Enthusiastic members welcome prophet

The long-awaited visit of the prophet to Venezuela was a happy event for members in this nation located at the top of South America.

Plans for President Gordon B. Hinckley to visit Venezuela in 1996 were announced but changed when his very busy schedule prevented it.The prophet's visit and addresses were the first since President Spencer W. Kimball visited here briefly in 1975. So President Hinckley's arrival at the Maiquetia Airport near Caracas on Aug. 13 was a historic event for Venezuela.

As President Hinckley was driven by car to Valencia, members were also traveling from all parts of Venezuela to Valencia in buses and cars.

"It was interesting to see the members arriving from other parts of Venezuela. They recognized the prophet and waved to him," said Elder Francisco J. Vinas of the Seventy. Elder Vinas, then a counselor in the South America North Area, became area president Aug. 15.

In his remarks to missionaries in Valencia, President Hinckley urged missionaries to stay in contact with and encourage their converts after their missions were completed.

At the general meeting, held in the large Forum de Valencia sports arena, the prophet emphasized the importance of parents teaching their children. He referred to 3 Ne. 22:13: "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."

"Members were enthusiastic for the prophet's visit," Elder Vinas said. "To have 11,000 in attendance during a weekday is excellent attendance. The people were very reverent and they received his message with gratitude."

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