Elder Rasband turns 69 today. Here’s a look back at some highlights from his past year

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has spent the last year ministering to Latter-day Saints around the world. In honor of his 69th birthday, here are a few memorable moments from his recent travels.

From May 22 to June 3, 2019, Elder Rasband and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, visited the Church’s Europe East Area with Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Jennifer Kearon.

Elder Rasband praised the leadership he saw “especially among the younger generation” in countries such as Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia and Russia.

He encouraged missionaries and volunteers serving in the area to “do everything in your power to find ways to contact people, legally and correctly. Know the law and abide by it. There are still many ways to teach the gospel.”

From left, President Stephen E. Lamb, Sister Marjorie A. Lamb, Elder Patrick Kearon, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Sister Melanie T. Rasband, Sister Jennie Marie B. Martino and Elder James B. Martino and Elder Alexey V. Samaykin. Elder Rasband and Elder Kearon visited the Europe East Area from May 22 through June 3, 2019.
From left, President Stephen E. Lamb, Sister Marjorie A. Lamb, Elder Patrick Kearon, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Sister Melanie T. Rasband, Sister Jennie Marie B. Martino and Elder James B. Martino and Elder Alexey V. Samaykin. Elder Rasband and Elder Kearon visited the Europe East Area from May 22 through June 3, 2019.

In Belarus, Elder Rasband met with local members and leaders, telling them they are the pioneers of the Church in their country. 

Minsk Belarus District Branch President Mikhail M. Davydik wrote in an email about a youth devotional where the Apostle spoke: “It struck me that Elder Rasband responded as if he had known these young people for a long time. It was amazing for me — and it was evidence that he was really an apostle and that he was acting under the guidance of the Holy Ghost and speaking through revelation.”

Reflecting on his trip to Eastern Europe, Elder Rasband testified, “The Lord can do His own work — I saw that repeatedly during this trip. He knows who His children are and who will listen. The Lord will make it happen.”

On Oct. 18, 2019, Elder Rasband met with government leaders in Phoenix, Arizona, to talk about addressing the needs of 48,000 asylum seekers recently released in the area by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

He visited the welcome center that the Church helped open for asylum seekers as part of a coalition of 40 churches and nonprofit organizations. 

At the welcome center, he said, “We came here today to thank you. This is exactly what the mission and focus of our Church is — to care for the poor and needy, to reach out to all of Heavenly Father’s children, to show love and compassion like you have.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband greets members following a devotional at the Tempe Arizona Institute of Religion on Oct. 20, 2019.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband greets members following a devotional at the Tempe Arizona Institute of Religion on Oct. 20, 2019. Credit: Nick Narducci, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Elder and Sister Rasband went on another, two-week ministry tour in November 2019, this time to the Pacific Area of the Church.

The couple visited the countries of Fiji, Australia and New Zealand on the trip. Since two of their grandsons were serving missions in the Pacific Area — one in Melbourne, Australia, and one in Suva, Fiji — Elder and Sister Rasband were able to spend time with them and participate in their teaching appointments.

After seeing his missionary grandsons, Elder Rasband said, “I think one of the lessons that Sister Rasband and I had was that even though we had experiences with our grandsons, they were surrounded by fellow missionaries, fellow members, and we just felt like we were ministering everywhere we went. … We engaged in their work, we got deep in their work, and we were able to make a difference.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Sister Melanie Rasband;, second and third from left, meet with Tim Macindoe, member of New Zealand's Parliament, left; Dr. Mustafa Farouk, center, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, and his wife, Bilkisu Farouk; and Sister Shawna Nattress, second from right; and Elder K. Brent Nattress, a General Authority Seventy and Pacific Area presidency counselor. The group met in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Nov. 16, 2019.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Sister Melanie Rasband;, second and third from left, meet with Tim Macindoe, member of New Zealand’s Parliament, left; Dr. Mustafa Farouk, center, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, and his wife, Bilkisu Farouk; and Sister Shawna Nattress, second from right; and Elder K. Brent Nattress, a General Authority Seventy and Pacific Area presidency counselor. The group met in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Nov. 16, 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

General Authority Seventy Elder K. Brent Nattress, who joined the Rasbands for part of the Pacific ministry, added that “Elder and Sister Rasband didn’t miss a single opportunity to reach out and minister to all — in airports, streets, sidewalks, meetinghouses and homes. The result was always the same — all were lifted and inspired and felt the love of The Lord.”

Elder Rasband will mark five years as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in October.