Friday, November 10, 2017

Elder and Sister Bednar Visit Our Temple

Elder Bednar and entourage visit at the Kinshasa Temple 10/14/2017:

On Thursday, Oct 12, 2017 we poured the baptismal font for the 2nd time.  (There was a measurement mistake the first time, and the font had to be redone, which took weeks to form again.)  The 2nd time we poured it, there was a major problem with the concrete and it came out of the chute extremely liquified.  After 24 hours of of waiting, we could see that it was never going to set up to the required standard. (We later found out that the batching plant had added the wrong chemicals to all the batches that they sent to us that day… a retardant instead of corrosion inhibiter we had given them. Welcome to the Congo!)   To add to the pressure, after 18 months of working, we knew we were having our first visit from one of the twelve apostles.  Elder David Bednar was due to come the next day. 

The rest of this is edited from Stan Houghton’s Journal … the general contractor for the temple.  I, Kriss, added a few items which are in italics.

After our prayer meeting on Saturday morning with the guys I told them what we had to do and that we had some special visitors coming today so we needed to keep things just as clean as possible, even with us having to remove all the font forming and bad concrete. We all thought that we would have the guys working until about 12:00 noon. I was nervous as I was still trying to figure out how I was going to explain this problem to Elder Bednar and his group that were coming!

I spent the next 2 hours directing guys on what to do inside so that the Temple would look good and extra clean.  They walked over from the Chapel to the Temple at about 2:45. Present were  (Most all of these brethren had their wives with them) Elder Bednar, Bishop Waddell (counselor Presiding Bishopric), Elder Gong,  Elder Hamilton, Elder Mark Palmer (He's from NZ),  (3 great men from the first quorum of the seventies)  Elder Lono, Elder Monga, (our 2 local seventies) Elder and Sister Romney our missionary couple friends in Kinshasa over PR), and of course Elder and Sister Gates.  

After we met and greeted everyone, Elder Bednar said, ok Stan, take us through the Temple! I knew at that time just what I needed to do. We went in to the front entry of the Temple and I waited until everyone was in there. I told them where we were and where the recommend desk would be located. Then I said, Welcome to the Temple! I then started out and told them that today they would see something that they have never seen before in a Temple, and that I hoped they would never see again! You could have heard a pin drop on the concrete floor it was so quiet. 

Then I told them about us pouring the font on Thursday and the problem we had experienced with the concrete. I told them that this was a prime example of how if something goes wrong and it is not perfectly right, it needs to be replaced. They all completely understood and were very complimentary that we were there watching things and making sure that it was done correctly, not only the font but all of the other items throughout the Temple also. 

Everyone that came were extremely personal and nice. They had several questions as we walked through the Temple and I was able to share some personal thoughts and experiences along with their experiences as the topics and questions came up. One thing that I mentioned to them as we were talking about the topic of Sisters is that I took the time to compliment all of the sisters there on how thankful and important they were in supporting their husbands in their callings, how I missed being with my wife and how each of us men are nothing without our wives!

It was enjoyable to go through with them. They spent about an hour with us in the Temple walking through and asking questions. As we were leaving the Sealing room I explained to Elder Bednar how we have a prayer meeting each day before we begin our work on the Temple and how we had spent the last month on many occasions teaching all who were there at our meetings about who was coming to visit the Temple, your calling as an Apostle, what an apostle was and who you represent. Some of the guys had asked me earlier if I thought they could possibly shake Elder Bednar's hand. I told them that I would ask him if he had time to do so. He said absolutely! So while the group walked in to the Instruction room and then into the Celestial room, I had DM and Eric go get everyone that was working on the job and bring them in to the Temple. 

When we were in the Celestial room we discussed more of their questions and Eric asked me if I would tell the story of the "Rainbow Halo". I decided to let Sister Gates tell the story and she did a perfect job! Elder Gates and I both got pretty emotional while she was telling the story, it was hard to hold back the tears. It was perfect and what a great opportunity for us to be able to share those 2 special experiences of the rainbow halo's we had while working on the Temple.   (Both times we were pouring concrete in the Celestial room.)  After the story Elder Bednar said, "In hearing that you would think the Lords hand is in this work!", it was fun, we had a good time with them. 

After we left the Celestial room I led them back to the Instruction room. We had all the guys line up in the room as Elder Bednar and the group waited in the hallway to come through and shake their hands. After everyone entered the room and lined up I said to Elder Bednar that these men had been taught who he was, what his calling was and who he represented. Along with the other brethren and sisters with him, all being Disciples of Christ and these men were all here and excited to meet them. It was so special, all of the men just loved shaking their hands. After they shook all of their hands I think it was Sister Bednar asked if they would sing a song. We sang "Put your shoulder to the wheel". This was the song that we had practiced and brought all of the men and their families to sing in our sacrament meeting at church a couple of months ago. They knew it well and sang it perfectly, with gusto! It was very touching and special. The sound was just perfect in that Instruction room!  Elder Bednar recorded it on his phone, I only got part of the last verse. It was one of those moments that the tears just come to your eyes. Elder Gates and I both mentioned that there were several times as we walked and talked the spirit was so strong while visiting with them that we both got emotional now and then.

The men lined up reverently to shake hands.  The security men stayed close to the Bednars. 

After shaking hands, when I asked Elder Bednar if it was ok to take his photo for the temple history book, he said ok and asked where we wanted it.  I asked if it would be ok to take it in front of the men, and he agreed. 

 Things quickly got a little crazy.  One of the guys asked if he wanted to wear a a Westland hard hat and then one of the men put one on Sister Bednar. ( I hoped their wasn’t any head lice.)  It was only seconds until they took out their phones and started taking “selfies” with an apostle.  After that the guys were so excited and could not get enough pictures with Elder Bednar! It was great! And it was HOT and humid in there!

After we finished there we walked through the rest of the Temple showing them and explaining the balance of all the rooms to them. And of course, they all had to see the Baptistry with all of the unset concrete that we were still shoveling out!

After the visitors left, many of the guys came up and gave me a big hug thanking me for helping them to meet and shake hands with an Apostle. Even our workers that are not members were so happy that they got to shake the hand of an Apostle!

It was a special day for all of us, one we all will never forget! Even with the trial that we have been facing, it all is turning out ok. Now, we just need to pour the font one more time and have it turn out perfectly!

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