News Release

Elder Gong Meets With Second-Highest-Ranking Official in Mexico

Apostle speaks to interior minister about Church’s efforts to build up families

In Mexico City, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, center, meets with Adán Augusto López, second from left, Mexico’s interior minister. Elder Jose A. Teixeira, second from right, of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Adrián Ochoa, left, first counselor in the Mexico Area presidency, also attended the meeting.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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On a recent visit to Mexico, Elder Gerrit W. Gong often repeated a phrase he has taught during his visits to this country over the past year: “Now is the time for Mexico. Now is the time for the Lord’s blessings in Mexico.”

While in Mexico City, Elder Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with Adán Augusto López, Mexico’s interior minister. López is the second-highest-ranking official in the Mexican government. In a cordial meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, Elder Gong spoke about the efforts the Church makes to build up families in Mexico.

“By doing so, we are contributing to the strengthening of society,” he stressed.

Elder Gong also explained the scope of the Church’s humanitarian aid in Mexico. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this aid was manifested in 166 projects that benefited an estimated 12.8 million people.

Elder Gong presented López with a statue of the Christus and thanked him for the diplomatic relations that have existed between the Church of Jesus Christ and the government of Mexico for 110 years.

“It was a privilege to talk with Secretary López and Undersecretary [César] Yáñez about building peace in Mexico through the well-being of the people,” said Elder Gong. “We can all support with small actions, caring for those who need it most. Because we are all children of God.”

The Church was introduced in Mexico in 1875. During that time, leaders and teachings of the Church stressed the importance of being good citizens who honor the laws of the land. This year is particularly significant for Latter-day Saints in this country because it has been 30 years since the Church of Jesus Christ received official recognition as a religious association by the government of Mexico.

Also present at the meeting were Yáñez, undersecretary for democratic development, social participation and religious affairs; Elder Teixeira; and Elder Ochoa.

Ministering Leadership in Mexico

During an event-filled week, Elder Gong, accompanied by his wife, Sister Susan Gong, and other Church leaders, visited four cities, conducted leadership training meetings, spoke at devotionals and attended a cultural celebration. Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Filomena Teixeira, and the Mexico Area presidency and their wives — Elder Hugo Montoya and Sister Carmen Montoya; Elder Adrián Ochoa and Sister Nancy Ochoa; and Elder Sean Douglas and Sister Ann Douglas — also joined various meetings.

Elder Gerrit W. .Gong greets the young people who gathered at one of the Monterrey stakes to participate in a special devotional for them.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Elder Gong and the other leaders held leadership training meetings in Villahermosa, Mexico City and Monterrey. These meetings brought together more than 300 Church leaders from across the country — including stake and district presidents, temple presidents, mission leaders and Area Seventies — and Elder Gong shared the vision of the Church for the coming years.

“This is an exceptional time to come together,” Elder Gong said during the training meetings. “We want to put the Lord first, including in how we help missionaries from the time they begin their preparation, their service as ‘Preach My Gospel’ missionaries, as well as after they return home; and we are coming to the Lord in a deeper way in the temple.”

Elder Teixeira and Elder Montoya presented an initiative to all the leaders to support returned missionaries, with a multidisciplinary committee formed by a group of members of the Church who will support initiatives to help returned missionaries achieve success after finishing their missions.

On Sunday, February 19, Elder Gong, Elder Teixeira and the Mexico Area Presidency participated in a devotional for bishops and their wives that was broadcast throughout the country. Elder Gong thanked each bishop for his service, and then particularly thanked the wives of each bishop.

“Enjoy this time that you are bishops and you, wives, try to be a source of inspiration for your husbands,” Elder Gong said. “Stay close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. May your conversations be a source of inspiration for your husbands.”

Following the broadcast, the leaders stayed in the chapel to shake the hand and thank each of the bishops and their wives who attended in person.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong greeted many of Mexico’s pioneers in the Church following a devotional called “Pioneers and Temples” held in Puebla, Mexico.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings

Elder and Sister Gong also visited Puebla, where they and other leaders spoke at a devotional titled “Pioneers and Temples.” Pioneer families from Puebla participated in the devotional. These Saints and their ancestors have helped build the Church in this area of Mexico for more than 100 years.

In Mexico City, devotionals were held for 1,100 temple workers from the Mexico City temple and for Church employees, as well as a virtual meeting with mission presidents from all missions in Mexico. In Monterrey, in devotionals for young single adults and women of the Church, Elder Gong emphasized the importance of temples and asked everyone to visualize the blessings the Lord has prepared for His children in Mexico.

The Rising Generation and Mission Preparation

Nearly 900 youth attended a cultural celebration at the Camarones Stake Center in Mexico City. The program included traditional Mexican dancing from the folklore ballet “Guijarro Lake Forest,” along with singing and a mariachi band.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong applauds participants in a cultural celebration for youth at the Camarones Stake Center in Mexico City. © 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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At the end of the program Elder Gong, Elder Teixeira, Elder Montoya, Elder Ochoa and Elder Douglas and their wives shared with the rising generation their testimonies of the Savior. Elder Gong specifically encouraged the young people to make getting an education and serving missions priorities in their lives.

Sisters Devotional

In Monterrey, Elder Gong spoke at a devotional for women. Approximately 3,000 women filled the Auditorio Pabellón M venue to listen to the Apostle.

Following a devotional with more than 3,000 women in Monterrey, Mexico, Elder Sean Douglas and his wife Ann, Elder Jose A. Teixeira and his wife Filomena, Elder Gerrit W. Gong and his wife Susan, Elder Daniel Cordova and his wife Teresa Cordova, Elder Hugo Montoya and his wife Carmen, and Elder Adrián Ochoa and his wife Nancy, pose on the stage.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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“I feel your love for the Savior, and the Savior’s love for you,” Elder Gong told the women.

He asked the women what blessings they see currently in their lives and what blessings they see coming. Most of the answers dealt with family and temples.

“When we say we’re going to the temple, we’re actually going to be closer to the Lord. The temple is the place, but the purpose is the Lord,” Elder Gong said.

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