With some 105 million people in the Philippines, 785,000 are members of the Church. In the six decades since it was introduced in the country, the Church has grown to 107 stakes, 68 districts, two operating temples with four more announced, and 23 missions. All together, the Church membership of the Philippines exceeds the combined membership throughout the rest of Asia.The second thing is the people’s love of the gospel. “They have a genuine, deep love of the gospel and the desire to do it right,” Elder Renlund said. “They don’t want to do anything related to the gospel halfway.”The first is the people’s ability to learn multiple languages. “It is impressive on many fronts,” he said. “Their ability to learn these languages is striking and, as they go out on missions, they do very, very well.”After meeting with members, youth, and missionaries from Bacolod, Iloilo, and Manila in the Philippines, Elder Dale G. Renlund said two things stood out to him.“Here’s this young lady whose life is uprooted and she is just delightful and supportive of everything,” Elder Renlund said. “I think we sometimes fail to recognize the impact on the families of these General Authorities and mission presidents. All over the world we call on people to serve and the support that children give their parents as they serve is very touching. In so doing, children demonstrate not only a love of their parents but a commitment to the Lord and His work. I think it’s just a wonderful, humbling thing.”Whenever he would ask converts to share their life stories, they would invariably begin with their baptism. “They know the exact date they were baptized, the exact date they were endowed. The gospel is a huge part of their lives,” he said.During his 10-day visit, Elder Renlund was accompanied by his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund; Elder Cook and his wife, Sister Lynette Cook; Elder Evan A. Schmutz, General Authority Seventy and Philippines Area President, and his wife, Sister Cindy Schmutz; and Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, General Authority Seventy and Second Counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency, and his wife, Sister Anita Wakolo.“To me, it was a very clear demonstration of what ministering is,” Elder Wakolo said. “[It was] an unforgettable moment for us as a family.”Elder Cook added that in one of the meetings, there were over a thousand people who took advantage of the opportunity to shake hands with Elder and Sister Renlund. Youth members take notes during a devotional with Elder Dale G. Renlund in Bacolod, Philippines, during his recent visit to the island nation.For Elder Renlund, children like Jasmin are unsung heroes in the Church.Sitting in his office in the Church Administration Building the day after returning home from a 10-day visit to the island nation from May 17 to May 26—his second visit there since being called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—Elder Renlund said he was impressed by the way the Church continues to grow in the Philippines.At most meetings, Elder Renlund shook the hands of everyone who wanted to come forward, “which was everyone,” Sister Renlund said. Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund speak at a leaders meeting in the Philippines. Youth members take notes during a devotional with Elder Dale G. Renlund in Bacolod, Philippines, during his recent visit to the island nation.“He tries to personally connect with everyone who attends the meetings, whether they are youth, leaders, missionaries, young single adults, anybody,” Sister Renlund said of her husband. “I always find that a very touching moment. It takes some time, but they actually get the chance to shake his hand and meet him.” Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund greet youth of the Talisay Philippines Stake.But as Elder Cook and Elder Wakolo described, the thing that meant the most to the members during the visit was the way that Elder and Sister Renlund took the time to serve and minister to them as individuals.As they traveled from island to island, Elder Renlund attended leadership conferences, a YSA conference, missionary meetings, and devotionals for youth, temple workers, and area office employees. He additionally had the opportunity to meet with Bishop Ephraim Tendero, the president of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), and Bishop Cesar Vicente P. Punzalan, III, chairman of interfaith relations for the WEA, which represents 600 million evangelicals. Members of the Church in Bacolod pile into a truck to attend a devotional with Elder Dale G. Renlund during his recent visit to the island nation.“Elder Renlund and Sister Renlund are very cheerful, united, charitable, and Christlike in every way,” Elder Wakolo said. “They ministered to the thousands, to the hundreds, to the many, to the few, and even, as we would say it in the Philippines, ‘isa isa,’ or one by one.”“As the Lord hastens His work throughout Asia and nearby countries, we will be looking to the Philippines for full-time missionaries and leaders,” Elder Cook said. “Young men and young women from the Philippines learn languages quickly. They are service-minded and naturally minister to others with heartfelt love. Mission presidents in many parts of the world have requested more Filipino missionaries to assist with the work. Those requests will continue to increase.” Elder Renlund greets members in Bacolod following a devotional in Bacolod, Philippines, during a recent visit to the island nation.While the Church is still relatively new in the Philippines, with many of the first generation to be baptized still actively serving the Church throughout the country, there is a sense that great things are happening because of the faith of the Saints there, Elder Renlund said. Members of the Church in Bacolod pile into a truck to attend a devotional with Elder Dale G. Renlund during his recent visit to the island nation.One moment that meant a lot to Elder Wakolo was when Elder Renlund took the time to get to know his daughter Jasmin Wakolo, who is 15 and has moved with her parents as they have followed their Church callings from their home in Fiji to various parts of the U.S. and now to the Philippines.“[They] are a remarkable couple,” Elder Cook said. “They are warm and engaging. They serve unitedly and they were tireless in reaching out to the Filipino Saints. Having served for many years with Saints all over the world, they have a treasure trove of experiences to draw from as they teach in the Savior’s way. The Filipino members didn’t want to leave after the meetings ended.” Elder Renlund greets members in Bacolod following a devotional in Bacolod, Philippines, during a recent visit to the island nation.Elder Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy, who accompanied Elder Renlund on much of the trip, explained that in many settings, Elder Renlund emphasized the critical role that the Philippines has in Asia. From left to right, Cindy Schmutz, Lynette Cook, Vice President Leni Robredo, Ruth Renlund, and Anita Wacolo.“I was repeatedly reminded that the Philippines is Asia,” Elder Renlund said, reflecting on how impressed he was by the members. “It is Asia and it is a Christian nation. As the Church is established there and becomes strong, Filipinos will go into Southeast Asia and elsewhere in Asia and strengthen those other nations.” Filipino Vice President Leni Robredo shakes hands with Lynette Cook after meeting with her and Cindy Schmutz, Ruth Renlund, and Anita Wakolo in the Philippines.Additionally, because of her position as a senior fellow with the International Center for Law and Religion at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Sister Renlund met with the vice president of the Philippines, Leni Robredo, a former civil rights lawyer, as well as with a representative from the Philippines Department of Education, and discussed matters of religious freedom, children’s rights, and education. Sister Renlund said the meetings went well and she extended an invitation to Vice President Robredo to attend the 2020 International Law and Religion Symposium held at BYU. Elder Dale G. Renlund speaks Jared Fermanis, whose parents are serving as mission president and companion in the Philippines Manila Mission, during his recent visit to the island nation.
“We encourage members to obtain their own copies of the scriptures and to use them in regular personal and family study and in Church meetings and assignments. As members prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow and they will receive greater direction in their daily lives.”Electronic versions of the updated Malagasy scriptures are now available online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Gospel Library mobile app.Printed copies of the scriptures in Malagasy will be available by May 31, 2019, through local distribution centers. Malagasy, is the national and official language of Madagascar, and is also spoken in Comoros, Réunion, and Mayotte. Communities of Malagasy speakers are in French and Quebec in Canada, and there are smaller ones in Belgium and Washington D.C. in the U.S.“Members are not expected to obtain a new set of scriptures as a result of this updated edition,” the First Presidency stated. The triple combination contains the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, a helpful study aid titled Guide to the Scriptures, and other study aids.The updated Triple Combination in Malagasy incorporates various adjustments approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Most of the adjustments are in the study helps, in the headings of the Doctrine and Covenants, or some minor spelling and meaning corrections in the text. Scripture verses in the new edition have the same page numbers as the previous edition.The First Presidency has announced The Church has announced the availability of the printed version of the triple combination of the scriptures in Malagasy.Updated triple
“Jack rabbits were everywhere,” he said in a Church News article. “One suddenly jumped up and took off in front of me. I pulled back on the bow and shot at it. I missed, but I thought I knew exactly where the arrow landed.”He was born December 1, 1937, in St. George, Utah, and grew up in Santa Clara, Utah. After they were married in 1955, Elder Stucki and Cheryl Cox were sealed in the St. George Utah Temple in 1957. He graduated with his associate’s degree from Dixie College and received his bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Utah. He was the CEO of RMC Foods in St. George as well as a managing general partner of Rocky Mountain Co.
