SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints finished his five-country South American ministry tour over the weekend with the dedication of the Concepcion Chile Temple.
The tour, which began Oct. 19, included visits to Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile.
“We feel very grateful,” President Nelson said Sunday. “The people are so loving and so anxious to serve the Lord and to serve each other. … It really is a sacred feeling you have among them.”
Church News editor Sarah Jane Weaver and Deseret News staff writer Tad Walch and photographer Jeff Allred chronicled the South American tour.
Here are eight significant events and inspiring moments from the tour.
President Nelson dedicated the new Concepcion Chile Temple, the second in the nation of Chile, on Sunday.
That day, President Nelson spoke about the "young church" that was organized 188 years ago. President Nelson is 94.
“We are witnesses to a process of restoration,” he said. “If you think the church has been fully restored, you are just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come.”
President Nelson first visited Chile as a cardiac surgeon before returning as an apostle, according to the Deseret News. This was his first visit to the country as president of the church.
“He has seen the faith of the people,” Sister Wendy Nelson said of President Nelson. “He has seen the love of the people for the Lord. Now he has seen the love of the people for the temple. That means everything to my husband to see that.”
The Concepcion Chile Temple was announced Oct. 3, 2009. The groundbreaking was held Oct. 17, 2015.
In a historic event, President Nelson met with Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra. The two leaders agreed that Latter-day Saints are a force of good in Peru.
The two also discussed the needs of women and children, humanitarian issues and concerns about corruption.
"It was an extraordinary privilege for us," President Nelson said. "He was very warm and gracious, welcoming."
Addressing the Saints in Spanish
President Nelson surprised Peruvian Latter-day Saints by addressing them in their native language of Spanish.
"Now I'd like to speak to you from my heart in a language not my own," President Nelson said while speaking at Lima’s Coliseo Mariscal Caceres.
See the reaction here:
Photo of children hugging President Nelson captured
Allred explained how he captured a lucky image of children gathered around the prophet of the church after a devotional in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Sergio Rubin, author of the international best-selling biography "Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio,” interviewed President Nelson in Montevideo, Uruguay.
During the interview, President Nelson condemned religious violence.
"The Catholics and the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we need to work together to stem the tide of violence," President Nelson told Rubin.
When asked about extremists whose violence is motivated by religion, President Nelson said, "The teachings of the Lord are clear. There is to be no contention, no disputation."
Later, Rubin spoke with the Church News about how religious leaders can help others embrace religion.
President Nelson addresses youths
During the Concepcion Chile Temple youth devotional, President Nelson spoke to 28,000 youth in the temple district. About 1,500 of those youths gathered at the Talcahuano Chile South Stake Center, where the devotional originated and where it was broadcasted from, according to Church News.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke about why Latter-day Saints gather to hear the president of the church.3 comments on this story
"People want to gather in the latter days to hear a prophet speak," Elder Stevenson told the Deseret News. "Imagine if you had the chance to gather in the Kirtland Temple to hear Joseph Smith speak or in the Salt Lake Tabernacle to hear Brigham Young or John Taylor. I would not miss that for the world.
"I think we see that with President Nelson and the Latter-day Saints wherever we go."
Prophet, president and grandfather
President Nelson met with his grandson, Elder Nicholas Russell Nelson, during his visit to Uruguay.
We captured moments from the meeting in the video below.