News of the Church

By Kimberly Bowen, Church Magazines


Leaders Visit, Inspire European Saints

“Reach out to others,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, told thousands of members of the Church gathered in meetinghouses across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland as part of a satellite broadcast on June 6 and 7.

President Uchtdorf and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with other Church leaders, visited the United Kingdom to conclude a trip that took them to congregations throughout Ukraine, Russia, and England.

For many British Saints, this was a unique opportunity to hear a member of the First Presidency and an Apostle in person.

President Uchtdorf was accompanied by his wife, Harriet; Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy; Cheryl C. Lant, Primary general president; and Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency.

Speaking to a packed Hyde Park Chapel in the heart of London, President Uchtdorf encouraged British and Irish members to “reach out to everyone in kindness and in love,” adding, “that is the power of the gospel—practicing what we preach.”

He acknowledged the pioneering foundation laid by Church members from Britain and Ireland and paid tribute to the members’ continued dedication. “You are a tremendous and a marvelous people,” he said.

President Uchtdorf identified problems facing society and urged Church members to be spiritually resilient. “At a time [when] economic or moral challenges in the world like to take their toll in individual lives, we have to remember that God is with us and we do not have to fear. We do not have the spirit of fear, but of hope and of power,” he said.

Elder Andersen said members must lose their lives in the service of others. “It’s not about us,” he cautioned. “Reach out to others; be as Christ is.”

Church members had eagerly awaited the visits of the Apostles. Marquitta Leavitt, from London’s Hyde Park stake, said, “What I get out of it is motivation—there’s just something very inspiring about being in the presence of General Authorities and especially a member of the First Presidency.”

There are currently 182,000 Church members in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Thousands of members in Ukraine, Russia, and throughout Eastern Europe traveled to welcome President Uchtdorf and Elder Andersen during their travels through Europe. During their stay in Eastern Europe, the two leaders spoke to several large congregations in Kyiv, Ukraine; and Samara, Yekaterinburg, and Moscow, Russia.

“I was so excited I canceled everything so I could be here,” said Anna Chigir, a Church member from Ukraine. “[They are] Apostles and servants of God, and we don’t see Apostles in our country very often.”

Members came with high expectations, hoping to be strengthened and encouraged, and they were not disappointed. Pavel and Tatyana Kulakovy drove with their children eight hours from Ufa, Russia, to hear President Uchtdorf and Elder Andersen. “I knew this would be a great opportunity, and I was determined I wouldn’t miss out,” Brother Kulakovy said.

In recent years the Church has grown significantly in Eastern Europe. In the last few decades the Church has grown from just a few members to nearly 20,000 in Russia and some 10,000 in Ukraine.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visit London’s Houses of Parliament.

© 2009 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.; all rights reserved

Church Publishes LDS Edition of the Holy Bible in Spanish

The LDS edition of the Holy Bible in Spanish will be available in September in print, electronic, and audio formats. The First Presidency has invited Spanish-speaking members of the Church to view a special 25-minute orientation about the new edition of the Bible. The orientation will be broadcast via satellite between the morning and afternoon sessions on both Saturday and Sunday of the upcoming October general conference.

More than 800,000 copies of the new edition of the Bible are being printed at the Church’s printing center in Salt Lake City and will be sent to Church distribution centers all over the world. The printed versions are available in paperback, hardcover, and bonded leather as well as in Braille and an oversized print format. A quadruple combination is not available at this time.

The electronic text of this new edition, including the study helps, will be available at Escrituras.lds.org, allowing members with Internet access to perform keyword searches. The audio recordings of the Bible and the triple combination are available on CD through Church distribution centers or as MP3 files at Escrituras.lds.org.

Under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a team of translators prepared and reviewed the new edition. They were aided by General Authorities, Area Seventies, professional linguists, and Church members. The LDS edition of the Holy Bible in Spanish is based on the 1909 Reina-Valera edition of the Bible, an earlier version of what Spanish-speaking members have used until now.