Elder H. Bruce Stucki and Sister Cheryl Stucki when Elder Stucki was first called to be a General Authority. Photo by Paul Barker, Deseret News.“I no sooner finished praying than I opened my eyes and I saw the arrow right in front of me, right there in the brush,” he said. “I could never see it until I got down on my knees. I had to drop to my knees to pray before I could see.”As a child, he had an experience with prayer that taught him a very important lesson. Before he was 7 years old, he was hunting rabbits with his bow and arrow near his home.Funeral arrangements are pending. Prior to his service as a General Authority Seventy from 1999 to 2006, Elder Stucki served as an Area Authority from 1995 to 1997 and as president of the England Manchester Mission from 1997 to 1999. After being released as a General Authority, he was called to serve as president of the Las Vegas Nevada Temple and served in that capacity from 2006 to 2009.Elder Stucki’s ancestors came to Utah in 1856 with the Martin Handcart Company. His great-great-grandfather was rescued and safely brought into Utah from Wyoming. With his family history in mind, Elder Stucki rescued people throughout his life from both physical and spiritual danger.Elder Stucki went to retrieve the arrow, but he wasn’t able to find it. He continued to look for it, but it was starting to get late. He said he then felt like he should pray, so he dropped down to his knees and asked God to help him find his arrow.Elder Stucki is survived by his wife, Cheryl Cox Stucki, their six children, 20 grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren.Elder H. Bruce Stucki, emeritus General Authority Seventy, passed away on May 29, 2019, in his home in St. George, Utah, at the age of 81.
The electronic version of these new scriptures in Slovenian are now available online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Gospel Library mobile app.“We encourage members to obtain their own copies of the scriptures and to use them in regular personal and family study and in Church meetings and assignments,” the First Presidency stated. “As members prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow and they will receive greater direction in their daily lives.”Slovenian is spoken mainly in Slovenia, but also in Italy, particularly in Friuli Venezia Giulia; in Austria, especially in Carinthia and Styria; in Vas in Hungary; and also in Croatia.Print versionsPrinted copies of the scriptures in Slovenia will be available by May 31, through local distribution centers.The triple combination contains the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, a helpful study aid titled Guide to the Scriptures, and other study aids.The First Presidency has announced the publication of a new edition of the triple combination of the scriptures in Slovenian.
The FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has announced its free classes and webinars for June 2019.
Class highlights will address personal research tips, searching German ancestors from Russia, Dutch, and Portuguese records indexing, using the FamilySearch Wiki and apps, and more. Attend in person or online. No registration is required.
If you cannot attend a live event, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later online at your convenience at Family History Library classes and webinars. Online classes are noted on the schedule as webinars.
All class times are in mountain time (MT).DATE/TIME CLASS (SKILL LEVEL) WEBINAR Room
1:00 p.m. MT
Reservando nombres para el templo (Beginner)
10:00 a.m. MT
Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner)
10:00 a.m. MT
Dutch Records Indexing (Beginner)
1:00 p.m. MT
Reservando nomes para o Templo (Beginner)
10:00 a.m. MT
Using the FamilySearch Research Wiki (Beginner)
Tuesday, June 18, 10:00 a.m. MT
Using the FamilySearch Mobile Apps (Beginner)
Thursday, June 20, 10:00 a.m. MT
Portuguese Records Indexing (Beginner)
1:00 p.m. MT
Secretos del catálogo de FamilySearch (Beginner)
10:00 a.m. MT
Discovering the FamilySearch Community (Beginner)
11:00 a.m. MT
Germans from Russia: An Overview (Beginner)
Sister Helen K. Richards and her husband, Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Presidency of the Seventy, circa 1960. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library.A former Church News colleague, John Hart, and I recently reminisced about some of our assignments and people we’ve met, including General Authorities and their wives. I mentioned Sister Helen Kearnes Richards. Before I could say more, John said, “She was a great missionary.”
Sister Helen K. Richards, wife of Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Presidency of the Seventy. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library.“This woman seemed to look straight at me as she said, ‘To gain a testimony, you have to want it.’“I thought to myself, ‘I really do want a testimony.’ Then this sister added, ‘You must study for it.’”Sister Richards told me, “There was no more thought whether we should go or if there would be a better time.”For two years, they served as leaders in stake genealogy work, and then he was called to preside over the East Mill Creek Stake mission, with Sister Richards called to assist him.Elder Richards supervised missions in Latin America, with Sister Richards often encouraging members and missionaries in their efforts to share the gospel. She was described as “an indefatigable missionary: reaching out, testifying of God’s love, touching hearts, and blessing lives wherever she went.”Here are some insights to how she became a great missionary:She said their mission was a wonderful experience, although it lasted just one year instead of the three years they expected to serve. In 1960, when they’d been serving just nine months, Elder Richards was called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was called to the Quorum of the Seventy and to that quorum’s presidency in 1976.After he was released as a General Authority in 1983, Elder Richards was called to serve as president of the Washington D.C. Temple; Sister Richards served as temple matron.Sister Richards described one of the defining moments during those years. “Whether I had a testimony or not had really never bothered me until I was in a Relief Society meeting in which a member from the general board in Salt Lake City was speaking. She bore such a strong testimony. I thought, ‘I wish I felt that way.’Sister Richards said, “I thought, ‘This is where I have to start.’ I did many of the same things I had done before, but with a different objective and purpose. I prayed for a testimony and a testimony came, not all at once, but as I continued in my efforts, it came. It was all I hoped it would be—a strong, motivating force in my life.”
Sister Helen K. Richards, wife of Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Presidency of the Seventy, circa 1964. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library.As a young woman Sister Richards attended the University of Utah for two years but had to go elsewhere to pursue further training in her major, home economics. She attended and received a degree from Columbia University in New York City. After she returned to Salt Lake City she taught home economics at Murray High School. She and Franklin D. Richards, whom she had met at the University of Utah and waited for while he served in the Eastern States Mission, were married in 1923. They raised two daughters and two sons.Sister Richards replied, “‘This is going to surprise you, but I’m going to tell him I’d like to be a stake missionary. I’d like to teach the gospel in a simple, understandable way.’ He said he would also like to be a stake missionary.”He died in 1987 at age 86, she in 1998 at age 98.I met Sister Richards in 1976, shortly after her husband, Elder Franklin D. Richards, then Senior President of the Quorum of the Seventy, was called to serve on the Church’s Missionary Executive Committee.As they were driving to Utah, her husband said, “Now we’re out of a Church job. I suppose when we get settled, the bishop will come around and ask us what we’ve done and what we’d like to do. What are you going to tell him?”Elder Richards asked, “Don’t you think Heavenly Father knows your problems?” Sister Richards answered in the affirmative, and Elder Richards replied, “Then there’s no problem.”She said she had been greatly impressed with many people who were not members of the Church in Washington; some had expressed interest in the Church. One of her greatest regrets was that she had not introduced them to the gospel.Sister Richards said she realized she had studied to prepare lessons—but had never studied to gain a testimony. Then the visiting board member continued, “You have to work for a testimony.”In 1959 Elder Richards was called to preside over the Northwestern States Mission. Sister Richards said she was somewhat concerned when the call came. “My mother wasn’t very well, and she was very dependent on me, her only daughter. We still had two children at the university. I said, ‘If the call could come a year or two from now, we would [be] more settled and it would be easier to accept.’”“When we left Washington, I felt I had not done what I should have done in the way of missionary work among those fine nonmembers, because I didn’t know how,” she said.The Richards family lived 15 years in Washington D.C., where he was an executive with the Federal Housing Administration.
