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Utahns talk about helping build the new Temple in Haiti

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — This weekend, the country of Haiti is getting its first Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many Utahns have helped that happen, by working for their companies on the project, often for several months at a time.

The project had challenges for the landscapers from Stratton and Bratt, based in Pleasant Grove, Utah. They couldn’t find good enough quality plants, and the sod for the Temple grounds was being cut by hand by machete in uneven chunks.

“Take palm trees. There’s not a nursery in Haiti that grows them. But we would find a local guy to go out, and find people who had palm trees (often hours away in the Dominican Republic), and he would buy them and bring them to the Temple site,” said project manager Tim Maynes.

Maynes says they overcame the challenges to make a beautiful place.

“We are building something that is not in existence in this area,” he said.

Electrician Howard Borst spent six months in Port-Au-Prince, working with Westland Construction on the indoor and outdoor lighting of the Temple. He helped train local workers from Haiti on site.

“Countless people came away with a skill they didn’t have before,” he said, adding that many people he worked with were able to then start their own small business or go on to have better jobs with their new skills.

Borst and Maynes talked about the term, “Temple Quality.” It’s a way to describe the above-excellent demands and standards for a Temple project. It is also built to withstand another natural disaster.

“There’s no cutting corners. You know you have to get it done exactly right, and there’s no other way to do it,” said Borst. He added that he was proud to have hung the chandelier in the celestial room that you can now see in the video of the Haiti Temple interior.

They always tried to buy local and source local supplies. But Haiti is a poor nation, and doesn’t have the same things you would expect in another country for example. So when they flew back to Utah for a visit, they would often take parts and supplies back to Haiti with them in suitcases.

They had setbacks and delays because of political unrest. At times, the conditions around them made Maynes question why Haiti was getting a Temple, when other places have more members of the Church.

“There were these little kids, playing on the side of the road. And the inspiration came into my mind, that we are building this Temple, because Heavenly Father loves these children,” said Maynes.

Maynes says the world is forgetting about Haiti, but the Lord has not.

They believe the Temple will bless Haitians for years to come.

“Even the ones who are not a member (of the Church) were welcoming that building. It’s such a beacon of hope, especially in that neighborhood. it just lights up,” said Borst.