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Women leaders visit Caribbean: ‘These are faithful, wonderful, loving people’

Women leaders visit Caribbean: ‘These are faithful, wonderful, loving people’

For a small island nation, 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 Aug. 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 Aug. 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.

“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.

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