‘A sense of gospel peace’ for Church members in Japan and Korea

Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Hwang Dong Joo, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

In a time of much discussion about North Asia, an Apostle, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and their wives recently visited Japan and Korea on a regularly scheduled area review and reported great faith and a “sense of gospel peace” among Church members.

“The Lord is mindful of His children. He knows their circumstances and concerns, and is gracious in His love,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles after his visit to the Asia North Area from May 19-28.

Joining Elder Oaks during the visits was his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Presidency of the Seventy with his wife, Sister Susan L. Gong. Members of the Asia North Area presidency — Elder Scott D. Whiting, Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita and Elder Yoon Hwan Choi — and their wives, Sister Jeri Whiting, Sister Tazuko Yamashita and Sister Bon Kyung Choi, accompanied the visiting leaders as they attended meetings and traveled in the area.

“Only the Lord would know that having a member of the Twelve and his wife be in Japan and Korea at this particular time of international tensions on a regularly scheduled visit would be a blessing to all,” said Elder Gong. “We felt it while we were there.”

The Asia North Area consists of more than 225,000 members — more than 128,000 members in Japan, 88,000 in Korea and 9,000 members in Micronesia — living in 43 stakes. As part of the area review, the leaders and Area Presidency discussed the faith and concerns of members throughout the Asia North Area, including the dedicated Church members found throughout Micronesia. On this particular visit, Elder Oaks, Elder Gong and members of the Area Presidency met leaders, members and missionaries in four cities in Japan and four cities in Korea.

“Leaders and members in Japan and Korea are faithful and diligent in all they do,” said Elder Oaks. “They are concerned for their rising generations, committed to sharing the restored gospel and desirous to live with joy on His covenant path.”

During the ten-day trip, the leaders met with local Church leaders in two Priesthood Leadership Conferences, missionaries in four mission conferences, Japanese and Korean members in two nationwide devotionals and six special stake conferences, and Korean youth in a nationwide Face-to-Face devotional. Their wives taught sister leaders in separate meetings, presided over by assigned priesthood leaders, in Japan and Korea.

They also met a high-ranking government official in Japan — Minister Tamayo Marukawa, the Minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Minister Marukawa said Church members are well known for generous support of community service and for high moral values,” noted Elder Oaks. “Our visit was an opportunity to build understanding and goodwill, and a reminder the Church is respected worldwide because our members are seen as good citizens and good parents.”

In Sapporo, the traveling group was grateful to meet missionaries in the Japan Sapporo mission and also to join local leaders and members in the Sapporo Japan Temple.

During the two countrywide devotionals held via broadcast to members in Japan and Korea, Sister Oaks, a former missionary in Japan, spoke in Japanese and shared her testimony in Korean. Sister Susan L. Gong, a former missionary in Taiwan, shared her testimony and experiences from serving and teaching in Asia.

“In all our experiences in Japan and Korea, we could feel the love of the people for the Lord and their desire to make Him their priority,” said Elder Oaks. “We admire their gospel faith, devotion and sacrifices.”

Elder Gong added, “Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Sister Kristen Oaks are known and loved by Church members everywhere, but perhaps with a special added feeling in Japan and Korea.”

The nationwide Face-to-Face youth broadcast originating in Daejeon, Korea, followed a question and answer format, inviting youth throughout Korea to ask questions and receive candid answers live.

“In Japan and Korea, the examination system puts pressure on young people to study for exams and test scores,” Elder Gong noted. “Many youth asked questions about balance in life between family, Church and school.”

Elder Oaks shared his own experience, talking about how his mother invited him to follow the practice of his father in medical school: “If you work hard six days a week, you can do more with the Lord’s help than if you work seven days a week without the Lord’s help,” he told the youth.

“We are always grateful to share with our rising generation and their parents,” Elder Oaks said. “The Lord is aware of His people, and loves and blesses them.” @marianne_holman

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