Elder Renlund Visits Peru and Bolivia, Presides over Religious Freedom Conference

Contributed By John Griffin, Church News contributor

  • 26 September 2018

Elder Renlund talks with Church members after a meeting in Bolivia.  Photo courtesy of Dalene Griffin.

Article Highlights

  • Serve and love selflessly and remember that God has not forgotten you.

“[Elder and Sister Renlund’s] teaching and witness have inspired us to be better and to minister to one another as the prophet and Savior have taught us.” —Elder Hugo Montoya of the Seventy

Looking back on his recent visit to Peru and Bolivia, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the country “just takes my breath away”—both in jest about the altitude (13,600 ft., or 4,150 m) and earnestly referencing the joy of meeting with Church members.

While visiting Lima and Iquitos, Peru, and El Alto, La Paz, and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Elder Renlund was accompanied by his wife, Ruth L. Renlund; Elder José A. Teixeira, of the Presidency of the Seventy; his wife, Filomena Teixeira; and Elders Enrique R. Falabella, Hugo Montoya, and Mathias Held, the Presidency of the South America Northwest Area.  

In a series of leadership, stake, and missionary conferences from September 8 through 16, Elder Renlund thanked members for exercising faith, accepting calls, and caring for the children of Heavenly Father. He asked leaders for a report on ministering efforts and taught the importance of ministering in “a newer, holier approach,” citing President Nelson’s direction for ministering to our brothers and sisters. 

He also focused on the importance of following the Savior’s example in Christlike caring for others. Parents and leaders, Elder Renlund reminded, can touch more hearts if they follow the Lord’s counsel in Doctrine and Covenants 121:39–41 to use “persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned” rather than “unrighteous dominion.”

In a special devotional, Elder Renlund counseled and comforted displaced Venezuelan members, like Jose and Yarenmys Garcia. The Garcias arrived in Peru from Lara, Venezuela, six months ago to look for better opportunities. Though they have faced many challenges, they are grateful to have met the missionaries and to have been baptized while living in Peru.

Elder Renlund reminded the displaced members that they are “graven … upon the palms of [Christ’s] hands” (Isaiah 49:16) and that He will not forget or forsake them. He asked them to receive the blessings promised by the Savior in keeping the Sabbath day holy and honoring the law of the fast, reiterating the Lord’s promise that if they will, they can “raise up the foundation of many generations,” and they will “ride upon the high places of the earth” (Isaiah 58:12–14).

“The visit of Elder Renlund as an Apostle of Jesus Christ to Peru and Bolivia will surely bless all those who have heard his voice and follow his words full of wisdom and love,” said Elder Held, Second Counselor in the Area Presidency.

Elder Renlund greets a woman after a stake conference in Bolivia. Photo courtesy of Dalene Griffin.

For the first time in Peru, Elder Renlund presided at a religious freedom conference held in the Limatambo Peru Stake Center. Sister Renlund, an attorney by profession, participated in a panel discussion with Sister Denise P. Lindberg, a former district court judge of the 3rd judicial district of Utah; Dr. Moises Arrata, a Peruvian attorney; and Brother Guillermo Estrugo, public affairs director for the area. They answered questions such as “What can I do to protect and promote religious freedom?” and “How can members establish civil dialogue with others about the importance of religious liberty?”

Elder Hugo Montoya, First Counselor in the Area Presidency, summarized Elder Renlund’s visit: “The Saints in the South America Northwest Area have been greatly blessed with the visit of Elder and Sister Renlund and Elder and Sister Teixeira and their great love for the Savior and for the members. Their teachings and witness have inspired us to be better and to minister to one another as the prophet and the Savior have taught us.”

Elder Enrique R. Falabella, Area President, concluded: “We are better people because of the visit of Elder and Sister Renlund.”

A young sister missionary asks Elder Renlund a question during a conference in Bolivia. Photo courtesy of Dalene Griffin.

Elder Renlund presides over a religious freedom conference in Peru. Photo courtesy of Dalene Griffin.