Elder Renlund Uplifted by Faith of Members in Caribbean
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
Elder Dale G. Renlund’s recent travels to several Caribbean nations offered the recently called member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles an opportunity to be with Latter-day Saints from a wide swath of cultures, languages, and regions.
He returned to Church headquarters following his 10-day trip (January 21–31), which included a stop in Mexico (see related story), inspired and uplifted by the capacity, devotion, and consecration of the members, missionaries, and local priesthood and auxiliary leaders he visited.
“They are fabulous Saints,” he said.
Elder Renlund’s travels began in the Dominican Republic and continued through the nations of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago before concluding in Mexico. He was joined by his wife, Sister Ruth Lybbert Renlund, and, at various stops, by Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy and Bishop Gérald Caussé, the Presiding Bishop, along with their wives, Sister Nancy Maynes and Sister Valérie Caussé.
During their trip, the Brethren presided over missionary meetings, priesthood leadership conferences, youth devotionals, and member meetings. Meanwhile, the wives of the General Authorities conducted several leadership meetings for the Relief Society sisters.
Elder Renlund, Elder Maynes, and Bishop Caussé also conducted an area review of the Caribbean Area in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They were assisted by the Caribbean Area Presidency—Elder J. Devn Cornish, Elder Claudio D. Zivic, and Elder Hugo E. Martinez of the Seventy. Also participating in several events in the Caribbean were the wives of the Area Presidency—Sister Elaine Cornish, Sister Dina Zivic, and Sister Nuria Martinez.
“The area review went very well,” Elder Renlund told the Church News. “We were very impressed by the quality and devotion of the Church employees.”
The Caribbean trip also afforded the Brethren key opportunities to meet and build friendships with local civic and religious leaders. While in the Dominican Republic, Elder Renlund enjoyed a visit with Monsignor Victor Masalles, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Santo Domingo.
Members in Port of Spain, Trinidad, sing during a meeting with Elder Dale G. Renlund.
Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth Lybbert Renlund, greet a sister in Trinidad.
Monsignor Masalles “is a wonderful man,” he said. “He told me what unites us is greater than what separates us.”
Elder Maynes, meanwhile, joined Dominican Republic Vice President Margarita Cedeno for the unveiling of a national youth project organized with the assistance of the Church. (See related story.)
Following their various assignments in the Dominican Republic, Elder and Sister Renlund and Elder and Sister Martinez traveled to the Caribbean nations of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago for missionary and member meetings.
Those countries are writing their maiden chapters of Church history. Still, Elder Renlund was enthused with the growth, dedication, and abilities of the members and their leaders. For example, more than 700 people attended a district devotional in the Guyanese capital, Georgetown, including several prominent government leaders.
Members gather in a meeting to hear from Elder Dale G. Renlund.
Elder and Sister Maynes, meanwhile, flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to participate in a missionary meeting and a devotional for young single adults on January 28. Elder Renlund said their counsel at each meeting focused on the specific needs and circumstances of their many audiences. In Trinidad, for example, the Apostle spoke on the importance of preparing for the temple. In Guyana, he challenged members to find joy in their Church membership.
“I told them that the gospel gives them access to the greatest gifts God can give,” he said.
Elder Maynes said he enjoyed serving alongside Elder Renlund and Bishop Caussé in the Caribbean.
“We had the great opportunity to meet with many leaders, missionaries, and members of the Church in many countries of this very diverse area of the Church,” he said. “Experiencing firsthand the faith and devotion of the wonderful Saints in this area of the world strengthens my understanding and witness of how the Lord blesses the lives of all His children as they embrace His gospel plan and stay true to their covenants.”
Elder Dale G. Renlund speaks to members in a meeting in Trinidad.
Elder Dale G. Renlund teaches missionaries in Trinidad.
Elder Dale G. Renlund shakes the hand of a child in Trinidad.