The dignified language of the 1909 Reina-Valera Spanish Bible, comparable to that of the King James Bible, has been conservatively modernized by replacing some of the outdated grammatical constructions and vocabulary whose meaning and acceptability have shifted.

New chapter headings, footnotes, cross-references to all the standard works of the Church, maps, and other study aids included in the back pages of the publication will make the scriptures more helpful to Spanish-speaking Saints. The new edition will be titled “Santa Biblia: Reina-Valera 2009.”

It is expected that the 2009 LDS edition of the Holy Bible in Spanish with its study aids will make the scriptures more accessible to Spanish-speaking members of the Church in the same way that the 1979 LDS edition of the King James Bible did for English-speaking members.

“We encourage members to obtain their own copies of this new edition of the Bible and to use it in regular personal and family study and in Church meetings and assignments,” a letter from the First Presidency reads. “As members prayerfully learn and teach from the scriptures, their testimonies will grow and they will receive greater direction in their daily lives.”

Additional information is available in Spanish and English at SantaBiblia.lds.org.

The new LDS edition of the Holy Bible in Spanish will be available in September.

LDS Family Services Launches New Web Site

ItsAboutLove.org, LDS Family Services’ newly redesigned pregnancy counseling and adoption services Web site, launched in June 2009. In part, the Web site helps expectant parents consider all options for their unborn child.

“It is about connecting people with what they need,” said Valerie Mechling, a birth mother who placed her baby for adoption through LDS Family Services three years ago. “This new Web site really does a good job of that.”

LDS Family Services redesigned the site to add more in-depth information and resources, as well as to improve its aesthetic appeal and organization. They segmented the Web site to reach four key audiences: expectant parents and their families, couples who are hoping to adopt a child, professionals, and Church leaders.

The Web site has information on single parenting, marriage, abortion, and adoption. It gives information about the pregnancy trimesters, answers frequently asked questions about pregnancy, dispels several myths, and facilitates meetings of prospective parents with counselors and birth mothers.

In one new segment, birth mothers talk about why they chose adoption for their babies. According to Shanna Bake, LDS Family Services program specialist, the 16 video clips of birth mothers telling their stories, along with the responses to questions from actual birth parents, birth grandparents, and professionals, may be the best part of the Web site.

Tamra Hyde, who is one of the featured birth mothers, placed her child for adoption in 1996 through LDS Family Services. She said that when she was contemplating adoption, she did not know anyone who had placed a child for adoption.

“I think it will be beneficial for people to see that good people make this choice; people who would make good parents even make this choice,” she said.

If an adoption plan is made, the Web site also has an internal search engine that allows expectant parents to find a family that fits their desires for their baby. The search capacities on the Web site can help connect expectant parents with more than 800 couples. These couples can make online profiles with a letter to the expectant parents, a photo album of their family, and information about themselves.

“The irony about adoption is that from both sides it can start in tragedy, really—an unplanned pregnancy or inability to have children,” Sister Hyde said. “But both sides at the end of the story and in hindsight will call themselves blessed.”

ItsAboutLove.org is LDS Family Services’ new pregnancy counseling and adoption services Web site.

Around the Church

Sister Cook, Sister Dibb Visit West Africa

Mary N. Cook, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, and Ann M. Dibb, second counselor, spent 10 days visiting members in Nigeria and Ghana in February and March 2009.

During their three-day visit to Lagos and Abeokuta, Nigeria, they met with full-time sister missionaries, attended a seminary class, visited a school attended by young women, visited with priesthood and Young Women leaders, and spoke at a multistake Young Women fireside attended by 120 people.

During their seven-day visit in Ghana they attended a seminary class, held several meetings with local Young Women leaders, made home visits to young women and their leaders, spoke at a multistake fireside for seminary students attended by 620 people, visited a boarding school, met with full-time sister missionaries, spoke at a fireside meeting with youth and parents, and spoke at another fireside meeting for all Church members. These visits took place in the Accra metropolitan area, Cape Coast area, and the Assin Foso District.

