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LDS Church News

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland visits LDS Church members in Asia

Published: Monday, March 24 2014 1:45 p.m. MDT

In Taiwan, Elder Holland found a growing and maturing church. He held a priesthood leadership conference and presided over the Taipei Taiwan West Stake conference.

“Those priesthood leaders were the equal of any you would find anywhere in the church,” Elder Holland said, noting that local leaders in Taiwan are very wise and experienced. Most, he added, are returned missionaries and are second-, third- and fourth-generation Latter-day Saints.

During the four-hour priesthood leadership conference in Taiwan, Elder Holland answered questions and took the time to shake hands with those in attendance.

Although he has been to Taiwan before, he felt something “fresh and bright” about the church in the country today.

“I have never been in a meeting where there were better questions asked than in Taiwan,” he said. “That suggests the maturity of the church there. I also felt that when I shook their hands, when I looked them in the eye. I saw a wonderful generation of young people giving faithful, devoted missionary service. … It was for me a new, fresh, bright look to the church in Taiwan.”

Through attending the meetings, talking with the leaders and individual members, Elder Holland said he got “a macro look and a micro look” of the Church in Taiwan. “Both looks were inspiring,” he said.

In addition to visiting China, the church leaders also had the opportunity to visit India. At least in terms of population numbers, China and India are “the anchor posts of a growing and developing church in Asia.” Many of the challenges in Asia are common to challenges in many other parts of the world. The people wrestle with poverty and have hopes and dreams of obtaining an education, he said.

“In Asia, many of our institutional challenges are related to starting the church, giving the church birth, and seeing it grow in its very early stages.”

That means working with the governments, getting visas, establishing centers of strength, and working to help the church “come out of obscurity.” The area is large in geography. “Geographically speaking, we are just getting our feet on the ground,” said Elder Holland. “However, the challenges we have seem to be met. We are succeeding, we are rising above local limitations and restrictive circumstances.”

Elder Holland said in India there is a large Hindu community, a large Muslim community, and a healthy, growing Christian community.

The church has one stake and six districts in the country and a growing membership — who in many cases deal with poverty and a need for health and education.

But “one miracle at a time” is taking place in centers of strength in the country.

“We move steadily into the future. India will be one of our miracles,” he said. “We will live to see a remarkable work unfold in India.”

Another challenge for members across Asia is temple attendance.

“People take the temple seriously here,” Elder Holland said. “They go whenever and wherever they can. They return to the temple as finances and circumstances allow. They keep current temple recommends even though they may be great distances from the temple.”

They also participate in and value family history work, he said.

Members in Asia, he said, are all spiritual pioneers for the church and for Christianity.

Each day they work “to take a stand, to be loyal devoted Latter-day Saints. They are courageous, they live the gospel and square their shoulders to be what they ought to be.”

Concluding, Elder Holland reported that there is a hastening of the work in Asia. “We will live to see miracles there — as we see them now. Our children and our childrens’ children will be as comfortable talking about the church in Asia as they have historically been talking about it in Utah and Idaho and Arizona.”

Email: sarah@desnews.com