Estaca LibertadLast Thursday was a day never to be forgotten. We were subbing as coordinators in the morning and then returned to work our normal shift in the afternoon--so we were blessed to be right in the middle of this amazing day. The Libertad Stake from here in Monterrey came to spend the day in the temple. They had been preparing for months for this experience and many, many of the patrons brought stacks of family names with them. For those that were doing the work for their ancestors, the temple experience became very personal, very meaningful, and very sweet. We have never been surrounded by so much joy before!
The members of the stake were staggered throughout the day beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m. with an-hour-and-a-half for lunch in the middle at the stake center next door. As many as could, worked all day in the temple moving from one activity to another. Because of the numbers, five extra sessions were added to the normal schedule. More than a dozen regular temple workers showed up that day to support the extra workload--most of them from that very stake, and most of them coordinators of other shifts during the week. Youth came to do baptisms both morning and night and were begging to go back in to do more. Primary children came to meet the Temple President and receive a short message. Hundreds of families were sealed, hundreds of baptismal overalls were washed, and hundreds of people were given a chance at joy. It was estimated that over 400 people served that day doing everything that could be done in the temple. There was even a sister who came for the first time with her stake and stayed the day serving in the temple. As these sweet people filed out at the end of the day, they expressed gratitude for being able to serve, for hours of peace, for opportunities to learn, and for burdens lifted. Something deeply beautiful and tender happens to your soul when you know everyone in your session. Though we don't know the exact goals of this stake president, we do know that it was a powerful experience for everyone there.
Hermana CalahorraSaturday, I was working in the laundry. There had been several baptisms in a row and they were getting behind in washing the overalls. Suddenly there was a woman at the door and I looked up to see if she needed clothing--I was frozen, speechless, and very surprised to see Hermana Calahorra standing in front of me. She was one of our very finest sister missionaries when we served in the Mexico City Temple Visitors' Center. We threw our arms around each other and wept and laughed and hugged for a very long time before we could find the words to speak.
Our dear Hermana Calhorra had somehow missed the news that we were serving in the Monterrey Temple and so it was a complete surprise for her to find us there. She immediately went to find her husband to tell him the news and he said, "Who are the Hoffman's?" She quickly explained and he joined our little circle of joy at the front entrance. He was Branch President when they were married--and that little branch has how grown into a ward. They have a boy about four and a 7-month old baby girl.
There are no words to express the joy that comes from seeing this beautiful women continue to serve the Lord with full purpose of heart. What a sweet, unexpected blessing for us to be able to reconnect with her again.