Conference Moment: Bring a Flag

Contributed By Valerie Johnson, Church News contributor

  • 6 June 2016

The flag of Ecuador flies proudly on the grounds of the Guayaquil Ecuador Temple, roughly seven hours by car from Quito, Ecuador.

“When I was sitting there, before [President Monson] said anything, I thought, ‘This is it.’ I could feel it and I started crying.” —Leah Tangedal, former missionary from the Ecuador Quito North Mission

In between the Sunday sessions of the 186th Annual General Conference, Paola Madrid and Leah Tangedal stood on a street outside the Conference Center waving an Ecuadorian flag. As conference goers walked by on their way back home, some stopped to take pictures with the excited sisters and share in the joy and excitement of the announcement of a temple to be built in Ecuador.

“I was waiting in general conference for President Monson to announce a temple [in Ecuador] and it’s finally here!” Sister Madrid said.

Sister Madrid, from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Sister Tangedal, from Oceanside, California, returned from serving in the Ecuador Quito North Mission a little over a year ago. Both have since moved to Utah for school. They met in Salt Lake City to attend general conference together on April 3. That morning, President Monson announced temples to be built in Quito, Ecuador; Harare, Zimbabwe; Belém, Brazil; and a second temple in Lima, Peru.

Sister Tangedal said that she could feel that President Monson would announce a temple in Ecuador. Even before she and Sister Madrid entered the Conference Center, the returned sister missionaries came prepared with an Ecuadorian flag. The day before, “one of our friends said, ‘They’re going to announce a temple [in Ecuador],’” Sister Tangedal said. “I thought, ‘Yeah, I hope so.’” She prayed about it that night.

The next morning, Sister Tangedal told Sister Madrid to bring her flag from Ecuador before they went to the Conference Center. “When I was sitting there, before [President Monson] said anything, I thought, ‘This is it,’” Sister Tangedal said. “I could feel it and I started crying.”

Right now, it takes members in Ecuador about 12 hours to attend the closest temple, Sister Madrid said. Once the new temple is built in Quito, “that means that they’re going to be able to come to the temple more often.”

While serving in the Ecuador Quito North Mission, she said that one of the biggest focuses the missionaries had was to help members and new converts prepare to go to the temple. “Everybody was doing everything in order to get this temple,” Sister Madrid said.

“I was always waiting for this moment,” Sister Madrid said. “I feel like that people from Ecuador are going to receive more happiness. I’m so happy for them. I’m just so happy that they have been faithful enough to deserve this temple and that Heavenly Father and Jesus trust them to give them a temple. I’m just excited for them.”