Print versionsUpdated triplePrinted copies of the scriptures in Fante will be available by May 29, 2019, through local distribution centers.“We encourage members to obtain their own copies of the scriptures and to use them in regular personal and family study and in Church meetings and assignments,” the First Presidency stated. “As members prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow and they will receive greater direction in their daily lives.”“Members are not expected to obtain a new set of scriptures as a result of this updated edition,” the First Presidency stated.The updated Triple Combination in Fante incorporates various adjustments approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Most of the adjustments are in the study helps, in the headings of the Doctrine and Covenants, or some minor spelling and meaning corrections in the text. Scripture verses in the new edition have the same page numbers as the previous edition.Electronic versions of the updated Fante scriptures are now available online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org and in the Gospel Library mobile app.The First Presidency has announced the publication of an updated edition of the triple combination of the scriptures in Fante.The triple combination contains the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, a helpful study aid titled Guide to the Scriptures, and other study aids.Fante is the major local dialect in the Central Region of Ghana and is spoken over much of the southern half of Ghana.
The tour will include stops in Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil.Sites and dates for President Russell M. Nelson's next ministry tour are set: Latin America in late summer.Wednesday, August 28: Buenos Aires, ArgentinaMonday, August 26: Quito, EcuadorPresident Nelson and Elder Cook will be visiting with government leaders, religious leaders, and members in the following locations for the Latin America tour:Read the full story on Newsroom.President Nelson will be joined by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook in visiting five countries in nine days from August 24 to September 2, Newsroom said.Sunday, September 1: São Paulo, BrazilSunday, August 25: Bogotá, ColombiaSaturday, August 24: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Missionaries study and converse at a table outside in an open-space setting at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.The Provo MTC is one of a dozen such training centers for missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.He finds himself often pausing and reflecting on his training and teaching experiences there when he walks on campus by the five buildings having stood essentially unused for nearly two years.Mills said no other changes are planned for the area, including the adjacent main entrance to the MTC, although the open space will give a more open feel to the entrance area.The open spaces to be created on the site of the five buildings will replicate the campus features existing between T3 and T4—benches, tables, walkways, and grassy areas to invite study, conversation, and teaching.The five buildings to be demolished, identified by both their current number-letter convention as well as bearing the names of past missionary-minded Church leaders, are:The only training buildings on the Provo MTC campus until the Parley P. Pratt Building (now T2) was added in 1993, the five continued to be used prominently until southern expansion on the campus saw the addition in 2017 of the T3 and T4 classroom buildings with their larger classrooms, full-length windows, and open-space feel. A map of the Provo Missionary Training Center campus. The five oldest training buildings to be demolished in the summer of 2017 are the five unmarked ones located between S1 and T2/S3.The first four were primarily classroom buildings, with the Ballard building also housing larger meeting rooms for MTC branch sacrament meetings and other large-group gatherings.“These buildings are older and have not been in use since the new training buildings were completed in 2017,” said Daniel Woodruff, a Church spokesman. “Demolition is expected to begin in the summer. This decision is a continuation of the master plan for updating and improving the Provo MTC.”Three decades ago, he found himself in a classroom of the Samuel H. Smith Building (9M) as a full-time missionary learning Japanese. “I just had a miraculous transitory experience in that space,” recalled Mills, who returned to the same building after his mission, teaching the language to new missionaries being trained. Missionaries study outside in an open-space setting at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. The Heber C. Kimball Building, left, one of the five oldest training buildings at the Provo Missionary Training Center, is seen in this January 14, 2008, photograph. The Wilford Woodruff Administration Building is on the right. Photo courtesy of Deseret News archives.The five oldest training buildings at the Provo Missionary Training Center will be razed this summer and replaced with open space for study and contemplation, similar to space added during MTC campus expansion two years ago. Open spaces adjacent to the new T3 and T4 training buildings on the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo are photographed on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.There had been some talk that—following the planned demolition of the five buildings—the available space might be used for a looping driveway for family and friends to drop off arriving missionaries on Wednesdays. However, the underground parking facility beneath the 2017 southern expansion now hosts the drop-off of new missionaries and decreases the impact of inclement weather on outside arrivals.
But of all these questions, her favorite is: What is the unique role of each diverse form of life?In closing, Grose left everyone, including herself, “with the admonition of Alma to experiment upon the word—to ask the Lord about our individual worth, our talents, and the pathways we should go to become our best selves.”In 1944, while listening to the radio, she heard Dutch Cabinet Minister Gerritt Bolkstein say, “History cannot be written on the basis of official decisions and documents alone. If our descendants are to understand fully what we as a nation have had to endure and overcome these years, then what we really need are ordinary documents.”The inter-related nature of life is complex and highly variable, Grose said, “as is the individual and essential roles that each form of life plays.”The big question of life is how one finds his or her own talents and purpose in life, she continued. During her time at BYU, she's seen how God cares for each student individually.On three separate occasions, she had to find funds to enable a student to be trained in scientific research. Though each of them had a great desire to be trained and use their talents, Grose did not have the funding to accept another student. “Knowing that the student needed the funds immediately, when usually it takes six to 12 months for me to get grant funding, I turned to prayer,” she said.What exactly is life?Unfortunately, a few months later, the police became aware of their hiding place and arrested the eight people living in the annex. Of those eight, only Otto Frank, Anne's father, survived.“Anne immediately had a purpose,” Grose said. She began rewriting her diary into a book that she could share with the world.There are many big questions that Julianne Grose, associate professor of microbiology and molecular biology, loves exploring while researching biology.How was the great diversity of life created and how is it evolving?In particular, they can infect and kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, giving an alternative treatment when there are no other treatment options. Students at BYU were able to do just this by isolating some of these viruses and using them to treat a sea turtle named Shelly, who had an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection.Life will not be easy, nor will all prayers be immediately answered in such an obvious way, she cautioned. “But what I do know is that when we rely on our Savior and ask for His help, He will help us and we can have our ‘peace be as a river, and our righteousness as the waves of the sea,’ as Isaiah has written” (Isaiah 48:18).The life of Anne Frank exemplifies the effect that one individual can have. While Anne and her family hid in an annex in the Netherlands for two years, she used writing in a diary as an outlet.Grose studies bacteriophages, or viruses that infect and kill bacteria. While most people think of viruses as something bad, viruses “contribute to the health of our planet by regulating the levels of bacteria in an ecological system,” she said.For instance, many studies have shown that removing the sea otter from a habitat can lead to an increase in sea urchins, a decrease in kelp beds, and alterations to wave action and siltation. “In these cases, the sea otter had a much higher impact on the ecology than what was expected from their sheer numbers,” she said.The abundance and diversity of life “means that in order to succeed on the planet, a species must have a purpose and a place,” Grose said during a BYU devotional in the de Jong Concert Hall on May 21.Within a few days on each of these occasions, a funding opportunity appeared out of the blue with little effort on her part. “Let me tell you that this does not happen,” Grose said. “Nor is it likely to happen to me again unless the Lord is moving mountains on a student’s behalf.”After having taught biology at BYU for 11 years, she has been impacted by this same truth. “That each student has an individual and unique role to play. That each student has unique talents and gifts that are not quite the same in any other person.”But Anne's diary survived as well, and today, millions of people have read it. “It has inspired countless, including survivors of similar unimaginable difficulties,” Grose said.How does one classify life?
Performers entertain during a Tahiti cultural program for President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Members love the Lord and they love the Lord’s prophet and they want him to feel like he is home, and he does,” said Elder Gong.“Early, early after the restoration process began, we had our missionaries here,” said Elder Gong. A combined choir sings during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Sister Wendy Nelson is interviewed by media in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Performers wait to entertain during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Attendees listen to speakers during a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.In a week marked by rainy and cloudy weather—tempered, said President Nelson, by the faith of local Latter-day Saints—the sun emerged Friday in Tahiti. “My feelings are gratitude and love,” said President Nelson. A boat is anchored in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 23, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wave upon arrival in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 23, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Elder Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“Something magnificent” Performers dance during a Tahiti cultural program for President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Young performers sing during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Performers sing during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.After addressing a total of 94,510 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; flying 17,844 miles; and calling upon kings, presidents and prime ministers, President Russell M. Nelson completed his nine-day, seven-country Pacific Ministry Tour on Friday, May 24, with a warning to local Latter-day Saints.She challenged the members to sacrifice something for family history and temple work. “I invite each one of us for just 100 days to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by spending a little more time with our ancestors,” she said. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are interviewed by media in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.PAPEETE, TahitiOn a ministering tour marked by visits with government, civic, and religious leaders, President Nelson was greeted at the airport in Tahiti by French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch, who also met with President Nelson and attended the cultural celebration and devotional. Performers entertain during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Throughout the Pacific Ministry Tour, Latter-day Saints lined the streets, met the prophet at the airport, and hung banners boldly proclaiming the words, “Welcome Home.”“We see evidence the Church is really coming out of obscurity here,” said President Nelson. “It is a dominant force for good.” Attendees listen to speakers during a devotional at Stade Pater stadium in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019.
Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, wave to attendees after a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Attendees sing for President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.As part of the Pacific Ministry Tour, President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson—traveling with Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong—visited Kona, Hawaii; Apia, Samoa; Sydney, Australia; Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand; and Suva, Fiji; Nuku’alofa, Tonga; and Papeete, Tahiti.Thousands of youth, young adults, and missionaries serving in French Polynesia participated in the cultural celebration—displaying bright and beautiful music and dance and singing Church hymns and Primary songs.“There’s trouble ahead,” he said before leaving Tahiti Friday evening. “Prepare for attacks from the adversary. Please protect yourself from Satan’s traps, including harmful drugs and pornography.” Youth sing during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Something better Attendees listen to speakers during a devotional at Stade Pater stadium in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. A grass-roof structure near the water in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 23, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Nelson traveled to the French Polynesia in 1994, offering a blessing on the land and the people and celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Church in Tahiti three years before Utah held a similar sesquicentennial celebration in 1997. “So our people should know that the Church was established here in French Polynesia before the pioneers ever got to Utah.” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, left, and French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch greet in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Entertainers perform the haka during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during a devotional at Stade Pater stadium in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Nelson, who has been traveling to Pacific island nations since 1976, added: “They feel like I am part of the family, and I am.”Commenting on Tahitian hospitality, President Nelson said President Fritch “was with us from the time our plane touched down until we walked out of the arena.” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are interviewed by media in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during a devotional at Stade Pater stadium in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Being near “the prophet is really amazing,” said Heimana Pedron, a third-generation Church member in Tahiti. “I really felt the spirit. I had goose bumps when I sang for him. I am really grateful I get this blessing.” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, right, and French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch applaud performers during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Fritch thanked Church leaders and members “for your tremendous contribution to our country. It’s a pleasure to be side by side with you all.” Attendees sing for President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Issuing a voice of warning regarding troubled times ahead, President Nelson asked the members to do two things: Maifano Kahui and Kohuaitu hold their baby, Maifano, as they listen during a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Observing President Nelson is a reminder that Heavenly Father loves all of his children in all the far flung parts of the earth and in all their circumstances—even though “they are not far flung [to the members] and they are not far flung to our Father in Heaven either.”The “dignified Tongan Saints,” for example, weathered a storm while waiting for the devotional, said Sister Gong. “When we start the meetings, the rain slows down or stops, but they were there in the rain for two hours waiting for this to happen, waiting to see the prophet and hear what he had to say to them.” Entertainers perform the haka during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Rain enveloped devotionals held in Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji—slowing or stopping long enough for meetings to be held. Performers dance during a Tahiti cultural program for President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. A boat is anchored in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 23, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“We see evidence the Church is really coming out of obscurity here,” said President Nelson. “It is a dominant force for good.” Attendees watch performers during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.President Nelson came here to “be with the people in a way that brings the Lord's love, that brings the Lord's doctrine, that brings the Lord's commandments.” Performers dance during a Tahiti cultural program for President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.175 yearsPresident Nelson recalled his time in the South Pacific, the cherished memories and associations he has there, and said he prayed to know what to say.Joseph Smith sent missionaries to French Polynesia in 1843. They arrived in 1844 and labored in Tubai. Even though they left the island four years later, a few faithful members remained. Work progressed; the Book of Mormon was translated into Tahitian in 1904. Another half century later, in 1955, the Church organized a French-speaking branch in Tahiti—the first French-speaking branch in the Church. Tsaong Tsonkouei, Paimata Tehea and Mariania attend a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Government leadersThe 175-year legacy of faith that began on the island of Tubai continues to bless members today, said both Elder and Sister Haleck during the devotional. Attendees watch performers during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“I think there is tremendous faith here,” said Elder Gong. “There is great concern and love for each other and the prophet.” Performers dance during a Tahiti cultural program for President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Elder Gong said President Nelson accomplished “something magnificent” on the tour. “This has been called a Pacific Ministry Tour. I have been so deeply touched by how the prophet of God ministers to 10,000 people and a single family that is grieving over the loss of their mother. There is a sense of connection, and of covenant belonging together, that makes each one feel as though this is for them individually, for their family, and for large groups—countries—at the same time. That is a remarkable thing to feel and see.”Speaking during the devotional, Sister Nelson posed a question: “Would you like your life to be better in just 100 days?”Sunshine Paul and Tesada Oaoa listen during a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Noting the 175th anniversary of the Church in French Polynesia, President Fritch added, “Happy birthday to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Elder Elder Gerrit W. Gong of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to dignitaries in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.Some 10,000 Tahitian Latter-day Saints filled Stade Pater Stadium here for the devotional and 175th anniversary cultural program honoring the start of missionary work in the Pacific. The events were broadcast to meetinghouses throughout French Polynesia.Members came early for meetings, he added. “They came prepared. They had fasted. They had prayed. They had gone to the temple. They wanted to be spiritually ready for what was coming.” An attendee plays with her child during a devotional in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News. Performers dance during a Tahiti cultural program in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 24, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.“I hope we will think of the sacrifices made by our earthly ancestors of the Church on our behalf,” Elder Haleck said.
