She often tells the coordinators and the Temple Presidency to speak more quietly "in the House of the Lord." She abruptly informed us this week that there had been a black bear with two cubs sited on one of the hills. A nearby university that backs up against the mountains had a large sign on the gates warning people of possible bears in the area. It listed what should be done to prevent being killed by one: don't give them water or food, move away from them rather than toward them, etc. When Hermana Campa leaves the temple after her shift, she looks a lot like a round, little bear with her many layers of bulky clothing--a very nice, friendly little bear. It has been in the low forties this week with high humidity. It is a penetrating cold and she dresses accordingly with an eclectic style of texture, patterns and color that we only wish we could emulate!
We just heard that Brother and Sister Galavíz, who have served in the temple since it was opened, are leaving next month for a mission to Tijuana. They will be serving in the mission office there. He is a jovial, happy-go-lucky gentleman that is one of John's best buddies. She is a general--a very kind general, but a general just the same. She has been the matriarch of the laundry and folds and hangs everything exactly to the centimeter specified in some rulebook somewhere. She is amazing! She has tirelessly worked to teach me to fold towels so that they take up the least amount of space possible, but still look fluffy. Her tutoring has included how to hide the stripe woven into the bottom of the towel and how to stack them so that they rival anything found in the finest hotel. Hermana Machucha (the temple president's wife) says that when Hermana Galavíz is working, the towels look truly celestial. If I had more than two towels I might even be tempted to try this at home.
Every few weeks I (John) seem to have an indescribable experience in the temple. On Thursday night this week, we had a newly endowed couple serve in a special way here. They had not had much experience being in the temple, but they carried a spirit about them that was infectious, at least to me. They had come with great sacrifice from Valle Verde, an area well-removed from Monterrey proper. They were humble, very simply attired, and sweet. Very sweet. As I watched them through their time in the temple, they seemed to be wholly taken by the experience. When I thanked them at the end, we were all three weeping.
Tonight a very elderly lady was sealed to her deceased husband, deceased son and living daughter. She, herself, was then sealed to her parents. This hermana hadn't been a member of the church long, but she has great faith. There were several members from her ward and family present. It was a very emotional experience for everyone present, especially for the family. Good stuff!