Monday, June 27, 2011

LDS in Africa and Asia

An LDS teenager won a national Nigerian chess championship.

Last month, a new stake was formed in the Democratic Republic of Congo out of a district. A district is a collection of very small congregations separated by large distances, while a stake has several larger congregations closer together and possibly some outlying smaller congregations. This is the ninth stake in the DRC.

Elder Holland meeting with members
Elders Holland and Bednar visited thousands of members of the Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints in Hong Kong (~25,000 members), India (~9,200 members), Mongolia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. Growth in Mongolia has been particularly pronounced, with almost 1/10 citizens of the capital city joining the Church. They hosted Q&A sessions in most areas in additional to giving prepared talks so they could answer and get a better feel for local needs. Among my favorite comments that he made concerned the "pioneer" heritage and situation the members in Asia are creating.
"It's always 1830 or 1840 somewhere in the Church," added Elder Holland, "and in Asia, it's about 1840" in terms of the development of the Church. "We are always beginning somewhere and parts of Asia are beginning beautifully."
Right now, it's about February 1830 in Yola, with no organized church, but very soon there will be (4) members there.

Meanwhile, Elder Nelson created the first stake in Russia in Moscow. That's right, there are nine times as many stakes in DRC as in Russia. This was particularly pleasant for Elder Nelson because his granddaughter is a missionary there. We have friends who have accepted a job in Moscow also, and we are very pleased for them to have a full stake there to welcome and support them. Elders Oaks and Cook also visited Mexico, where there are 1.2 million Church members, to strengthen them.

As Elder Holland said, the reason for sending the apostles to so many countries and members recently is to say one thing:
"I’ve come halfway around the world literally to say basically one thing. … We love you,” Elder Holland said. “You may be a long ways away from us physically or geographically, but you’re not more than a prayer away and a heartbeat away from our affections and our admiration.”

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