The final pattern Pinegar described was that the Lord blessed Joseph Smith in his weakness. Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Rebekah Baker, BYU Photo.“If the Lord will bless Joseph . . . even in his weakness, I have confidence He will bless me too,” she said.In this life, “our most effective weapon is God’s redeeming love, in contrast to the weapons of the adversary,” she said. “With dignity and poise, we can stand for truth.”“As I did, the Spirit just filled up my young body,” Pinegar said. While she might not have understood what was happening at the time, the experience was a foundational one for her.When she was eight years old, she stood to bear her testimony of the only thing she’d ever talked about in Church: the Prophet Joseph Smith.“If we want revelation, we will want to increase our faith,” Pinegar said. “If we want increased faith, we will want to increase our obedience. Obedience connotes action; exact obedience connotes an action of a willing and a humble heart.”“This powerful confirmation about the truthfulness of James’s statement was the first written revelation of this dispensation. It preceded and precipitated Joseph’s decision to ask of God, which, when he obeyed that decision, resulted in the First Vision.”“As we pattern our lives after the righteous patterns of those the Lord calls to preside over us, even in their weakness, I know we will be numbered with the pure in heart, noble and virtuous, and we will receive the multiplicity of blessings associated with that numbering.”First, “seeking revelation may involve us in a war,” she said.As a small child, Rebecca Pinegar was often given the assignment to give a 2 ½ minute talk. Each time, her father would sit down at his Remington typewriter and in a minute or two type out her talk. Each time, it was about Joseph Smith’s First Vision.Another pattern is that when Joseph Smith encountered difficulties, he turned to the scriptures. It was during such a period that he read the epistle of James and received a powerful revelation.But he also received opposition from Satan before he began his prayer, and it was only by exerting all his power that he could call upon God.Pinegar, an assistant to the matron of the Provo Utah Temple, shared several patterns Joseph Smith set for seeking and receiving revelation during her closing keynote address at BYU Women’s Conference on May 2. Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 BYU Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Madeline Mortensen, BYU Photo.Adopt Joseph’s pattern and exert all power and persistence against the adversary, Pinegar advised.When Joseph Smith began seeking what church to join, he encountered a war of words. It is a variant of the war fought against Satan in heaven, Pinegar said.“I cannot thank my father enough for preparing me for that revelation,” she said. “Joseph Smith is a revealer of Christ, who is a revealer of God. Everything that is good in my life rests on that knowledge.”His response resulted in another pattern: obedience and faith.Like Joseph, “we will feel Satan’s opposition,” Pinegar said. That opposition, however, will likely be less intense and more subtle, like the thought that God does not care about “something so small as our concerns or that we are not worthy to receive an answer to our prayers.”The next pattern is prayer.Joseph recognized that he could remain in darkness and confusion, or he could ask of God. By choosing to pray, he saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Pinegar, an assistant to the matron of the Provo Utah Temple, shared several patterns Joseph Smith set for seeking and receiving revelation during her closing keynote address at BYU Women’s Conference on May 2.When she was 8 years old, she stood to bear her testimony of the only thing she’d ever talked about in Church: the Prophet Joseph Smith.“As I did, the Spirit just filled up my young body,” Pinegar said. While she might not have understood what was happening at the time, the experience was a foundational one for her.“This powerful confirmation about the truthfulness of James’s statement was the first written revelation of this dispensation. It preceded and precipitated Joseph’s decision to ask of God, which, when he obeyed that decision, resulted in the First Vision.”The next pattern is prayer.“I cannot thank my father enough for preparing me for that revelation,” she said. “Joseph Smith is a revealer of Christ, Who is a revealer of God. Everything that is good in my life rests on that knowledge.”Joseph recognized that he could remain in darkness and confusion or he could ask of God. By choosing to pray, he saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.The final pattern Pinegar described was that the Lord blessed Joseph Smith in his weakness.When Joseph Smith began seeking what church to join, he encountered a war of words. It is a variant of the war fought against Satan in heaven, Pinegar said.In this life, “our most effective weapon is God’s redeeming love, in contrast to the weapons of the adversary,” she said. “With dignity and poise, we can stand for truth.” Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Rebekah Baker, BYU Photo.Adopting Joseph’s pattern and exert all power and persistence against the adversary, Pinegar advised.But he also received opposition from Satan before he began his prayer, and it was only through exerting all his power that he could call upon God.Like Joseph, “we will feel Satan’s opposition,” Pinegar said. That opposition, however, will likely be less intense and more subtle, like the thought that God does not care about “something so small as our concerns or that we are not worthy to receive an answer to our prayers.”“As we pattern our lives after the righteous patterns of those the Lord calls to preside over us, even in their weakness, I know we will be numbered with the pure in heart, noble and virtuous, and we will receive the multiplicity of blessings associated with that numbering.”First, “seeking revelation may involve us in a war,” she said.“If the Lord will bless Joseph … even in his weakness, I have confidence He will bless me too,” she said.His response resulted in another pattern: obedience and faith.Another pattern is that when Joseph Smith encountered difficulties, he turned to the scriptures. It was during such a period that he read the epistle of James and received a powerful revelation.As a small child, Rebecca Pinegar was often given the assignment to give a 2 ½ minute talk. Each time, her father would sit down at his Remington typewriter and in a minute or two, type out her talk. Each time, it was about Joseph Smith’s First Vision. Women exit the Marriott Center as they head to their classes for the 2019 BYU Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Madeline Mortensen, BYU Photo.“If we want revelation, we will want to increase our faith,” Pinegar said. “If we want increased faith, we will want to increase our obedience. Obedience connotes action; exact obedience connotes an action of a willing and an humble heart.”
A three-year contract to work as an administrative manager for an Ely mining company came in April 2016, coinciding with his release as an Area Seventy in Chile. The Giménez family arrived on a dark, rainy day to a stark home, facing a new location, new language, and new culture.Elder Giménez—who was serving as a stake presidency counselor in Ely at the time of his call—would hear Latter-day Saints there talk about trying to work in a temple visit along with errands or shopping in the larger cities several hours away.Elder Giménez said, “It was a very humbling experience to be reminded to put our trust in the Lord more than in our own capabilities.”
Elder Ricardo P. Giménez and Sister Catherine Giménez pose for photos at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 8, 2019. Elder Giménez was called to be a General Authority Seventy. Photo by Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News.
Locator map of Antofagasta, Chile. Graphic by Joseph Tolman, Deseret News.As they got acquainted, she learned that he—a returned missionary and college student living in Santiago—returned to Antofagasta each summer to spend time with his father, the reason she first saw him there. They spent the next six months becoming good friends before he asked her for a date.Accepting invitations to speak in Church, to teach classes, and to give talks seemed daunting—even speaking English with others over the phone was a considerable challenge initially.“I came back by myself—I always knew it was the right place for me, and I never stopped praying,” she said, adding, “I knew that I had to get married in the temple.”Elder and Sister Giménez have shared parts of their culture with friends and acquaintances in Ely, such as Latin gestures of closeness—greetings of a hug and small kiss (“besito”) between women or an embrace (“abrazo”) shared by men.While riding a bus en route to work in her father’s store one summer day in 1995, Catherine first spotted Ricardo—different because he was taller and of lighter complexion than other Chilean men—walking on a street of Antofagasta. She saw him again later that evening at a party with friends, noticing him socializing and dancing with others.
Graphic by Joseph Tolman, Deseret News.“I ask myself, ‘Who are you? I’m nobody,’” he said, then quickly reminds himself of the many times he has taught the principle of the Lord qualifying those whom He calls.As they started their family in Chile, he first worked in the mining industry then in information technology services. As family and profession both progressed, he considered attending Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business or pursuing international work opportunities. But his commitment to Church callings didn’t mesh with the timing of such possibilities, which came as he was serving as a bishop in Antofagasta, then as stake president there, and later as an Area Seventy.Both wonder if they are up to their new tasks. “I’m super worried about being ready spiritually,” Sister Giménez admitted.The Antofagasta moment was shared by Latter-day Saints in Ely, a town of some 4,000 in east-central Nevada that served as a 19th-century stagecoach station and where copper was discovered in 1906. Ely is where Elder Giménez, his wife, Sister Catherine Giménez, and their two children have lived—and learned—for the past three years.But she didn’t actually meet and talk to him until after the summer ended and she had moved to Santiago to attend college and live with her uncle, who was the bishop of a ward in Chile’s capital city. Attending Sunday meetings, she saw the same young man she remembered seeing on the streets and at the previous party in Antofagasta, some 800 miles away.“I’ve converted the whole stake presidency and high council, because I grab them and I hug them,” Elder Giménez said. “And the same with the missionaries—when I hug them, they put their heads on my shoulder.”After being taught by the elders, young Ricardo told his mother he wanted to be baptized; she agreed and joined him. “I had a real and clear impression that it is true,” Elder Giménez recalled of his conversion. “I felt that everything made sense and fit in the right place.”The Antofagasta-Santiago connection continued: the couple were married civilly—as legally required—in September 1997 in Antofagasta then sealed a couple of days later in the Santiago Chile Temple.The city of Antofagasta, Chile, seemed doubly blessed during April 2019 General Conference. In one session, President Russell M. Nelson announced a new temple for the port city and regional capital in the heavy mining area of northern Chile. And in another, native son Ricardo P. Giménez was named as one of 10 newly called General Authority Seventies.That attitude carries over now, not only for Elder Giménez in his new assignments, but for Sister Giménez when she accompanies him and participates as invited.Elder Giménez said he thinks of other Latter-day Saints with more knowledge and more experience. “This is the first time in my life that I really feel my inadequacies—huge, huge inadequacies.“We prayed about it—and we felt it was good,” Elder Giménez said. “Looking back, we can connect the dots, but at the time, it was pretty hard.”An 11-year-old Ricardo Giménez joined the Church in Santiago, where he, his mother, and younger sister relocated after his parents’ divorce in Antofagasta. Attending various churches in search of comfort and peace, his mother was introduced to Latter-day Saint missionaries.“I’ve taught that saying many times in the past, and now I’m trying to apply it to myself. Heavenly Father calls you. He knows you. So just go and do what He wants, and everything will be fine.”Catherine Carrazana was born in a Latter-day Saint family and participated in meetings and activities until she was 12, when her family stopped attending. Drawing on childhood memories of singing hymns and Primary songs and watching filmstrip presentations of the First Vision, she returned to Church participation at age 18.“During this time, we drew closer to Heavenly Father than in any other time,” said Sister Giménez, who diligently prepared talks and lessons, went teaching with the full-time missionaries, and committed to share her testimony monthly in English “because that’s the only way I’m going to know how.”Once in Ely, they realized temples were nearly every direction—in Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. But they are all located from three to five hours away by car. For the Giménez family, that’s only a third or less of the 15 hours to drive from Antofagasta to the temple in Santiago.“Four hours—for me, that is a gift; it is a blessing. Don’t say that it’s too far away,” he said. “Put the temple as a goal, not just part of a side trip for errands or shopping. Let’s switch the priorities, let’s go to the temple. You can do the other, but the main priority is going to the temple.”“That was our intention from the very beginning. So no matter what the Lord requires from us, we will say, ‘Yes,’ we will do our best, and we will put our trust in Him. It was part of the learnings the Lord wanted for us over these three years.”While modeling for Ely one type of “embracing,” they’ve tried to show another kind of embracing: taking the faith, testimony, ministering, and serving they’ve learned—whether it be in Antofagasta, Chile, or Ely, Nevada—“so that we can embrace everything that is good and put it into serving the Lord,” he said.
