“President Hinckley Travels the World,” Liahona, Dec. 2005, N1–N2
President Gordon B. Hinckley visited members in seven cities and dedicated a temple in Aba, Nigeria, as he traveled around the world in July and August, adding several thousand miles to his extensive travel as Church President.
President Hinckley’s meetings with members ranged from small groups gathered on airport runways to thousands of Latter-day Saints participating in cultural celebrations.
While making a brief stopover for plane refueling in Russia, President Hinckley greeted 200 members at an airport in Vladivostok. President Hinckley’s visit to the city was the first by a President of the Church.
“Live the gospel and establish the work in this great place,” President Hinckley said to the group.
President Hinckley told the members that they reminded him of a small congregation of Saints he met in Korea 50 years ago. He said that group of Saints now numbers in the thousands and told the Russian Saints he believes that in the future, thousands of Saints will live in their town. President Hinckley said if they will be true and faithful the Lord will bless them.
Seoul, South Korea
President Hinckley spoke in Seoul, South Korea, to members gathered for a regional conference. The meeting was broadcast throughout the country and to locations in the United States and Australia.
President Hinckley recalled previous stopovers in Korea. He apologized for missing a cultural celebration involving 1,500 adult and youth performers the evening prior to the conference due to a travel mishap.
He said: “God has poured out His blessings upon this people, and the security and the peace and the well-being of this nation rests on the righteousness of the nation. I believe with all my heart that if the Saints will live the gospel they will be spared from war and other afflictions.”
Taipei, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, China
While visiting in Taipei, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, China, President Hinckley met with members, and he dedicated Church office buildings in both cities. Both buildings have chapels, classrooms, and Church office space.
In the meeting with members in Hong Kong, he described receiving inspiration about the Hong Kong China Temple being part of a multistory building; it was a pattern, he said, that was used again for the Manhattan New York Temple. President Hinckley also expressed his gratitude for the members. He said: “I just want to tell you how much I love you. You are wonderful people.”
When President Hinckley arrived in Nigeria on August 6, the day before dedicating the Aba Nigeria Temple, Latter-day Saints in Nigeria welcomed him by lining the street leading to the temple grounds. They also performed “The Day of Rejoicing,” a cultural event to celebrate the arrival of the prophet and the completion of a new temple.
The program involved nearly 1,500 youth and children who had prepared for almost a year practicing music and dance routines. Youth from five stakes in Nigeria participated in the event. The audience, including local Church leaders, parents, and the prophet, sat on chairs or stood on a sloping hill just below the temple for the program.
The day after the cultural celebration President Hinckley dedicated the Aba Nigeria temple. The temple is the third operating temple in Africa and the Church’s 121st operating temple worldwide. (See accompanying article below.)
A Million Miles
During the trip President Hinckley also met with small groups of members during brief stops in Delhi, India, and Nairobi, Kenya. He said he told the members during these visits to continue “keeping the faith, living the gospel, doing what they ought to do, taking care of their families, providing for them, giving them spiritual strength.”
To speak to countless members, President Hinckley has traveled more than one million miles since becoming fifteenth President of the Church in March 1995.
Church News contributed to this report.