Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Belfast Northern Ireland Youth Visit Preston Temple

After a year in the planning, the youth from the Belfast Stake had finally arrived at the Preston England Temple near Chorley, fourteen years since the last stake visit.

Plans for the event had begun more than a year previously when Stake youth leaders had a great desire to see their youth participate in temple worship together. Since then, youth had attended the temple as part of a ward or branch visit. The logistics of organising travel arrangements across the Irish Sea had been easier for smaller groups. However, a vision of a stake visit spurred the youth leaders to make the necessary arrangements and overcome many challenges that stood in their way. In total, 78 young men and young women arrived, eager to participate in the temple.
Preparation began in July 2011 when a special fireside was held in the Stake to challenge youth to prepare spiritually and financially for the proposed visit. Leaders pleaded with the youth to keep their standards high or set their lives in order so that no one would miss the opportunity of serving in the temple together. Members held many fund raising events in their local communities and several organised visits were made to the Family History Centre to prepare family names to bring with them to the temple.
During the three day visit the youth performed more than 1300 baptisms and confirmations, 600 of which were for their own family members.  When the youth were not in the temple they toured the Missionary Training Centre and also completed a Church History tour of Preston. The youth behaved well throughout, with many people commenting on their respect and reverence both in and outside the Temple. The youth stayed on site in the Accommodation Centre.
The visit culminated with a fireside, held in the Chorley Chapel on the last evening of the visit. Elder Kerr and members of the Belfast Stake Presidency attended the fireside. It was an informal occasion with Elder Kerr answering questions from the youth. He shared many light hearted experiences from his own mission and conversion and encouraged the youth to faithfully live the gospel. Members of the Stake Presidency encouraged the youth to watch out for each other and care for each other and do all they could to keep strong so that no one would be lost.
After a short break and photo opportunities outside the temple, youth returned to the chapel to hold a testimony meeting. Many shared how touched they had been by their visit to the temple and how their spirits had been stirred. Friendships had been made and strength had been gained by their association together. Tears flowed and hearts were opened. Testimonies were borne and a love of the temple with leaders, who had initially had the goal of the stake visit, bearing strong witness of the divinity of the Saviour and His atonement.
A special fast and testimony meeting was held in the wards and branches throughout the Belfast Stake on Sunday 8th of July with all the youth being encouraged to share their testimonies and let the members at home know how they had been touched by their special visit to the temple.

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