Joy in the journey comes not only from anticipating a reunion with loving Heavenly Parents, but also when one has “eyes to see and ears to hear the beauty and goodness of our everyday circumstances,” even when those circumstances might be challenging, she said.Through repentance and forgiveness made possible by Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, everyone can progress and find joy and peace through their imperfect but best efforts.The first bit of advice the First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency shared was to discover and live true to divine assignments.Some have been diagnosed with depressive disorders which require medical treatment. They might struggle to experience the fruits of the Spirit “through no fault of their own,” Sister Craig said. “For these individuals, I would plead with you to hold on. With treatment and time, surely better days are ahead.” Women walking to classes during BYU Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News. Women take notes as they attend a “Sister to Sister” event at women's conference at BYU's Marriott Center. Photo courtesy of Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News. Women wave as they move to other classes while attending BYU Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News.Fourth, look for God in the ordinary and simple.“In this life, and in the next,” she said, “I believe that the Lord will pour out His blessings upon us that will more than make up for every pain, every heartache and every sacrifice that we are asked to make.”“And the fruits of the Spirit are ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith’” (Galatians 5:22). Joanne Price and Kay Morgan talk as they attend BYU Women’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News.Second, is to “find joy in our circumstances.”When each person does his or her imperfect best to “prayerfully discover and live true to the divine assignments that we have been given, all things will work together for our good,” she said.Each person has a divine nature, purpose, and errand uniquely suited to him or her. Sister Craig taught, “With Christ as our example, each of us needs to find, and then finish, the work which our Heavenly Father has given us to do—not what He has given my neighbor across the street to do.”Joy and peace can be felt as one comes to understand his or her place in God’s plan “and [comes] to know soul deep that we are children of Heavenly Parents who love us,” she said.The third bit of advice is that joy multiplies.“I love that Peter is encouraging us to see good days—not to have good days,” Sister Craig said. “He is teaching us that to learn to love life, [those] who find joy in the difficult journey are those who are intentional [and] go about looking for it.”
Sister Michelle D. Craig, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency“Perhaps we can be more intentional about smiling at the cashier at the grocery store who is in training, biting our tongue when someone cuts us off in traffic, or putting an arm around a young woman at Church and telling her that she’s just wonderful.”Her final advice: “Understand that Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness is not just for the next life. It is for the here and now.”Every interaction with another person is an opportunity to spread joy and build character, faith, and testimony, Sister Craig said.She then shared a list of “little packets of light” anyone can do to bring joy and help someone see good days. It included welcoming each day no matter how it looks, diligently serving, staying on the covenant path, repenting, and focusing on Jesus Christ.When one turns to God in difficult and trying circumstances instead of away from Him, using those opportunities to pray more fervently and look to God more diligently, he or she can have an increase of the Spirit, Sister Craig taught.“I would tell her that there are times in all of our lives that are difficult, that life isn’t always easy,” said Sister Craig in a May 3 breakout session of BYU Women’s Conference. “I would tell her she will have heartaches and heartbreaks—both physical and spiritual challenges—but that she can and will find joy in every season.”If she could go back in time, what advice would Sister Michelle D. Craig of the Young Women General Presidency give to her 16-year-old self?Peter encouraged all to “love life, and see good days” (1 Peter 3:10).
“Those are the times that you listen to the Spirit and follow,” Elder Budge said of this experience. “Those are times I think that God is once again checking, ‘Is your heart in the right place? Are you staying true to what matters most?’ I think when you do that, He blesses you. He can trust you, too.”Elder Budge remembers going to his father and asking if he could make an exception about not playing sports on a Sunday. Rather than telling him he couldn’t play, his father told him, “You need to pray about it. Get your own answer.”She was drawn to his faith and purity of his soul. From the moment they first met, “I just felt his goodness,” she said. “He’s just a good, good man.”Upon asking Heavenly Father what he should do, he felt a strong impression that said, “Get out of there. Don’t stay.” So he left.“We love Japan,” he said. “We love the culture, we love the people. Just a lot of good friends and great relationships over there.”That someday came in August 1981, when they were married in the Logan Utah Temple.How could he have known? He explained that a friend of his was in attendance that night.Elder Budge was born in Pittsburg, California, to Lowell and Deanna Budge. After returning from serving in the Japan Fukuoka Mission, he studied economics at BYU, where he met Lori Capener.Rather than telling Elder Budge he thought this was a great plan, “He looked at me like I was crazy.”Soon after that, Elder Budge’s career took him back to Japan where he later became the president and CEO of Tokyo Star Bank Ltd.—the first foreigner to become president of a Japanese bank.A little while later, young Todd was in an accident that resulted in him being hospitalized in the intensive care unit. With his mother crying and everyone around him feeling nervous, he remembers saying, “It’s going to be OK. I didn’t play baseball on Sunday.”The very weekend he needed to make the final decision of a program to join and to tell his boss he was quitting, Elder Budge was given the opportunity to attend a social services seminar at a nearby stake. He was familiar with the books the seminar speaker had written and decided that if he attended, he could confirm his decision to change careers.He soon began taking graduate records exams and traveling to interviews to find the right program. “Here I was talking about quitting my job and going back to school with five kids. It was scary,” he said. But he knew he needed to go forward.There was an unsavory atmosphere at the dinner, however, and Elder Budge, who was serving as bishop at the time, felt “very uncomfortable.”After their first date, Elder Budge recorded in his journal that she “is the kind of girl that I want to marry someday.”As they talked, he was told, “Some day you’ll have lots of opportunities to counsel people and help people. We need people with integrity in business. You can do a lot of good. You don’t have to do what I’m doing to do good and to help people.”While not knowing then what the outcome would be and whether or not he would fully recover, he at a young age had an assurance that came from understanding the relationship between obedience and faith.Elder Budge was asked to join a prestigious club of businessmen in Japan, which required a nomination to join. In order to show him the “fringe benefits” of joining the club, an expensive dinner was thrown in his honor.During their time in the United States, with five children and a new house, Elder Budge began wondering if his career was doing as much good as he otherwise could. “I was getting these feelings that maybe I should be a marriage and family therapist and try to help families, because families are central to the plan [of salvation].”
