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In case you missed it: First Presidency Easter message, faith-filled devotionals held in Mexico, BYU-Hawaii and Rhode Island, plus 6 more stories

Here are 9 stories from Church News from the week of Feb. 18-24

During the week of Feb. 18-24, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared an Easter message, reminding Saints to “ponder the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.” Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with local leaders and members of the Church and their friends in the Africa Central Area. In a first-of-its-kind devotional to originate from outside the United States and be delivered in a non-English language, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified of the Savior’s healing power.

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square made their debut visit to the Philippines and announced fall 2024 “Hope” tour stops in Florida and Georgia. Temple news this week included the renaming of the Provo Utah Temple, the site release for the Jacksonville Florida Temple and the groundbreaking date and exterior rendering for the Teton River Idaho Temple. In preparation for the Anchorage Alaska Temple, Brayton meetinghouse furnishings and materials were donated. The Church News Podcast featured Elder Clark G. Gilbert, a General Authority Seventy and commissioner of Church education, to discuss the power of education and involving the Lord in learning.

Watch a video about how participants of the exodus commemoration marched in honor of the early Saints who lived in Nauvoo. Executive editor of the Church News, Sarah Jane Weaver, addressed students and faculty in a BYU-Hawaii devotional. As many as 200 sailors from different faith backgrounds attended a Church-sponsored weekly devotional at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island.

Read summaries and find links to these 9 stories below.

1. ‘Ponder the Savior’s atoning sacrifice,’ writes the First Presidency in their Easter message

An image from the Church’s Bible video series depicts the Resurrected Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene
An image from the Bible Videos depicts Jesus Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene after His Resurrection. | Matthew Reier

‘Because of Him, we can be guided and strengthened as we bear the burdens we face in mortality.’

Church President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, shared a 2024 Easter message on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Read their full message here.

2. Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s testimony of Christ and outreach in Africa

Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, right, greet members of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Masina Stake choir in Kinshasa, DR Congo, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. Elder Eustache Ilunga, Area Seventy, is behind Elder Stevenson on his right. | La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días

During his ministry this month in the Africa Central Area, Elder Stevenson testified of Jesus Christ in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saw the Church’s humanitarian efforts in Tanzania and took part in a live news conference in Kenya.

Read the full article here.

3. Look unto the Savior and receive His healing power, Elder Ulisses Soares teaches young adults in worldwide devotional

Elder Ulisses Soares, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, wave to attendees prior to a Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Soares addressed the concerns of young adults around the world on Sunday, Feb. 18, by teaching about the Savior and His Atonement.

Elder Soares was joined by his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, and Chad H. Webb, administrator of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, and his wife, Kristi Webb. The event was hosted at the Centro de Convenciones Banamex in Mexico City, Mexico, and was attended live by more than 2,000 young adults, with many more thousands watching via satellite or internet in other locations around the world.

Read more about his address here.

4. Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra arrive for debut performances in the Philippines and announce new stops to the “Hope” tour

Cami Purtschert, first alto in The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, and others join in taking photos with the youth performers from stakes around the Philippines after their show at the Conrad Hotel in Manila, Philippines, on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

There are 323 members of the 360-voice volunteer choir on tour and 68 members of the orchestra, along with choir leaders and staff on tour. These “musical missionaries” are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days and choir members have a months-long audition process.

They will be in the Philippines through Thursday, Feb. 29, performing at a sacred music concert on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Quadricentennial Pavilion of The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas and two concerts in the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 27, and Wednesday, Feb. 28.

The next stops on The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s multiyear, multicity “Hope” tour will be in the southeastern U.S. — Georgia and Florida — from Sept. 5-12, the choir leaders announced on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Members of the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra also visited the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, which has more than 17,000 headstones for those in the U.S. military who died in World War II in the Philippines and in nearby conflicts.

Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra members visit Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Read more about the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in the Philippines here.
Read more about the tour announcement here.

