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General Officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sister J. Anette Dennis and Sister Tracy Y. Browning met with Church leaders and members, civic leaders, and media from Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica as part of a recent visit to the Caribbean September 9-13.
Sister Dennis, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, Sister Browning, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, together with Elder Tomás G. Román, an Area Seventy, met with government officials and leaders of humanitarian organizations. They also shared messages with youth and young adults and visited with individual church members as well as families on the islands.
On Monday, September 12, they met with Senator Elizabeth Rosa Vélez, who heads the Special Commission for the Eradication of Poverty in Puerto Rico. At the meeting, they discussed the most pressing needs of the population and identified ways the Church and its members could help.
The sisters also participated in training activities, through which they taught Latter-day Saint women over the age of 11 about the power and meaning of the covenants they have made with the Lord and their identity as daughters of God.
“One of the things we want to convey is the power of covenants, the authority that sisters have in honoring covenants that bring God’s power, and the importance of understanding who we are, even if the world tries to confuse us, because knowing who we really are changes everything else,” Sister Dennis said.
In Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, May 14, Sister Dennis and Sister Browning were accompanied by Elder Kevin G. Brown, an Area Seventy in the eastern Caribbean region.
During a meeting with Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles Robinson, the leaders discussed areas of concern such as education, violence, and the hopelessness of citizens and the improvement of their living conditions.
Minister Beckles Robinson urged Church leaders to focus their efforts on education, encouraging them to teach the gospel to the people of the island so that they can have a closer connection with Jesus Christ.
They also discussed topics related to the Church’s doctrine on the family, which the leaders thought could help address the violence and hopelessness prevalent in the country. They also discussed the Church’s humanitarian efforts to improve people’s living conditions, including employment and education.
That same afternoon, the Church leaders discussed development projects and community service initiatives with Living Waters Community representatives Rosemary Scott, deputy director, and Rochelle Nakhid, coordinator for migrants and refugees.
During a devotional for young adults, Sister Dennis counseled them to take one step at a time as they aspire to new spiritual heights. “Every time you kneel to pray, study the scriptures, partake of the sacrament, or choose to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are climbing,” she said. The Lord restored His church to help us climb to perfection, she said. “We are not alone in this climb, but we finish that climb with Him. We will be comfortably next to Him because then we will be like Him.”
In Jamaica, where Sister Browning spent part of her youth, she focused on three principles President Russell M. Nelson taught in a recent devotional for young adults, where he said that members of the Church are children of God, children of the covenant and disciples of Christ.
“Knowing that we are children of God makes a difference in how we live our lives,” Sister Browning said. “Knowing our identity empowers us in many ways” and that “as covenant children, all of us, including sisters, have access to priesthood power through the covenants we make.”
Regarding the need to care for one another, Sister Browning taught that “as disciples of Jesus Christ, we love and minister as He does. … We focus on building relationships and meeting the needs of those in whose service we are, rather than simply fulfilling the obligation to make monthly visits or impart a prescribed lesson. .. We love, and we are motivated by love.
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