Graphic by Joseph Tolman, Deseret News.“I think that was the first answer that I remember,” Elder Budge said. “It was: ‘Don’t do it.’ So I didn’t.”The position “opened doors to talk about the gospel, to talk about the Church, and to deepen my understanding of and love for the Japanese people and culture,” he said.In praying about this counsel, Elder Budge felt a confirmation the speaker was right. For him, it meant he now knew what career path God wanted him to take.Very soon after that, Elder Budge stopped by the home of a less-active Church member. He answered the door and said, “I’ve heard about you. I hear you had an interesting dinner the other night.”Elder Budge’s banking and finance career soon took their young family to Tokyo, Japan, then to Georgia.“So really, the only mission left was Nagoya, but we didn’t get that one,” Elder Budge quipped.Elder Budge has spent 22 years of his life in Japan, and the Budge family has served in nearly all the missions in Japan—with the exception of one child who served in Hong Kong and another serving in Accra, Ghana. Elder Budge served in Fukuoka, a son served in Sendai, another served in Kobe, one daughter in Sapporo, another in Tokyo, and Elder and Sister Budge presided over the Japan Tokyo Mission.Listening to this speaker, Elder Budge thought, “I want to be like him. That’s what I want to do with my life.” Then he went to greet the speaker after his speech and mentioned his plan of quitting his job in finance to pursue a career in marriage and family therapy.“I think He wanted to know where my heart was,” he said. “Once the Lord knew my heart, He did not require the sacrifice, and I trusted that He could use me for His purposes without changing careers.”From that point, Elder Budge—sustained as a General Authority Seventy in the April 2019 General Conference—said he has “always wanted to have confidence in my standing with God.”“And so I excused myself, went to the restroom, went into a stall and I started praying.”One of Elder L. Todd Budge’s earliest recollections come from when he made a youth baseball all-star team. Turns out, the game was going to be on a Sunday.
Elder L. Todd Budge was sustained Saturday, April 6, 2019, as a General Authority Seventy.God wants His children to choose Him and trust Him, Elder Budge said. “I think one of the reasons we came to earth is to learn to trust in God’s goodness and His mercy and His power and His love for us,” he added, citing 1 Nephi 17:40: “And he loveth those who will have him to be their God.”Afterward, the speaker was supposed to leave immediately for a flight. However, the flight happened to be delayed, so Elder Budge had a chance to talk to him one on one about his plans.His time in Asia has not come to an end just yet. In August, Elder Budge will serve as Second Counselor in the Asia North Area Presidency.
Decades later, he’s found that being a priesthood holder and a general officer in the U.S. Army is a natural fit.Conversely, Taylor said serving in the military has made him a better Latter-day Saint.The former college athlete remains a fit man—but it’s unlikely he’ll take the mound for any impromptu baseball games.In fact, growing up, the one-star general never gave much thought to wearing his country’s uniform.He returned to BYU for graduate school in 2001, joining Vance Law’s coaching staff for a year. He later taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.But military legacy was not a career-guiding factor for U.S. Army Brig. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor—a Church convert, Brigham Young University graduate, and commander of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command in Fort Hood, Texas.“I had my shoulder rebuilt two years ago—so I can still move and hit, but I can’t throw much anymore,” he said, laughing. “I’ve had too many jumps out of aircrafts.”
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor, left, with recent BYU graduate and newly commissioned second lieutenant Spencer Allen during a fitness session on campus. Photo courtesy of BYU Army ROTC.“I was an athlete—I came to BYU to play baseball,” he said.Taylor will be deployed to Afghanistan next month, where he will function as a senior adviser to Afghan security forces.The general returned to BYU to speak at the April 25 Army ROTC commissioning ceremony for 13 new second lieutenants.Taylor joined the Church when he was nine years old. A few Latter-day Saint friends from his Los Angeles neighborhood invited him to Primary and other activities. He was soon listening to the missionary discussions and was baptized.There were also moments of spiritual counsel.“He told us to never turn down the opportunity to serve,” wrote Allen. “He promised us that good things happen when we serve, regardless of the capacity in which we are serving.”“BYU was where I had my first real inkling of what leadership was about. I learned that leaders never give up [on someone]. You keep finding what a person’s potential is and you keep working on that.”“And I loved the military’s sense of team,” he said.“For families, there will be times when it is hard. You have to communicate, support each other, talk things through, and have common goals as a family. And whenever you have free time, be entirely committed to your family.”Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population serves in the military. A specialized, volunteer force means some Latter-day Saints may not even know a man or woman in uniform. But Taylor said there are still opportunities to support those who serve.
Taylor is a Church convert and a graduate of Brigham Young University. Photo courtesy U.S. Army Fort Hood Public Affairs Office.The recent BYU graduate wrote in an email that the general encouraged him and the other young officers “to discover our personal leadership styles and to be very intentional with how we inspire each individual in our organizations.”Five-star general Douglas MacArthur was the son of a three-star general. Navy veteran Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather were both admirals. And “Old Blood and Guts”—Army Gen. George S. Patton—was the grandson of a Civil War colonel.Newly commissioned Second Lieutenant Spencer Allen called General Taylor “an incredible soldier and a remarkable Saint.”“It’s a big deal—they will be charged with leading some of the greatest men and women in our country,“ he said. “I want them to be excited, to take advantage of every opportunity, to lead, and to never falter from their beliefs.”Taylor and his wife, Cristen, have six children and six grandchildren. They know the sacrifices of military families. Since 9/11, the general has been to Afghanistan six times and once to Iraq. He spent almost five years stationed in Korea.“The Army has given me so many opportunities,” he said. “I’m an aviator. I’ve flown every aircraft that the Army has, and I’ve jumped out of them.”He trained as an artilleryman before returning to BYU. When an exercise science professor Philip Allsen learned Taylor had joined the Army, “he marched me up to the ROTC building because, at the time, I had no intention of joining ROTC.”“The challenge of having a mission, building a team, and getting everyone moving in the same direction is like being a team captain again,” he said. “We have a mission, and we want to win.”Even after his college baseball career ended earlier than expected, he relied upon the mentorship of BYU coaches. “I had no idea what I was going to do, so I enlisted in the Army National Guard—Coach Pullins had been in the National Guard.”“I had some great mentors here from the cadre at BYU who taught us as cadets that you never have to go against your beliefs and values,” he said. “The intrinsic core Army values are honesty and integrity. They support who we are as Latter-day Saints.”Serving in the armed forces was a family affair for many of the United States’ most prominent military figures. Taylor directs a recent fitness session with BYU Army ROTC cadets. Photo by Jason Swensen.“I had an outstanding-mediocre Cougar career,” he said, smiling.Outside of a few distant relatives, “I didn’t come from a tradition of military service,” said Taylor.But Taylor quickly adds that his time competing on the BYU diamond was time well spent. Cougar baseball coaches Gary Pullins and Bob Noel taught him lessons far beyond fastballs and backdoor sliders. They stuck with him even as he struggled.“Always remember, the Army is your army. These are your soldiers. They serve the country and they do it willingly. Just continue to support us.”“We move around a lot—and wherever we go, there are opportunities to serve in the Church. Wherever I have been, I have had the opportunity to grow spiritually because I’ve had opportunities to serve.”Being a person of faith, he added, is never a military career liability. “We want people who are committed to things greater than themselves.”Taylor continued with his BYU schooling, coached some baseball, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1990. He seized any opening to enrich his military experience.But once in Provo, he learned quickly that the pitches that blew by his high school opponents were a bit easier to find for top-flight college hitters. He also battled injuries, hampering his development.As a low-ranking soldier, he had no clue that a general’s silver star would one day be resting on each shoulder. But military life appealed to his athlete’s instincts. He enjoyed the physicality—“the Army’s kind of a contact sport”—and the mental challenges.Latter-day Saint soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen are typically minorities in their respective units and assignments. “But you just lead and be who you are,” he said. “Never sacrifice who you are.”
JustServe volunteers help clean along the Jordan River Parkway as a part of the Salt Lake Bees/JustServe day of service on April 27. Photo by Randy Rigby.Another group of volunteers was a busload of international citizens, who had come to Utah as part of a government citizen diplomacy trip. When they heard about the event, they were excited to participate in a community service experience.
JustServe volunteers clean windows at Centennial Park in West Valley City as part of the Salt Lake Bees/JustServe day of service. Photo by Dave Buhler.
Two JustServe volunteers pose with Salt Lake Bees pitcher, Greg Mahl, as part of the Salt Lake Bees/JustServe day of service. Photo by Randy Rigby.JustServe and volunteers are honored at the Salt Lake Bees game on April 27. Photo by Randy Rigby.
