Elder Holland visits missionaries, members in Europe

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland greets missionaries individually on occasion of meeting in Malaga, Spain, Sept. 16, 2017. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland greets missionaries individually on occasion of meeting in Malaga, Spain, Sept. 16, 2017 Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

After addressing religious persecution during a conference in England’s Windsor Castle on Sept. 9, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland offered counsel and direction to Church members and missionaries in Portugal and Spain.

“All in all, it was a delightful opportunity to be on the Iberian Peninsula, a part of the world I don’t get to visit very often,” said Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

During a time when leaders and members in Europe and the United Kingdom are facing “significant challenges with the influx of refugees,” Elder Holland told a few dozen faith leaders, academics and government leaders at the Second Windsor Conference on Religious Persecution that faith is a key ingredient that can and does help many in the world rebound from refugee status and contribute to society.

“People can live without a lot of things,” he said. “They can live sometimes without much food. They can live sometimes without much hygiene and nutrition. But they can’t live without hope. They need to know that it’s going to get better.”

Faith and hope were messages he also carried to Latter-day Saints in Lisbon, Portugal, during an interim mission president seminar and in Malaga, Spain, during missionary and member meetings.

The seminar in Lisbon, a smaller version of similar seminars typically held in the spring, was dedicated in part to welcome the 10 new mission presidents into service, said Elder Holland.

A total of 43 mission presidents from the Europe Area of the Church came from missions ranging from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean Sea and from the East Coast of the Atlantic Ocean to countries as far east as Greece and the Czech Republic.

Elder Holland spent Sept. 14 and 15 participating in orientation meetings for the mission presidents, who were already one day into the seminar, being directed by the Europe Area Presidency: Elder Paul V. Johnson and his counselors, Elder Gary B. Sabin and Elder Massimo De Feo, General Authority Seventies.

“The seminar went wonderfully well,” Elder Holland said. “Much of it dealt with questions and answers regarding issues that mission presidents wrestle with. For example, there are still significant challenges with the influx of refugees and people in transit, people who are homeless or country-less, who are still coming into these countries of Europe and the United Kingdom.

“We heard reports and saw what the Church was doing for them. I was very proud of the labor being given by our members and leaders.”

Elder Holland added, “I was very impressed, as I always am, with the quality of the mission presidents and their wives at the seminar, with the devotion that they show, the preparation they’ve made, the loyalty they demonstrate. I was very impressed with the spirit of these couples and the work they’re doing across a very wide, diverse area with all those languages and nationalities.”

The European Union brings some unity and ease of communication, but it’s still a very complex area, he said. “They seem to be handling it wonderfully well. I was very impressed with the spirit, as I always am, in these gatherings.”

Elder Holland made a stop in Malaga, where he conducted a meeting with the missionaries there, followed that evening, Sept. 16, by a member devotional.

“It was a very nice experience,” he said. “We had rather a large group for the modest-sized stake center there, so a hall was rented in the heart of the city.”

Elder Holland said it was “thoroughly rewarding” visiting the stake in Malaga. He praised the leadership of the stake for organizing an impressive devotional.

The journey was concluded on Sunday, Sept. 17, with a return to England, where Elder Holland conducted Church business in Preston before flying home.

His visit to Windsor, Berkshire, England, in which he spoke at the three-day Second Windsor Conference on Religious Persecution, was reported in the Sept. 17 issue of the Church News. Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and director of LDS Charities, also spoke at that conference, organized by AMAR International Charitable Foundation.

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