As general conference sessions were telecast live for the first time to three distant locations - two in Europe and one in Central America - emotions of members ran deep.
The sessions were telecast April 1-2 via satellite on a test basis, and received in San Jose, Costa Rica; Manchester, England; and Frankfurt, Germany."There are no words to describe our feelings," said Pres. Rodrigo F. Matarrita Venegos of the Costa Rica San Jose La Sabana Stake.
"It was really difficult not to weep with emotion. It was one of the greatest blessings we have ever received; we felt the Spirit testifying of the authority of the Brethren who spoke. We felt humble and grateful that we were part of a live conference."
He said some 3,600 people gathered at the stake center to receive the first live general conference in their country. "When we heard it announced that conference was being telecast toT Costa Rica, the people all applauded in joy," said Pres. Matarrita.
In Manchester, England, some 210 brethren stayed up from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. to listen to the live telecast of priesthood meeting. "It was a sacrifice," said Pres. Graham Pilkington of the Manchester Stake. "These are brethren who are not used to night life."
He described his feelings at the conference. "I have been in conference at the Tabernacle several times, but to be here among my own people and have them feel of the Spirit, to hear the Brethren speak to us live meant far more to me; it just thrilled me to bits."
He said Manchester has been the site of other historic firsts, including creation of the first stake in Europe in 1960, and having the first area conference in 1971.
"We are very glad to be part of the conference. We are so appreciative of the Brethren for doing this - they don't know how much they've bolstered the saints. There was such an abundance of the Spirit and so many people have been lifted."
He said a total of 2,800 people attended the sessions in the Manchester stake center, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.
"We were just brimming with people," he said. "We couldn't get any more in the overflow rooms.
"People had tears in their eyes, saying they now felt so much a part of the Church."
In Frankfurt, Germany, about 500 people from throughout the country came to witness the miracle of satellite telecast, said Guido Uchtdorf, son of stake Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf.
"Members came long distances from all over Germany," he said. "They said that this is so great. They all hope to get conference into their own stakes in Germany as well."