News Release

Elder Gong Meets Government Leaders in Asia and Oceania

Lebanese judge joins apostle at worship service in Japan

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with government leaders from Oceania and the Middle East during a recent trip to Japan and Micronesia. Elder Gong was in the region in June with his wife, Susan, to attend the G20 Interfaith Forum in Japan.


At the forum, Sheikh Mohamad Abou Zaid, senior judge in Lebanon’s Family Court of Saida, was in the audience as Elder Gong delivered his speech. After expressing an interest in learning more about the Church, Imam Zaid, a Sunni Muslim, visited a local Latter-day Saint congregation Sunday morning.

After sacrament meeting, Elder Gong spoke with Imam Zaid about the Church's humanitarian efforts. Elder Gong learned that the imam plans to visit the United States this fall and invited him to visit Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.


Following the forum, the Gongs traveled to the islands of Guam and Pohnpei in Micronesia, where they were introduced to the president-elect of Micronesia and the governor of Pohnpei. 

On June 10, Elder and Sister Gong; Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, president of the Asia North Area, and his wife, Bon Kyung Koo; and local Church leaders visited Pohnpei Governor Marcelo Peterson and Senator Shelten Neth.

Governor Peterson asked the Church leaders if there was anything the government could do for them during their visit to Pohnpei. They shared concern for the health and well-being of the people in Pohnpei. Elder Gong discussed a program that the Church started in the Pacific called “Eat Healthy, Be Active” and promised to give a copy to the governor.

In the evening, a devotional was held with Latter-day Saints and friends at the College of Micronesia campus in Palikir.

Presidential Visit

The following morning, Elder and Sister Gong and other Church leaders visited His Excellency David W. Panuelo, the newly elected president of the Federated States of Micronesia. President Panuelo, who took office in May, related his background and a trip he took to the United States, where he met with President Trump and visited Congress. He spoke of the value of religion and his great respect for the Church and its missionaries.

Elder Gong thanked him for allowing them to visit. “It’s hard to say farewell to you,” the president said and embraced his guests. Elder and Sister Gong presented President Panuelo with a small marble replica of the Christus statue.


Ground was recently broken for a temple to be built in Yigo, Guam. The Gongs visited the temple site and then proceeded a few miles down the road to the Guam Barrigada Stake Center for an evening devotional attended by more than 360 Latter-day Saints and friends.

“The members of the Church are kind and generous,” Elder Gong told the congregation and the members in Saipan, another island in the Mariana archipelago, who received the fireside by broadcast. “However, we live in a world which wants us to think we are inadequate. … See yourself in the way the Lord sees you.”

“Keep the larger view and have faith,” he said. “Great things are happening, and they are happening right now.”

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