Thousands of Honduran Youth Perform, Pledge Service
Contributed By By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
On the eve of the dedication of this nation’s first temple, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf stood in front of thousands of Latter-day Saint youth and repeated the words of Honduras’s national motto: “Libre, Soberana, e Independiente” (“Free, Sovereign, and Independent”).
His passionate recitation prompted cheers from the many who had gathered at a baseball stadium inside the capital city for the March 16 LDS Honduras cultural event.
“I like the motto of your country … because that is what the Church is all about—that is what the temple is all about,” he told the program’s young cast members. “You are independent. You stand free to make a marvelous [contribution] to Honduras.”
In recent years, youth cultural events have become a beloved tradition during the weekend of new temple dedications. President Thomas S. Monson is a staunch supporter of such shows. They offer the youth of the Church an opportunity to showcase their faith, patriotism, and local culture through music, song, and colorful dance.
Members here say the Honduran cultural event exceeded expectations. More than 5,000 Mutual-age boys and girls from across the country gathered to stage an once-in-a-lifetime celebration anchored to the opening of the Church’s 141st temple.
“In generations to come, you can tell your children what this was all about,” said President Uchtdorf.
Before calling for the festivities to begin, the Church leader offered a blessing upon the Honduran youth “that the moments of this weekend will be ingrained in your hearts and be a part of your own personal scripture that you write.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf embraces a young man after accepting a bound book filled with the signatures of thousands of young people from Honduras who have pledged to serve missions. Photo by Jason Swenson.
The next 90 minutes was a spectacle of light and joy that was broadcast on live national television. (There was even talk the next day of a rebroadcast of the event.) The youth performed a variety of local folk dances that told the story of Honduras’s rich indigenous and colonial past. The evening would culminate in a salute to the Church’s newest temple.
The youth also presented President Uchtdorf with a book signed by thousands of Honduran youth signaling their pledge to serve a full-time mission.
He gladly accepted their pledges and then held high the book containing the names of future missionaries for all to see.