zMormon Newsroom

President Eyring Offers Support in the Caribbean After Hurricane Irma

15 September 2017

St. Thomas — 

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited with government officials and ministered to local Latter-day Saints and residents in the Caribbean Friday, September 15, 2017, in the wake of destructive Hurricane Irma, which battered the islands a week ago.

Downloadable video: B-roll | SOTs

“Some of you have family or friends who have had more emotional stress than you even know,” President Eyring told Latter-day Saints gathered at an impromptu devotional in St. Thomas. The normally pristine resort island’s leafless trees and overturned aircraft tell the story of the pounding it received. “Go to family and neighbors over a long period of time,” President Eyring said. “That will give them a confidence that has been shaken. [God] lives. He is close by. He got me here today.” Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever in the Atlantic and its winds turned tropical lush neighborhoods into barely recognizable streets.

President Eyring was joined by Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric and General Authority Seventy Elder Jörg Klebingat. In the morning, they stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico, then flew in the afternoon to St. Thomas.

The Church leaders visited with and encouraged Latter-day Saints recovering a week after the devastating storm damaged businesses, uprooted trees, ripped off roofs, took out power and reportedly caused nearly $11 billion in damages and claimed more than 40 lives in the Caribbean.

“The rebuilding in some of these places may take years,” President Eyring said. “When you lose infrastructure, it takes a long time to put it back. I don’t know what part we’ll play in that, but we ought to be as helpful as we can to the [government] agencies that are responsible. We can’t do it [all], but we can help wherever we can.”

In San Juan, an area less damaged than St. Thomas, debris was noticeably less visible thanks to pre-storm preparation.

“Our driver thought it was a Puerto Rico miracle,” President Eyring said. “He said they had the thing cleaned up immediately. Really amazing.”

At an evening gathering for some 600 members and friends of the Church held at the Trujillo Alto Ward meetinghouse in San Juan, President Eyring told the people they can always find light in times of darkness by focusing on Jesus Christ.


“I was with some people [today] who lost a great deal,” he said. “I looked in their eyes and I could see that these apparently ordinary people were on the rock of the Lord Jesus Christ. They saw the light even in the darkness. And so, things for them will work out. Whatever it takes, they will rebuild. And they will not just rebuild their houses and their businesses. What they will build is a love of the Lord Jesus Christ and a feeling that no matter what comes, they will feel cheerful and confident."

No Latter-day Saints died in the storm, and three Church buildings (one owned in St. Thomas, the other rented in St. Martin) were damaged while a rented building in the neighboring island of Tortola was completely lost. 

Update: President Eyring and other Church leaders continued their travels Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, 2017, offering love and support in Florida to those hit hard by Hurricane Irma. Read more about those visits.

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