In case you missed it: Friend to Friend event, Elder Holland’s answers to questions from young adults, and 7 other articles

During the week of Feb. 15-21, the Friend to Friend event for children featured special messages from President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Ulisses Soares and the Primary general presidency. 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders answered questions from young adults on a variety of topics, and Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles talked about the importance of temples in a new Church News videoSix Apostle-led devotionals are scheduled for the next month to reach young adults around the world.

This week’s podcast with Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Family History Department, and Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, shows how RootsTech Connect is going virtual and global next week.  

Also, the Church News reported the death of Elder Angel Abrea, the first General Authority from Latin America, and highlighted temples moving to Phase 3.

Missionaries in Arizona are helping to “feed my sheep” with a food distribution program and, after a fire burned an Oklahoma meetinghouse, the community stepped in to help.

Below are summaries and links to these nine articles. 

1. What a story from Elder Soares’ youth taught children during the Friend to Friend event

Seven-year-old Brianna Villsnil, a Latter-day Saint from Salt Lake City, sits on the Friend to Friend event’s rotating set next to co-host and 10-year-old Payson Inkley, from Centerville, Utah, during a dress rehearsal Jan. 21 in Provo, Utah.
Seven-year-old Brianna Villsnil, a Latter-day Saint from Salt Lake City, sits on the Friend to Friend event’s rotating set next to co-host and 10-year-old Payson Inkley, from Centerville, Utah, during a dress rehearsal Jan. 21 in Provo, Utah. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In this historic event designed for children and hosted by children, the virtual audience of Primary boys and girls, parents and leaders sang songs, colored pictures, played with rocks, “traveled” around the world to hear stories and listened to special messages from President Nelson, Elder Soares and the Primary general presidency. 

As the first Face to Face-style event for children, the Friend to Friend originated in three languages — English, Spanish and Portuguese — with native-speaking hosts. The event’s segments were designed to be watched over and over again and discussed throughout the year at home and in Primary. 

Read about this event designed for children

2. Elder Holland and 3 general Church leaders answer young adults’ questions about dating, marriage and other issues

From left: Elder Ruben V. Alliaud, Sister Michelle Craig, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Bishop L. Todd Budge participate in a question-and-answer-format devotional broadcast for young single adults in Lubbock, Texas, on Feb. 14.
From left: Elder Ruben V. Alliaud, Sister Michelle Craig, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Bishop L. Todd Budge participate in a question-and-answer-format devotional broadcast for young single adults in Lubbock, Texas, on Feb. 14. Credit: Screenshot, ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Speaking to young adults, including 16- to 18-year-old young men and young women, from six stakes and one district in Lubbock, Texas, Elder Holland and three other general Church leaders offered words of warning and invitation as well as loving counsel. 

“You are supposed to leave this devotional believing in God’s love for you. That is my message and my witness,” Elder Holland said during the question-and-answer-format devotional on Sunday, Feb. 14. “In this life and the next, you will enjoy the love and protection of a divine Father.”

Learn more about their counsel for young adults

3. Elder Bednar asks: ‘Is the temple in us?’

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sits down for an interview at the Relief Society building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Feb. 2.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sits down for an interview at the Relief Society building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Feb. 2. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

In a new Church News video, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks about temple construction amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, as temples worldwide were closed or ordinances were limited, the Church broke ground for 21 temples

“Obviously, there were construction disruptions because of the pandemic, but relatively few of those temples are behind schedule,” said Elder Bednar, who chairs the Church’s Temple and Family History Executive Council. “I find that to be just absolutely miraculous.” 

Watch the video with Elder Bednar here

4. 6 devotionals to reach young adults across the globe

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, top left; President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and, bottom left, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Elder Ulisses Soares, all of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will speak at streamed firesides designed to reach Latter-day Saint young adults worldwide in the next month.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, top left; President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and, bottom left, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Elder Ulisses Soares, all of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will speak at streamed firesides designed to reach Latter-day Saint young adults worldwide in the next month. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Over the next month, a First Presidency counselor and six members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will lead a half-dozen streamed devotionals designed to reach Latter-day Saint young adults worldwide.

