News Release

An Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ visits Asia with other leaders


An Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ visited countries in Asia with other leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Build Zion in your heart and home,” said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during his visit to Asia May 19-29. “As you strive to do so, you will receive help from the Holy Ghost to overcome all kinds of challenges in life and obtain blessings that you can’t even imagine.”

Elder Cook was accompanied by Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, 2nd counselor of the Presiding Bishopric during their visit to the Asia Area. Collectively and separately, they met with local leaders, members and missionaries in seven different countries or territories, including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. They also conducted an Area Review with the Asia Area Presidency.

Everywhere they went, they happily embraced the people, the food, the language and culture and in return, they were greeted by Latter-day Saints with great enthusiasm and eager anticipation. Many traveled long distances and arrived hours ahead to listen to these representatives of the Lord. Every individual and congregation they visited were deeply touched by their love and kindness, and their inspirational messages.

These leaders consistently taught four principles as they emphasized the importance of strengthening individuals and families:

1) Build faith in Christ and His Atonement;

2) Honor the Sabbath day;

3) Use family councils; and

4) Live the law of the fast

Elder Soares encouraged the Saints in Indonesia to keep the Sabbath day holy. “The Lord does not tell us the dos and don’ts on Sabbath day; we as a family decide what we can do to become closer to God,” he said. “If we keep the Sabbath day holy, we deepen our conversion to the Lord and develop faith to help us along in this confused world.”

Living in a challenging time when religious principles are no longer regarded and moral values are in decline, Elder Soares urged members in Singapore to remain steadfast by following the prophets, renewing covenants, and serving with dedication. “Secular things may appear attractive but they will not get us back to Heavenly Father – only the gospel can.”

Bishop Waddell’s teaching in Taiwan is an echo of all these messages. Using the prophet Nephi’s example of building a ship, he encouraged members to do things in the Lord’s way and not in men’s way. “If we establish our family in the Lord’s way, [it] will protect our family from the disruption of the world.”

Much emphasis was placed on strengthening families in this chaotic world and yet its importance continues on the other side of the veil. In India, Elder Cook urged Church members to begin their four-generation genealogy work and pleaded with them to come to the temple to receive eternal blessings.

He gave the same challenge to the Saints in Thailand. He also said, "The faithfulness of the Saints is a big factor in inspiring the prophet to announce a temple.”

Members in Hong Kong and Taiwan, where a temple is present, are expected to go more regularly. “Make yourself available for the Lord and attend the temple, where we can communicate with God without any interruption, where God shows us His teaching and will,” Elder Soares said in Hong Kong.

Bishop Waddell shared similar principles in Taiwan, noting that communication with the Lord through temple worship can help us receive personal revelation and that some blessings are especially reserved and can only be obtained in the temple.

When speaking to the young single adults in Hong Kong, Elder Cook had Elder and Sister Soares and other leaders and their wives share their dating stories which brought huge excitement to the audience. While their experiences varied, they all started their married life in humble circumstances. They understood the challenges of living in Hong Kong, one of the most expensive cities in the world, where financial concerns are often the main reason young people delay marriage. Yet, they urged their audience to have courage, trust that the Lord will provide, and continue to develop spiritually to be what He wants them to be.

Elder and Sister Cook taught that negative experiences can be great learning opportunities. “Do not let your past, whether it is a mistake, bad habit or even an addiction, define who you are.” Elder Cook said. “Don’t wear those labels and let them destroy you. Bring your life in order and live faithfully and you will be blessed.”

His apostolic testimony and blessings upon each congregation brought strength, peace and hope to those in attendance and manifested the Savior’s love to all.

Elder Cook, Elder Soares and Bishop Waddell traveled together with their wives – Mary Cook, Rosana Soares and Carol Waddell, as well as the Asia Area Presidency and their wives – Elder Randy D. Funk and Sister Andrea Funk, Elder Sam C.H. Wong and Sister Carol Wong, Elder David F. Evans and Sister Mary Evans, and Elder Peter F. Meurs and Sister Maxine Meurs.

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