April 9, 2016
The groundbreaking was due to start at 3:00pm but they would open the gates at 1:00pm. We found we had a little time on our hands so we drove down to the beach. There is a light house there and lots of rocks. If we hadn’t been in missionary clothes we would have loved to climb on the rocks and look at the tide pools. After enjoying the sea breeze and walking around, we headed for the temple site.
|Sister Hind and Sister Stevenson enjoying the view.|
The temple plot is situated on a hill in an area called Umhlanga. It is just North of Durban. It is not far from the Indian Ocean but you can’t see the ocean when you are at ground level. We figure Angel Moroni will have a good view of the ocean. It is very green and beautiful in this area. Someone told us that this area was an old sugar cane farm.
We were with another senior couple that had already been to the temple site so we didn’t have any trouble finding it. There were about 50 elders acting as ushers so it was fun to see some of the missionaries we hadn’t seen for a while. We spent some time greeting them and talking to them.
|Elders Hind, Weiler, Welling and Bennisan|
They have all served as Newcastle elders
Elder Bennisan was companion to Elder Welling and then to Elder Weiler
It was so good to see these guys again.
Then we went and found our seats. We were about 5 rows back. We continued to look around and talk to people we knew and people we didn’t know. There was one sister from Madadeni there. She sat next to us. Elder Hind made friends with a family that was sitting behind us. He snagged a dinner invitation from them for the next time we are in Durban. They are an Indian family and we love Indian food. Score! Turns out he is on the high council in one of the coastal stakes.
It was a beautiful day but it was hot sitting in the sun for 2 hours and then another hour after it started. However we didn’t mind we were just glad to be there. Elder Hind wore his hat to keep the sun off his head and ears. We covered ourselves with sunscreen.
We were told they set up 2000 chairs. They seemed to have filled up most of them by the time the ceremony started. They had a few speakers that gave short talks and several songs by the local choir (which was really good). Then Elder Cook, president of the South Africa Area, gave the dedicatory prayer. After the closing song and prayer they called up some local officials and community leaders to turn the soil with gold colored shovels. Then they asked everyone who wanted come up and turn a shovel full of dirt. And of course we had to do that.
|Some of the dignitaries (or "big people" as they call them here) turning the first shovels full.|
|Elder and Sister Taylor|
After the ceremony we went back to the mission home and had some pizza and talked about our wonderful day. Then we went back to our B&B and went to bed. Just as we were getting ready to go to sleep we got a phone call. It was some of the senior couples calling to sing Happy Birthday to me. They had forgotten to do it earlier. It was a Happy Birthday.