Christmas Lights Attract Visitors to "Most Sacred Place"
The Hamilton New Zealand Temple
HAMILTON, New Zealand — A regular visitor to the Christmas lights display in the grounds of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple was asked: "Why do you bring your family here each year?" The man, of Indian heritage and not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, replied: "Because this is the most sacred place in New Zealand."
Between 12 December 2011 and 9 January 2012, an estimated 35,000 people will visit the grounds of the Latter-day Saints' Hamilton New Zealand Temple and Visitors' Centre. Guests are enjoying the holiday spirit and are being dazzled each evening by the sparkle of 150,000 Christmas lights.
People of all faiths are travelling from all over New Zealand to the Temple's grounds as part of their annual Christmas festivities.
According to Visitors' Centre Director, Elder Ronald B. Funk: "This is a community activity and people bring their families and friends who are visiting for the holidays to see the lights. They come here because it makes them feel good."
Of the 35,000 people who come to see the lights each season, about 8,000 will also tour the Visitor's Centre to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ. Elder Funk says "about half of the requests from people to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ come from people visiting the temple grounds at Christmas."
Elder Funk often asks people in the community if they have been to the Visitors' Centre. "More often than not, people will say they come at Christmas time to see the lights. This is one of the key exposures to the Church for people in the community."
"Two years ago one of those visitors came to see the lights, toured the Visitors' Centre and requested to learn more about the Church's beliefs," he said. "Three months later he was baptized and now has been a service missionary for almost a year. This February he will attend the temple and be sealed to his family."
Elder Funk continues: "Last year a relative of a missionary brought three young men who were not members of the Church to see the lights and tour the Visitors' Centre. They were so touched by what they saw and felt that all three were baptized. One is now currently awaiting his mission call."
"People feel touched by the Spirit of God when they see the beautiful lights, and also when they hear music and messages celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ."
The Christmas lights on the grounds of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple are turned on each night at 9:15p from 12 December through 9 January. The Visitors' Centre is open until 11:00pm each night during the season.
Take a virtual tour of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple Visitors' Centre here.
Learn more about the teachings of Jesus Christ. Watch new online videos about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Dear Family & Friends: We are having so many new and exciting adventures to tell you about. We get up around 5:45am and go as fast as we can until bedtime, learning our new responsibilities and having a peek at this BEAUTIFUL country. We hope in this blog we can express how blessed we are to testify of Jesus Christ and serve Him in this amazing corner of the world! HAERE MAI* to our blog, we're glad you are visiting us!.....(*This means 'WELCOME' in the Maori language)
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Hamilton New Zealand Temple at Christmas
Posted by Jeff and Karen Larsen at 1:17 PM