The Salt Lake Bees mascot helps a the JustServe information table at the Bees game on April 27. Photo by Nolan Karras.
Charlotte and Rion B. NeedsSister Escobar is a nursery leader and a former stake Young Women presidency counselor, ward Primary and Young Women president, ward Young Women presidency counselor, and seminary teacher. She was born in Santiago, Chile, to Guillermo Aguilar Vera and Maria Isabel Celis Orellana.Brazil João Pessoa MissionFrancisco A. Escobar Riquelme, 52, and Marcela I. Aguilar de Escobar, two daughters, Cordillera Ward, Santiago Chile Cordillera Stake called to the Uruguay Montevideo Mission, succeeding President Mark D. Eddy and Sister Annie Eddy. Brother Escobar is a former stake president, bishop, stake Young Men presidency counselor, elders quorum president, seminary teacher, and missionary in the Chile Santiago South Mission. He was born in Buin, Chile, to José Alberto Escobar Banjo and Hilda Riquelme Albornoz.
Brian L. and Gina R. CoxRion B. Needs, 57, and Charlotte Needs, five children, Draper 10th Ward, Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake called to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East Mission (newly created). Brother and Sister Needs previously served together as senior missionaries in the Africa Southeast Area Office and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission. Brother Needs is a former bishop, bishopric counselor, stake clerk, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Canada Montréal Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Charles Raymond Needs and Goldie Marie White Needs.Sister Albuquerque is a former stake Young Women presidency counselor, stake Primary presidency secretary, ward Primary and Young Women president, ward Relief Society presidency counselor, and seminary teacher. She was born in Managua, Nicaragua, to Sigfrido A. Ampie Baltodano and Marilia Macedo Ampie.
Lisa and David A. Prier
Pam and Rhys A. WeaverSister Weaver is a stake Relief Society presidency counselor and a former ward Primary, Relief Society and Young Women presidency counselor, Sunday School teacher, young single adult adviser, and Relief Society teacher. She was born in Glens Falls, New York, to Stanley Richard Green and Gail Fowler.David A. Prier, 60, and Lisa Prier, three children, Huntsville 1st Ward, Conroe Texas Stake called to the Utah Salt Lake City Mission, succeeding President Brent J. Hillier and Sister Klaudette Hillier. Brother Prier is a stake mission preparation coordinator and a former stake president, high councilor, bishop, bishopric counselor, and ward Young Men president. He was born in Dallas, Texas, to Carl Edward Prier and Charla Elizabeth Emerson.Sister Page is a former ward Relief Society, Young Women and Primary president, Cub Scout leader, compassionate service leader, nursery leader, and Primary teacher. She was born in Ogden, Utah, to Karl Ricks Anderson and Joyce Hirschi Anderson.Uruguay Montevideo MissionJ. Drew Page, 55, and Linda Anderson Page, four children, Carmel Valley Ward, Del Mar California Stake called to the Indiana Indianapolis Mission, succeeding President Daryl H. Carlson and Sister Vallorie Carlson. Brother Page is a former stake presidency counselor, stake clerk, bishop, bishopric counselor, high councilor, elders quorum president, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the South Carolina Columbia Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Homer Dean Page and June Howlett Page.
Anna and Elzimar Albuquerque
Francisco A. and Marcela I. EscobarSister Needs is a ward Relief Society presidency counselor and a former ward Relief Society and Primary president, Church-service missionary, seminary teacher, and missionary in the Canada Montréal Mission. She was born in Rexburg, Idaho, to Reed Earl Garner and Carmen Garner Garner.Utah Salt Lake City MissionElzimar Gouvea Albuquerque, 45, and Anna Rebeca Ampié Albuquerque, four children, Alphaville Ward, Alphaville Brazil Stake called to the Brazil João Pessoa Mission, succeeding President Xavier Dias and Sister Teresa Dias. Brother Albuquerque is a stake presidency counselor and a former bishop, ward Young Men president, ward mission leader, and missionary in the Brazil Ribeirao Preto Mission. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Elifas Dias da Silva and Ione Gouvea de Albuquerque.Chile Antofagasta MissionSister Larsen is a former stake Relief Society presidency counselor, stake and ward Young Women camp director, ward Primary and Young Women presidency counselor, and Relief Society teacher. She was born in Hondo, Texas, to Rollo Henry Brunson and Viola Rae Saltern.The following eight new mission presidents and companions have been called by the First Presidency. They will begin their service in July. Biographies of other mission presidency couples will be published throughout 2019 on news.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. (See other published biographies.)Bryan R. Larsen, 63, and Jacqueline B. Larsen, five children, Canyon Ridge Ward, Logan Utah Mount Logan Stake called to the Chile Antofagasta Mission, succeeding President David Ferreira and Sister Jacqueline Ferreira. Brother Larsen is an Area Seventy and a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, bishop, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Chile Osorno Mission. He was born in Salt Lake City to Royal Blaine Larsen and Shirley Bernice Werrett Larsen.
J. Drew and Linda Anderson PageTennessee Nashville MissionRhys A. Weaver, 61, and Pam Weaver, three children, Washington Fields 8th Ward, St George Utah Washington Fields Stake called to the Tennessee Nashville Mission, succeeding President Jared W. Stone and Sister Jani P. Stone. Brother Weaver is an elders quorum president and a former stake presidency counselor, bishop, stake mission president, high priests group leader, and missionary in the Georgia Atlanta/Alabama Birmingham Mission. He was born in Glendale, California, to Robert Carlton Weaver and Wilma Ellison Weaver.Sister Prier is a stake Relief Society president and institute teacher, and a former stake Primary presidency counselor, ward Primary and Young Women president, gospel doctrine teacher, and seminary teacher. She was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Theodore Arthur Hicks and Myrtis Elaine Brian Hicks.Indiana Indianapolis Mission
Jaqueline B. and Bryan R. LarsenArizona Scottsdale MissionSister Cox is a Sunday School teacher and ward missionary, and a former stake public affairs specialist, ward Young Women president, assistant to a patriarch, and seminary teacher. She was born in Newport Beach, California, to Edward Domars Marcucci and Josephine Faith Marcucci.Congo Kinshasa East MissionBrian L. Cox, 55, and Gina R. Cox, three children, Grandview Ward, Parker Colorado Stake called to the Arizona Scottsdale Mission, succeeding President Marc B. Robinson and Sister Leean Malan Robinson. Brother Cox is a ward mission leader and a former mission presidency counselor, stake executive secretary, bishop, high councilor, seminary teacher, and missionary in the Italy Milan Mission. He was born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, to Roy Leonard Cox and Carol Ann Phillips Cox.
Sandi and Doug with their new piano. Photo courtesy of Sandi Anderson.This effort grew into a greater community project when two people—neither of them members of the Church—heard about the project and donated a U-Haul vehicle to help deliver the instruments to Paradise. Other donations from local groups and promotions by news agencies became part of the contagious effort to heal hearts.
Doug and Sandi Anderson in Paradise, California, after the fire. Photo courtesy of Sandi Anderson.“The stake Young Women president mentioned musical instruments, and it just resonated with everyone,“ stake public affairs director Michael Devers told LDS Living. ”We asked her about it later and she said, ‘Well, I’m the one that voiced the idea, but it really was Heavenly Father’s idea.’”Sandi Anderson, stake seminary supervisor of Paradise, was one of the victims who lost her home completely to the devastating fires. She and her husband, Doug, were blessed with a piano from the Washington stakes. “It touches my heart so deeply that someone who had a beautiful piano that they enjoyed would sacrifice it to comfort someone she didn’t even know,” said Anderson. “It was so Christlike to recognize that it might bring someone else some comfort and be willing to sacrifice in that way.” Chico California Stake President John Meyer reached out to stakes in northwest Washington and asked them if there was anything they could do to serve their fellow saints.In a unique and inspired act of ministering, stakes in Washington combined their efforts to gather and donate more than 250 musical instruments to restore hope and music to the victims of the Paradise, California, wildfires.