‘A great need to be with, teach our leaders’

Chile remains a dynamic region of the Church. Growth is steady and priesthood foundations are increasingly firm. New converts are accepting the gospel and less-active members are returning to the fellowship. Each month new leaders are called to preside over the many stakes and districts absorbing this growth in this South American nation.

Inspiring and aiding stake and district leaders through effective training is essential, says Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve and president of the Chile Area.

"We feel a great need to be with and teach our leaders," Elder Holland said. "They are devoted, eager and very capable but sometimes lack experience. When we are with them we can give them the benefit of our experience."

In the past, stake and district presidents throughout Chile have traveled to Santiago for an annual training conference. For many, it was a difficult and expensive excursion. Priesthood leaders who lived far from the capital city had to juggle work and family schedules to attend.

Recognizing such hardships, Elder Holland and his counselors in the Chile Area Presidency opted this year to deliver training to local priesthood leaders in their own cities and towns. Thus an area-wide priesthood leadership conference was broadcast via satellite throughout Chile on Nov. 30, enlisting the expertise and facilities of the Church's audiovisual resources and employing the product talent of resident public affairs director, Keith Atkinson.

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have twice used satellite technology to transmit their worldwide general priesthood training seminars this past year, but the recent broadcast in Chile is among the first priesthood training of its kind within a specific area of the Church.

The training seminar was pre-recorded in Santiago before being relayed to leaders throughout the country. It included messages from Elder Holland and his counselors, Elders Francisco J. Vias and Carl B. Pratt of the Seventy, as well as participation by Elder Oscar Chavez, Area Authority Seventy, and President David Lopez of the Chile Osorno Mission.

Elder Holland spoke of the "state of the Church" in Chile, then shared his vision for the future. He echoed President Gordon B. Hinckley's sentiment that Chile will become one of the beacons of strength for the Church in South America. In the training, the area presidency emphasized living the "basics" of the gospel, strengthening families, accepting calls for missionary service, understanding the essential elements of Church governance and paying a full tithe.

Elder Holland told the Church News he hoped the leadership seminar would enhance the lives of the Chilean members, leaving them more grounded in their faith.

A DVD copy of the training seminar will be distributed to stake leaders in Chile to assist in local training efforts throughout the year.

E-mail: [email protected]