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In case you missed it: President Ballard speaks at Sister Hales’ funeral, Elder Christofferson dedicates San Juan Puerto Rico Temple

Here are 9 stories from the Church News from the week of Jan. 15 to Jan. 21

During the week of Jan. 15 to Jan. 21, President M. Russell Ballard spoke at the funeral of Sister Mary Hales, wife of the late Elder Robert D. Hales. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple, blessing Puerto Rico’s people and leaders in the dedicatory prayer.

Elder Christofferson later spoke at an MTC devotional, testifying to missionaries of the Book of Mormon and its capacity to convert. At a BYU devotional, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared six ways to strengthen faith in Christ. Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, will be the featured keynote speakers at RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day and for the first time, RootsTech will feature 15 “emcees.”

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon spoke to students and staff at a BYU–Idaho devotional. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sister Kristin M. Yee of the Relief Society general presidency and Sister Tracy Y. Browning of the Primary general presidency participated in a drive-thru food drive in St. Louis, Missouri. The latest Church News podcast episode featured the Presiding Bishopric talking about the temporal affairs of the Church. UNICEF USA leaders toured Welfare Square to mark 10 years of collaboration with the Church.

Read summaries of these nine articles below.

1. President Ballard speaks at Sister Hales’ funeral

The casket for Sister Mary Hales, the wife of the late Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is moved from the church during funeral proceedings in North Salt Lake on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Reflecting on the life of Sister Mary Crandall Hales at her funeral on Saturday, Jan. 21, President M. Russell Ballard said simply, “Thank you, Mary.” 

The Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared some of his memories of Sister Hales and her late husband, Elder Robert D. Hales.

“The contributions that Robert and Mary Hales made to the kingdom of God are very hard to contain in a few words,” President Ballard said. 

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‘Thank you, Mary,’ President M. Russell Ballard memorializes Sister Hales at her funeral
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2. San Juan Puerto Rico Temple is dedicated

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shakes hands with people between sessions of the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple dedication in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Elder Christofferson, accompanied by his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, dedicated the new temple on Sunday, Jan. 15, bringing a new light to La Isla del Encanto — the Island of Enchantment.

“The temple will bless this island,” he said. “It has had a lot of challenges in recent years, natural disasters and other kinds of difficulties that have been serious and caused a lot of destruction. It will make a difference.”

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A prophetic promise fulfilled: San Juan Puerto Rico Temple is dedicated
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3. The Book of Mormon is ‘the ultimate tool’ for missionaries, says Elder Christofferson at MTC devotional

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, holds up a Book of Mormon while speaking during a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Saying the Book of Mormon has a unique capacity to convert, Elder Christofferson invited missionaries to give it a special place in their service. Speaking at a Tuesday, Jan. 17, devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center, he underscored that the Book of Mormon has to be “the ultimate tool in your missionary toolkit” in gathering Israel.

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The Book of Mormon is ‘the ultimate tool’ for missionaries, says Elder Christofferson

4. Elder Andersen shares 6 ways individuals can allow faith in Jesus Christ to guide their lives

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, wave to students gathered in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, for the weekly campus devotional on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. | Christi Norris, BYU

Speaking from his own experience, Elder Andersen shared six ways individuals can strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ throughout their lives. Seated on the stage with Elder Andersen during the devotional were his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, and several BYU students who contributed personal examples and testimonies of principles discussed throughout his address.

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Elder Andersen shares 6 ways individuals can allow faith in Jesus Christ to guide their lives

5. RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day will feature keynote by Elder and Sister Gong

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, newly sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 6, 2018. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Elder Gong and Sister Gong will be the featured keynote speakers at RootsTech 2023 Family Discovery Day on Saturday, March 4, at 11 a.m., according to ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Their message will be broadcast on RootsTech.org, RootsTech YouTube, Broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org and the Gospel Library app.

For the first time, RootsTech 2023 will feature 15 “emcees,” who will be similar to sideline reporters and will each represent a different part of the world, speak the native language, give their audience a familiar face and guide and provide more localized content during the global event on RootsTech.org.

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6. President Cordon to BYU–Idaho students: The Lord ‘is eager to guide us if we will trust Him’

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon speaks Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at BYU–Idaho’s second devotional of winter semester 2023, in the I-Center in Rexburg, Idaho. | Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho

President Cordon taught BYU–Idaho students and staff in the college’s second devotional of the winter 2023 semester on Tuesday, Jan. 17. She spoke about commending oneself to the Lord and following His divine direction to reach full potential.

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President Cordon to BYU–Idaho students: The Lord ‘is eager to guide us if we will trust Him’

7. Sister Browning, Sister Yee participate in St. Louis food drive honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning loads cars at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tribute food drive in St. Louis, Missouri.
Sister Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, loads cars at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tribute food drive in St. Louis, Missouri, on Jan. 16, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16, Sister Yee and Sister Browning participated in a drive-thru food drive in St. Louis, Missouri. Some 2,000 boxes of canned goods and nonperishable items were distributed.

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Sister Browning, Sister Yee participate in St. Louis food drive honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

8. Church News podcast on the Presiding Bishopric

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, center, and his counselors Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, left, and Bishop L. Todd Budge, right, join episode 119 of the Church News podcast and answer the question: “What does the Presiding Bishopric do?” | Screenshot from YouTube

This episode of the Church News podcast includes excerpts from recent interviews with members of the Presiding Bishopric. As part of those interviews, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, and his counselors — Bishop W. Christopher Waddell and Bishop L. Todd Budge — answer the critical question, “What does the Presiding Bishopric do?” as they support the temporal, and thus spiritual, affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Episode 119: Inside Church Headquarters — The Presiding Bishopric and their role to provide temporal support to the divine mission of the Church

9. Ten years of working together to bless children and families around the world

Bishop Gérald Caussé greets UNICEF USA representatives and other guests at Church headquarters
Bishop Gérald Caussé greets UNICEF USA representatives and other guests at Church headquarters | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As the president and CEO of UNICEF USA visited the Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square in Salt Lake City for the first time, he was amazed.

“I’m literally blown away by everything we’ve seen,” Michael Nyenhuis said. “I’m blown away by the scale and the breadth of all of it.”

Nyenhuis and others from UNICEF USA were hosted by senior Church leaders and the Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Services Department on Jan. 12, reported ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

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UNICEF USA leaders tour Welfare Square; celebrate 10-year joint global effort
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