We enjoyed the week-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first Chilean Mission of the Church in Chile from October 8th-15th. We wish every one of you could have been here with us to enjoy the festivities and participate in the amazing activities. It was in every way, spectacular. On October 8, we enjoyed a fireside at the Lynch Norte Chapel which was broadcast to many Stake Centers throughout Chile. We learned about the past 50 years of the Church in Chile. Then Elder Zeballos of the Area Presidency asked us what will happen in the next 50 years of the Church in Chile. It was absolutely beautiful. During the week, we had visitors and investigators who wanted to learn and discover who we are and what we know and believe. It was wonderful!
On October 15th, more than 22,000 people gathered in a beautiful open-air Santiago Stadium just as the sun was setting on Santiago. It had been rainy and cold all week, and we prayed for good weather. It was perfect... no rain at all, just clear skies and fresh, cool, clean air!
First, we were privileged to hear from Elder Richards, Elder Zeballos, and Elder Corbridge (our Area Presidency) in a fireside setting which was perfect. Then we were entertained and taught through an elaborate and beautiful presentation which included nearly 3,000 youth from throughout the Country of Chile and many others. The dancing and music and costumes were colorful and artistically designed and created. We were thoroughly overcome with gratitude and love for our Chilean Brothers and Sisters and their overwhelming National Pride. The giant jumbo trons featured none other than a video of several of our missionaries teaching and preaching the Gospel and serving their Chilean Brothers and Sisters.
Our Missionaries were part of the program. Along with the missionaries from the North, West, East, andRancagua Missions, they were seated in the stands near the stage. A touching scene portraying a beautiful, faithful family saying good-bye to their son as he left to serve his mission brought tears to our eyes and filled us with gratitude for the Missionary Program of the Church. Then the spotlights flooded in upon the gigantic force of Missionaries wearing beautiful white shirts and huge sparkling smiles. In powerful, faithful voices, they sang, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go." It was spectacular! We felt such an outpouring of the Spirit. I don't think there was a dry eye in the entire stadium as the missionary on the stage, lovingly left his family and walked quietly across the stadium field pulling his suitcase behind him. Accompanied by the beautiful voices of our missionaries singing, it was a heart-warming setting and scene, and we were filled with the spirit of missionary work and its importance in our lives. Every person in the stands felt incredible gratitude for missionaries and the missionary program of the Church because of course, they were all brought to the true and restored Gospel by their own set of missionaries. They reverence and pay homage to all missionaries because they are so very grateful that some missionaries found and taught and baptized them. They know that without missionaries and the sacrifices they make, they themselves would not be members of the true and living Church. It was so powerful and so very beautiful.
The presentation depicted different historical episodes of the Americas along with the development of the Church in Chile. Music and dances from three continents were included with spectacular, gorgeous costumes designed and made by parents and volunteers.
We are constantly amazed at the talents and abilities that make possible these presentations. We know that without the help of the Lord, none of this would be possible here in Santiago. This was clearly a labor of love that has had remarkable influence here. Many people are wanting to know more about the Church because of this activity. We know that the positive effects of this celebration will be felt for years to come. We are so thankful to have been a small part of it all.