Sarah Jane Weaver, IRI
It is a wonderful time for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Asia, said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland during a recent trip to Asia.
“The spirit of the Lord is moving over this vast area,” he said. “It would be undeniable, it would be impossible not to grasp, not to feel that there is a great work unfolding here.”
Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Asia Feb. 19 through March 2 with Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy and Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson. They were met in Asia by members of the LDS Church’s Asia Area Presidency: Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Elder Larry Y. Wilson and Elder Randy D. Funk.
The men were accompanied by their wives: Sister Patricia Holland, Sister Diane Hallstrom, Sister Lesa Stevenson, Sister Susan Gong, Sister Lynda Wilson and Sister Andrea Funk.
The leaders visited Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, and Bangalore — holding priesthood leadership, missionary and members meetings, conducting an area review, and attending a devotional commemorating the 65th anniversary of the church in Hong Kong.
The church in Asia is doing wonderfully well, Elder Holland reported. “It is very different in each of these locations — different circumstances, different relationships and different history — but all of them are doing well.”
Elder Hallstrom said it was a privilege to accompany Elder and Sister Holland and Bishop and Sister Stevenson. “For Sister Hallstrom and me, it was a homecoming as I previously served in the Asia Area Presidency and we lived in Hong Kong for four years,” he said. “Observing leaders and members on this visit, it is clear that the church is maturing well in every location. We were inspired by the faith and devotion of the Saints in every setting.”
Bishop Stevenson also met with members, missionaries and staff in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand as he inspected facilities and properties.
“I found the light of the gospel shining brightly in their eyes, and the church being firmly established,” he said.
Speaking of his trip, Elder Holland said visiting Beijing was a “wonderful experience.”
“It is a delight to meet people, see growth, know of faith and learn of testimonies,” he said, noting that the church is “absolutely resolute and very precise” in respecting and honoring the important laws and traditions of the Peoples’ Republic of China.
During the trip Elder Holland also visited the two Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China — Macau and Hong Kong
In Macau, he offered a prayer on the land and the people. “It was a sweet experience,” he said. “We felt something of China’s past and saw something of its future.”
In Hong Kong, he participated in a devotional held to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Matthew Cowley, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1945 to 1953, dedicating Hong Kong for the preaching of the gospel.
Local pioneer members participated in the local commemoration, celebrating the beginning of the church’s work in Asia, said Elder Holland. A young boy and older church members shared their testimonies. “It was a wonderful evening for me,” said Elder Holland. “How appropriate to have on that occasion local flavor, local history, and the impact of local faces and testimonies. It was very much a taste of local history, a tribute to how much has been done in 65 years.
“I haven’t lived in Hong Kong to see that happen day after day, but I have been coming to Hong Kong for 30 years. It is all very impressive and a tribute to those who have served here.”