Elder Gong tells Costa Rican youth, ‘Today is the time of blessings’

In his visit to Central America, Elder Gerrit W. Gong also met with Costa Rica’s president

During his ministry in Central America — which also included a visit to Panama and Guatemala Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told Latter-day Saint youth in Costa Rica, “Today is the time of blessings in Central America.”

Elder Gong attended a cultural performance in San Jose on Nov. 18, which was filled with regional songs, traditional dances and artistic performances. Speaking in Spanish, he expressed his gratitude for the efforts and dedication of the performances and expressed his love for the youth. 

“Dear young men and women, the Lord loves you,” Elder Gong said. “This is a time for new beginnings and a time for important commitments and priorities. Please make your education a priority. Please make serving a mission a priority. A mission will bless you and others for a lifetime. A mission blesses your family now and will bless your future eternal family. ... 

“Please love, share and invite others.”

He was joined by his wife, Sister Susan Gong, Elder José A. Teixeira of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Filomena Teixeira; along with members of the Central America Area presidency, Elder Brian K. Taylor and his wife, Sister Jill Taylor; Elder Taylor G. Godoy and his wife, Sister Carol Godoy; and Elder Patricio M. Giuffra and his wife, Sister Maria Giuffra.

In her message, Sister Gong reminded the youth of their great value as God’s children and encouraged them to stay close to Him.

“Please know that God loves you. He wants all good things for you. Continue all your life to love God,” she said in Spanish. “Thank you for sharing your talents, your creativity, your culture, your enthusiasm for life and your love of God.”

Elder Teixeira told the youth how much he enjoyed the dances and music. “If we want to make a difference in the world, we have to be different than the world. These young people here showed they can make this difference.”

Elder Godoy expressed his trust and love for the youth. He said, “You have shown yourself to be a generation of preparation and a youth of faith.”

Sister Godoy shared Helaman 5:12 and added, “Truly dear young people, you strive because Christ is the center of your lives, and you will truly see miracles in your lives.”

Visit with Costa Rica’s president

Elder Gong met with the president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chavez Robles, on Nov. 18 at the Presidential Palace. Sister Gong, Elder Teixeira, Sister Teixeira, Elder Taylor and Sister Taylor participated as well.

They discussed strengthening Costa Rican children and youth, providing them with educational opportunities and teaching values ​​and skills such as respect, honesty, resilience and perseverance.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, right, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gives Costa Rica President Rodrigo Chavez Robles a Christus statuette and a copy of the Book of Mormon in a meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica, on Nov. 18, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

They also talked about involving parents in the process of education and teaching, and how parents play an important role in the intellectual, social and spiritual development of their children.

Elder Gong shared a copy of the “For the Strength of Youth” guide with the president and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and a Christus statuette, telling Chavez how the Church centers its beliefs on Jesus Christ.

They also spoke about how the Church would support a project to strengthen the intensive care unit of Costa Rica’s National Children’s Hospital. The project will benefit approximately 2,000 children, and Chavez expressed his gratitude.

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