Scheduled from Feb. 21 through March 21, the six devotionals will target young-adult members ages 18 to 30 — single or married.

Find out here when the devotionals are scheduled

5. This week’s podcast shares an inside look at RootsTech Connect 2021

In Episode 18 of the Church News podcast, Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Family History Department, talks about what to expect at the upcoming RootsTech Connect, Feb. 25-27.
In Episode 18 of the Church News podcast, Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Family History Department, talks about what to expect at the upcoming RootsTech Connect, Feb. 25-27. Credit: Screenshot

Made possible by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, RootsTech will be Feb. 25-27 and is a free, virtual family history celebration. For the first time in RootsTech’s history, classes will be offered in multiple languages, and presenters will teach from international locations.

This podcast features Elder Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Family History Department, and Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, talking about family history and RootsTech Connect. Register for free at rootstech.org or on the Family Search App.

Listen to the podcast and meet keynote speakers rugby league player Will Hopoate, Japanese singers bless4 and Brazilian soccer player Bruna Benites

6. Elder Angel Abrea — Latin America’s first General Authority — dies at age 87

Elder Angel Abrea
Elder Angel Abrea Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Latter-day Saints from South America and beyond are mourning the passing of Elder Angel Abrea — Latin America’s first General Authority. Elder Abrea, an emeritus General Authority since 2003, died Feb. 13, 2021. He was 87.

A Church convert, the Buenos Aires, Argentina, native holds a defining place in Latter-day Saint history from when he was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy at the April 1981 general conference, becoming the first General Authority from Latin America.

Find out more about Elder Abrea’s life

7. How Phase 3 temple operations continue to expand

Taipei Taiwan Temple
Taipei Taiwan Temple Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Adjust. Adapt. And move forward.

As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to reopen its temples worldwide following last year’s closures due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Church leaders are adjusting and adapting operations as part of the careful and cautious four-phase plan.

The move to Phase 3, which includes proxy ordinances, was the latest in the Church’s effort to reopen its 168 dedicated temples worldwide, after all were closed in March 2020.

Learn about where temples are moving to Phase 3

8. Missionaries in Arizona partner with local groups to answer the call to ‘feed my sheep’

Missionaries participate in the Feed My Sheep food initiative that brings relief to food-insecure immigrants in the greater-Phoenix region.
Missionaries participate in the Feed My Sheep food initiative that brings relief to food-insecure immigrants in the greater-Phoenix region. Credit: Courtesy of Ken Smith

Prompted last year by the ongoing pandemic, the Feed My Sheep food initiative relies on scores of charity-minded people, including full-time missionaries from four Arizona missions who deliver life-sustaining sustenance to many vulnerable families.

“We call it Feed My Sheep because we are literally feeding the Lord’s sheep,” said Ken Smith, an immigration attorney and the honorary consul of Chile in Arizona who served a full-time mission to that South American nation. “This program is allowing us to get representatives of the Savior into their homes.”

See more about the Feed My Sheep initiative

9. After a fire burned an Oklahoma meetinghouse, the community stepped in to help

Firefighters spray water on the fire at the Altus Ward building on Jan. 31 in Altus, Oklahoma.
Firefighters spray water on the fire at the Altus Ward building on Jan. 31 in Altus, Oklahoma. Credit: John Barron

In the weeks since Altus (Oklahoma) Ward Bishop John “Johnny” Barron spent a Sunday morning not in meetings but watching a fire burn the meetinghouse, he’s seen and felt the support of the local community.  

“I’ve been super impressed with the outpouring of support from the community,” Bishop Barron said of the response to the Jan. 31, fire. “We had eight different places offering space for us — four of them are churches.

Read about the aftermath of the fire here