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Elder Ulisses Soares Fulfills a Promise With Visit to ‘ABC’ Caribbean Islands

For the first time, the island of Bonaire receives a visit from an Apostle

After experiencing the presence of an Apostle of the Lord during his January 2024 visit to the Caribbean island of Bonaire, one Latter-day Saint said she received “hope, both for myself, for my beloved island, and the Church here.”

The visit from Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on January 28, 2024, marked an inaugural visit from an Apostle for this small island, which has just over 24,000 inhabitants. And it fulfilled a promise Elder Soares had made in 2019 during a visit to the neighboring island of Curaçao that he would someday visit all three islands in the ABC District of the Caribbean — Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

Two days before his trip to Bonaire, Elder Soares had traveled to the island of Aruba, where he conducted a devotional for the members of the three islands. Members on Bonaire and Curaçao were able to participate in the devotional through a digital broadcast.

One of the central themes of Elder Soares’ remarks focused on the importance of studying the words of the living prophet, specifically referencing the October 2023 general conference where President Russell M. Nelson encouraged Latter-day Saints to “think celestial.” Elder Soares provided two key ways to help achieve this celestial perspective.

First, daily study of the Book of Mormon. There is transformative power of the Book of Mormon, he said, testifying that consistent study and application of its teachings can lead to profound changes in our lives. Elder Soares quoted President Nelson’s promises regarding the Book of Mormon, emphasizing that daily reading and study can result in making better decisions each day (“Let God Prevail,” October 2020 general conference).

Second, Elder Soares also encouraged the Caribbean Saints to follow the prophet’s counsel to “overcome the world and find rest” (October 2022 general conference). He explained that God’s rest means having strength when challenges and problems come.

“Through the challenges and trials of life we can become better disciples,” he said. “Experiencing these circumstances with faith during our mortal journey can help us to turn our hearts to the Savior, and see how the power of divinity can be manifested in our daily life. This is also thinking celestial,” he said.

At the conclusion of each meeting in Aruba and Bonaire, Elder Soares took time to personally greet and engage with each member in attendance. Accompanying him on this visit were his wife, Rosana, and Elder Moises Villanueva, General Authority Seventy and Second Counselor in the Caribbean Area Presidency, and his wife, Leticia.

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