News Story

Church Leaders Meet With Government and Community Leaders on South America Visit

Leaders of the young women’s and women’s organizations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently returned from a visit to South America, where they met with the first lady-elect of Uruguay, community leaders and members of the Church.

During their 10 day trip, Sister Linda K. Burton, general president of the Relief Society, and Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, visited Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.

In Uruguay, the presidency members were invited to share the Church’s beliefs during a visit with the first lady-elect of Uruguay, Mrs. Maria Auxiliadora Delgado de Vazquez, whose husband will take leadership of the country in March 2015. The leaders discussed family values, humanitarian work and ways to help children and families.

“It was a delightful visit in her home, and we felt warmly welcomed and grateful for the opportunity,” Sister Burton said.

Mrs. Vazquez is known for her charitable efforts to provide dental help for children and the elderly. She shared her mutual interest in serving those in need with the Church leaders as they discussed humanitarian efforts in the area.

The visits continued in Cordoba, Argentina, where Sister Burton and Sister Marriott were asked by the city’s mayor, Dr. Ramόn Mestre, to speak with prominent women in the community. The Church leaders spoke about their work as women in the Church, the purpose of the Relief Society and the Church’s standards for youth.

“It was a joy to meet and thank these good women for the service they give,” said Sister Burton, who also invited them to the dedication of the Cordoba Argentina Temple taking place in May 2015.

Sister Marriott echoed the temple invitation, having recently seen the temple’s progress. She said that the temple was “gorgeous with its decorative wood molding, coral marble, high ceilings and gold trim.”

Community members are invited to tour the new temple April 17 through May 2, 2015. Afterward, the temple will be dedicated and open only to members of the Church who are in good standing, unlike meetinghouses which house Sunday worship services and invite anyone, regardless of religion, to visit.

During their trip, Sister Burton and Sister Marriott also held multiple training sessions and met with Latter-day Saints. The leaders visited member homes, held focus groups to learn more about the needs of members and spoke at worship services.

“Visiting the faithful Saints in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile was a joy and has increased my own faith and devotion,” Sister Burton said as she described the dedication of those she visited. “What a joy to meet with sisters and their families in many different circumstances.”

Sister Marriott also appreciated visiting Paraguay’s Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) office and the Santiago Chile Missionary Training Center, where the leaders spoke at a devotional. Meeting with members is a regular part of leadership travel, and Sister Marriott appreciated being “received with love and close attention,” as the leaders discussed faith and the gospel.

During their speaking engagements to over 600 youth and at several worship services, Sister Marriott had “many moments of the joy and admiration for the perseverance and faith of the Saints in these great countries,” she said.

Sister Burton echoed the sentiment.  “Though we didn’t speak their beautiful Spanish language,” she said, “we hope we were able to communicate through the language of love as we laughed together, cried together and shared our hearts and testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ together.”

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