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VANCOUVER, B.C. -- President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived in Canada Saturday evening to dedicate a new temple in Vancouver.
President took part in a cultural celebration which included performances from a group of more than 1,200 young Latter-day Saints. Those young people were thrilled to be with their prophet, and the feeling was mutual.
Before President Monson was a church leader, he served as a mission president in Canada for three years with his wife and children. His love of the Canadian people was evident at the celebration.
"This is the California of Canada, where the sun always shines," President Monson said.
President Dieter F. Uctdorf, Second Counselor of the First Presidency of the Church, accompanied President Monson on the trip.
This is the California of Canada, where the sun always shines.
–President Thomas S. Monson
"In my professional career I came to Vancouver quite often on a non-stop flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver. Coming here today and seeing all the smiles and the beautiful mountains, the green scenery, the smiling people," he said.
Some 1,200 young Latter-day Saints spontaneously sang "Oh Canada."
Then it was their turn. In song and dance, they told the story of their vast nation -- with its different peoples and many cultures.
Among the performers was a young woman whose charity work earned her a great honor. Lauren Kyle helped reunite 72 homeless people with their families.
"We're given the gift of being able to have 20 of us be torch bearers on the day before the [Olympic] opening ceremonies," she said. "It was amazing."
Then, for the last two months, she and many others prepared to perform for their prophet.
Austin Everett, another performer, said, "It means a lot, it really does. It really means a lot that he would come all this way for us. There's been a lot of temples and it's really exciting that he can come and watch us perform and everything. I'm really excited to see him and feel the spirit."
The show's title was "A Beacon to the World." Many of the young performers traveled as many as 10 hours for the celebration and dedication, and also to see their prophet for the first time.
Also Saturday, many members of the faith traveled to the new temple to take in its beauty. Three generations of one family came for a peaceful moment.
"We're not that far from two highways and yet you can't hear anything," said Melanie Nicholl. "It seems like it's in its own little paradise right here and it's green and there's a forest. It's beautiful."
President Monson will seal the cornerstone of the new Vancouver temple at 9 a.m. Sunday.