LDS Church News

Elder M. Russell Ballard visits Mormons in South America, offers blessing on Argentina

Published: Monday, March 17 2014 12:40 p.m. MDT

“The one advantage they had was time to study, write and ponder,” said Elder Ballard. “We get [to South America] so fast that we don’t have time to do anything but work.”

“I’m not sure who has the best deal,” he added with a smile.

The blessings of today’s advancements extend beyond speedy travel. When Elder Melvin J. Ballard was in Argentina he met with small groups of people in rented halls. During the recent South American trip, Elder Ballard and the other General Authorities were able to deliver their messages to tens of thousands of members gathered across Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The Brethren “met” with some 15,000 young single adults gathered in 250 broadcast locations thanks to modern technology and the church satellite system. Another area-wide meeting for priesthood holders reached an audience of 24,000 men scattered across four countries.

Despite the diversity of their varied congregations, Elder Ballard and the other General Authorities focused on a singular message: hastening the work of salvation.

“The point of our training was to help bond the church leadership — particularly the stake and ward councils and priesthood quorums — to the full time missionaries,” said Elder Ballard.

The day of rank-and-file members not accepting ownership of missionary work is over, he added. “We did all we could to help build up the members to help the full-time missionaries find, teach and baptize many more of God’s children.”

Elder Rasband said Elder Ballard was very focused on the topic of hastening the work.

“This is the focus of the church and the focus of the prophet,” he added. “We were there to add an exclamation point to it.”

The apostle also taught in the various meetings about the importance of strengthening individual families, wards and branches by touching the lives of the members, one by one. “The greatest protection that anyone can have for the days ahead is a witness and a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Gonzalez said the visiting brethren boosted both the spirits of the members and the work itself. “The emphasis given by Elder Ballard to hasten the work of salvation [through increased missionary work] was a blessing to motivate everyone to work together in our efforts to baprtize retain and reactivate.”

While in Argentina, Elder Ballard and Elder Rasband visited the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple and the construction site of the future Cordoba Argentina Temple. Elder Ballard and Elder Zeballos also met with Cordoba Catholic Bishop Pedro Javier Torres at his residence.

“He is a good friend and was very cordial with us,” said Elder Ballard.

This recent visit to Chile and Argentina reaffirmed that the prophesy of Elder Melvin J. Ballard is being fulfilled through all of South America.

jswensen@desnews.com

jswensen@desnews.com