Mary N. Cook

Ann M. Dibb

Photographs by Busath Photography

Missionaries in Uganda Aid Congolese Refugees

Missionaries in the Uganda Kampala Mission gathered in the Kololo meetinghouse in Kampala to help assemble emergency supply kits for Congolese refugees in need.

More than 35,000 refugees, mostly women and children, have sought safety in Uganda after being forced to flee their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of rebel activity.

Thus far, the Church has delivered more than 7,000 pounds of food, as well as blankets, cooking pots, and farming tools, to the refugee camps in Nakivale and Kanungu in southwestern Uganda. The contents of a shipping container from the Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City will also be distributed in the camp in Nakivale.

Upon arrival in Kampala, many refugees lack the basic essentials of life. To help meet these needs, full-time missionaries assembled emergency supply kits for distribution to local branches. The kits contained blankets, cooking pots, rice, sugar, salt, cooking oil, soap, and mosquito nets.

Elder Mehluli Dube, from Zimbabwe, said, “I feel blessed to be able to bring some measure of happiness and comfort to people who have been through so much suffering in their lives.”

Some of the kits will be provided to Musa Ecweru, Uganda’s Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, for displaced refugees who seek assistance from his office.

“Our good friends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, go about quietly, without a lot of publicity, helping the needy people of Uganda,” Minister Ecweru said. “The purpose of humanitarian service is to reduce pain and deliver hope.”

Colombia Aid Blesses Many

The Church teamed up with government officials in the city of Neiva, Colombia, to help those in the nearby town of La Plata who were affected by rainy season storms.

In La Plata, the Church and government representatives distributed clothing for men, women, and children; 300 light mattresses and blankets; and other supplies to those left homeless by the powerful seasonal gales.

In addition to providing aid for those affected by the storms, representatives of Church welfare in the South America Northwest Area have worked closely over the past few months with the mayor of Neiva, the capital of the department of Huila, to distribute nearly two dozen wheelchairs to elderly citizens and disabled youth, provide reading glasses to some of the 4,000 elderly residents most in need, and deliver more than 140 bicycles to children living in rural areas who must travel significant distances to attend school.

Welfare manager José Luis Cárdenas and the first lady of Neiva, Sara Peralta (far right), inspect bicycles donated by the Church to help children in rural areas of this part of Colombia get to school.

Photograph by S. Cristobal Garcia Adum

People

Elder Wickman Honored for Service to Youth

In May 2009 Elder Lance B. Wickman of the Seventy joined 10 others receiving the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor for extraordinary service to the nation’s youth, the Silver Buffalo Award.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) serves more than four million young people between the ages of 7 and 20 throughout the United States and its territories.

Elder Wickman has been affiliated with Scouting for more than six decades. He earned the Eagle Scout Award and has served in various leadership positions. He previously received the Silver Beaver Award, also for distinguished service to young people.

Much of his effort in Scouting has been spent strengthening the BSA’s relationship with the Church.

“Lance has dedicated his life to serving young people through the Boy Scouts at both the local and national levels,” said Robert Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “The Silver Buffalo Award recognizes the immeasurable impact he has made on generations of young people in Utah.”

Sister Answers Call to Action

After listening to the April 2006 general conference, Lenna Jacobson of the Logan 13th Ward, Logan Utah South Stake, felt she needed to do more to serve others. She was 87 years old when she began an effort that has touched perhaps 1,000 lives.

During the conference, Presiding Bishop H. David Burton had spoken of the Latter-day Saints’ commitment to serve their fellow man after disasters.

“This modern-day humanitarian effort is a wonderful manifestation of the charity that burns within the souls of those whose hearts are tender and whose hands are ready to help,” he said. “This selfless service truly demonstrates the pure love of Christ” (“Tender Hearts and Helping Hands,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2009, 6).

With the help of Jeanette Hobbs, the Relief Society president of the Logan 13th Ward, Sister Jacobson began a ward quilt-making project. Three years later, more than 1,000 quilts have been tied and donated to Humanitarian Services.

Bishop Burton, bringing words of love and appreciation from President Thomas S. Monson as well as his own heartfelt thanks, helped tie the 1,000th quilt.