5. Updates for Provo, Utah, Jacksonville, Florida, Teton River Idaho and Anchorage Alaska Temples

Clockwise from top left: Rendering of the reconstructed Provo Utah Rock Canyon Temple, renamed from the Provo Utah Temple; Men carry out a stove to their truck in Anchorage, Alaska; Exterior rendering of the Teton River Idaho Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Site location map for the Jacksonville Florida Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Clockwise from top left: Rendering of the reconstructed Provo Utah Rock Canyon Temple; Members from the New Hope Baptist Church carry out a stove to their truck in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024; Exterior rendering of the Teton River Idaho Temple; Site location map for the Jacksonville Florida Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Four days before the temple’s closure for reconstruction, the First Presidency of the Church announced on Tuesday, Feb. 20, that the Provo Utah Temple will be renamed the Provo Utah Rock Canyon Temple.

The site location for the Jacksonville Florida Temple was first released Tuesday, Feb. 20, on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Projected as a single-story structure of approximately 29,000 square feet, the temple will be constructed on a 6.6-acre parcel at 3323 Loretto Road, Jacksonville, Florida.

The Church has announced the date of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Teton River Idaho Temple and released an exterior rendering, which provides a first look at the second house of the Lord in Rexburg, Idaho.

Before being razed to make way for a soon-to-be-constructed new and larger Anchorage Alaska Temple, the Brayton meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had its furniture and furnishings removed and repurposed in a gesture of goodwill spanning more than 400 miles across Alaska.

Read more about the Provo Utah Rock Canyon Temple here.
Read more about the Jacksonville Florida Temple here.
Read more about the Teton River Idaho Temple here.
Read more about the Anchorage Alaska Temple here.

6. Episode 176: Elder Clark G. Gilbert on the expansive Church Educational System and the power of involving the Lord in learning

Elder Clark G. Gilbert joins the Church News podcast on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. | Screenshot from YouTube

Elder Gilbert joins the Church News podcast in a new episode to talk the expansive Church Educational System, the enlightening power of education and involving the Lord in learning. He also explained the ‘three Gs’ he experienced during a recent trip to Africa — gathering, gratitude and grace.

Listen to the Church News podcast here.

7. Video: See how those in Nauvoo commemorate when the Saints left the city

The rebuilt Nauvoo Illinois Temple is on a bluff with leafless trees in the foreground. "The Nauvoo Exodus" is in the lower left corner.
In the Church News video "The Nauvoo Exodus," leaders in historic Nauvoo, Illinios, share their thoughts about the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a exodus commemoration re-enactment on Feb. 2, 2024. | Screenshot from YouTube

The legacy of the pioneers is one of seeking God’s will and following it, said Sister Sandra Dalton, Illinois Historic Sites leader, during the annual exodus commemoration to honor pioneers who were driven from Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846.

This Church News video, titled “The Nauvoo Exodus,” features commemoration participants who gathered on Feb. 3, 2024, in front of the Cultural Hall in historic Nauvoo in honor of their ancestors or other pioneers who had lived in Nauvoo.

Watch the video here.

8. Those who ‘let God prevail’ can experience ‘miracles everywhere’

Sarah Jane Weaver, the executive editor of the Church News and host of the weekly Church News podcast, talks to a BYU-Hawaii student after giving a devotional held at the Cannon Activities Center in Laie on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. | Mengshin Lin, para o Deseret News

Speaking to students and faculty gathered in the Cannon Activities Center on the BYU–Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, Sarah Jane Weaver noted that like Peter, Latter-day Saints have promised to follow the Savior and have witnessed His compassion and His miracles. Yet they too might experience moments when they doubt.

Read more about her address here.

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9. How a Church-sponsored interfaith event — Sailors Devotional — at a U.S. Navy base is growing and blessing lives worldwide

U.S. Naval officer candidates listen during an interfaith event at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

For the last few years, as many as 200 sailors stationed at the U.S. Navy’s Naval Station Newport have been showing up at the base’s Kay Hall auditorium on Friday nights for an hour long interfaith event known as the Sailors’ Devotional.

The devotional is organized by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the vast majority who attend are from different faiths and religious backgrounds.

Read the full article here.
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