Women Leaders Visit “Faithful, Wonderful, Loving People” of the Caribbean

Contributed By Rachel Sterzer, Church News staff writer.

  • 15 September 2016

Youth listen to remarks given by Sisters Linda K. Burton and Neill F. Marriott in a special youth devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Article Highlights

  • Sister Burton and Sister Marriott visited Jamaica during the Olympics.
  • They participated in an interfaith panel discussion with Catholic women.
  • “These are faithful, wonderful, loving people,” Sister Burton said.

“These are faithful, wonderful, loving people.” —Sister Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President

Jamaica is known to produce world-class athletes, particularly in track and field events. At the most recent Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro August 5–21, the Caribbean nation received 11 medals in various track and field competitions. But even as the Olympic fervor swept through the area, faithful Jamaican Saints gathered in Church meetinghouses and facilities to hear counsel and receive instruction from general Church auxiliary leaders.

Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, and Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, traveled to the Caribbean Area August 12–21 in the midst of the Summer Games. Sister Burton noted that despite their Olympic enthusiasm, members in Kingston, Jamaica, as well as Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, gathered in large numbers to participate in auxiliary training meetings, special devotionals, panel discussions, and question-and-answer sessions.

“These are faithful, wonderful, loving people,” Sister Burton told the Church News upon her and Sister Marriott’s return.

Both women leaders spoke of the “meaningful” opportunity to minister one on one as they visited with members in their homes. “It is always a witness that the Lord knows and loves each of His children individually,” Sister Burton said.

Sister Marriott said that as she met with young women in their homes in both Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, they most often discussed the importance of marriage and family. “I hope these young women of the Caribbean recognize their value in creating stable, faithful homes, and in doing so, strengthening their family and, by extension, their nation.”

Sister Burton and Sister Marriott were accompanied on their travels by their husbands, Craig P. Burton and David Marriott, and were joined in many of their meetings by the Caribbean Area Presidency—Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, Elder Claudio D. Zivic, and Elder Hugo E. Martinez, all General Authority Seventies.

Sister Neill F. Marriott meets with a young woman at her home in Kingston, Jamaica, during her travels to the Caribbean Area August 12–21. Photo courtesy of Neill F. Marriott.

Sister Linda K. Burton greets members of the Church following a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, during a visit to the Caribbean Area August 12–21. Photo courtesy of Linda K. Burton.

“This area is led by a consecrated, joyful Area Presidency who love the people they have been called to serve,” Sister Burton said.

In addition to individual member visits and other meetings, Sister Burton and Sister Marriott participated in a special interfaith panel discussion with women from the Catholic Church.

“We found them to be great women of faith and felt a sweet connection of friendship and sisterhood as we discussed the needs of families and individuals,” Sister Burton said.

Sister Marriott said she could see understanding and purpose grow as they discussed the importance of family with members of the Catholic faith, including the associate bishop in Santo Domingo, Bishop Victor Masalles.

Throughout their nine-day trip, Sister Burton encouraged Relief Society and priesthood leaders to study the handbook to help facilitate revelation and to review principles, patterns, and practices found in Daughters in My Kingdom. She also invited leaders to apply the leadership principles found in chapter 3 of Handbook 2.

In training meetings with local Church leaders, Sister Marriott discussed the vital purpose and role of young women class presidencies in ministering, preparing spiritually, and participating in councils.

Sister Burton explained that traveling enables auxiliary leaders to testify of the blessings of faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and of His Atonement. “We try hard to listen to and respond to the whisperings of the Spirit,” she said.

Sister Neill F. Marriott meets with a family at their home in Kingston, Jamaica, during her travels to the Caribbean Area August 12–21. Photo courtesy of Neill F. Marriott.

Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, and her husband, Craig P. Burton, visit with members in Kingston, Jamaica, during a nine-day trip to the Caribbean Area August 12–21. Photo courtesy of Linda K. Burton.

Attendees listen to an interfaith panel with Sister Linda K. Burton, Sister Neill F. Marriott, and members of the local Catholic Church, who discussed “Living as a Woman of Faith in a Troubled World” August 19 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Attendees listen to an interfaith panel with Sister Linda K. Burton and Sister Neill F. Marriott and members of the local Catholic Church, who discussed “Living as a Woman of Faith in a Troubled World” August 19 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Associate Bishop Victor Masalles, third from right, accepts a gift from left, Sister Neill F. Marriott, Sister Linda K. Burton, and Caribbean Area President Walter F. Gonzalez following a panel discussion of LDS and Catholic women on August 19. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Sister Neill F. Marriott and her husband, David Marriott, greet Associate Bishop Victor Masalles following a panel discussion with Catholic female leaders on August 19 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

A woman takes notes during a training meeting for Young Women leaders in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Members listen as Sister Neill F. Marriott participates in a training meeting for Young Women leaders in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Sister Neill F. Marriott meets with members following a training meeting for Young Women leaders in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Sister Linda K. Burton greets members following a training meeting for Relief Society leaders in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Sister Linda K. Burton participates in a training meeting for Relief Society leaders in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Women attend a training meeting for Relief Society leaders by Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Sister Linda K. Burton shakes hands with Elder Claudio D. Zivic, General Authority Seventy and First Counselor in the Caribbean Area, prior to a training meeting for Relief Society leaders in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Youth listen to remarks given by Sisters Linda K. Burton and Neill F. Marriott in a special youth devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Youth listen to remarks given by Sisters Linda K. Burton and Neill F. Marriott in a special youth devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Youth sing during a special devotional provided by Sister Linda K. Burton and Sister Neill F. Marriott in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as part of their travels to the Caribbean Area August 12–21. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Sister Neill F. Marriott offers remarks at a special youth devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, during her travels to the Caribbean Area August 12–21. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.

Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, General Authority Seventy and President of the Caribbean Area, offers remarks during a youth devotional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Caribbean Area.