Apostle Ministry

Elder Uchtdorf Ministers for a Week in Southeast Asia

The Apostle builds bridges of understanding and legacies for the future

The Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and home to hundreds of thousands of Muslims. It’s also where Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with Dr. Nasaruddin Umar, the grand imam of the mosque, and Dr. Alwi Shihab, the Indonesian president’s special envoy to the Middle East and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The meeting was part of Elder Uchtdorf’s seven-day ministry trip to Southeast Asia.

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Building Bridges through Understanding

These leaders were seeking ways to build bridges of understanding between Muslims and members of the Church.

Elder Uchtdorf said, “I have a special feeling for Indonesia. It’s the largest population of Muslim people in the world, and they welcome us. We respect their religion, their tradition and their way of life.”

Dr. Shihab has had a relationship with the Church for over 25 years and is working on an educational program to enlighten the minds of students to respect all religions.

He said, “We are all from the same source, from God the Almighty — Christians, Jews and Muslims. And according to the Quran we need to find commonalities between us for us to cooperate positively and to live together harmoniously.”

Elder Uchtdorf next traveled to Thailand, where he made a stop at the Wat Phra Kaew, or Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, to emphasize the importance of understanding and respecting the religious history and faith of others.

Building Bridges through Service

On a visit to the Good Shepherd Sisters in Bangkok, Elder Uchtdorf and Sister Louise became fast friends. At 88 years old, Sister Louise has dedicated her entire life to providing shelter and educational training for women at risk.

Elder Uchtdorf presented her with a humanitarian donation from the Church to build a teaching kitchen, which will provide vocational training for the women in her care. These cooking skills could make the difference between a life of poverty and one of prosperity.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Louise tour the Bangkok, Thailand, facilities of the Good Shepherd Sisters, which provide educational opportunities to underprivileged women, on Monday, October 24, 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Sister Louise said, “It is very, very important for all religions to support each other, and I am so glad that this is happening today. It’s a means of uniting together. We are all one. And we are all one because all these people are interested in other human beings and the betterment of others and lifting them up. We are all God’s people.”

Building Leadership and Testimonies

While in Thailand, Elder Uchtdorf met with priesthood leaders from 12 territories throughout the area in person and via Zoom.

There are over 23,000 members of the Church in Thailand, also known as “Land of the Smiles.” Members in the many congregations in Bangkok gathered to hear Elder Uchtdorf in person or via broadcast. Young adults also met for a special youth devotional.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visits with a priesthood leader in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday, October 22, 2022, during his ministry visit to Indonesia and Thailand.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Elder Uchtdorf encouraged devotional attendees to focus on what they could do in their current circumstances and not on what they couldn’t do. He said, “You are the message. You are the testimony. You are the strength. And your choices will make all the difference.”

James Chaoworatrakhul said Elder Uchtdorf’s words helped him make an important decision.

“Some of us aren’t sure if we should serve a mission,” Chaoworatrakhul said. “But now I’m sure that I want to serve a mission and share all the things I’ve learned from him.”

Building Legacies at For the Strength of Youth Conference

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets youth at the For the Strength of Youth conference in Thailand on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, during his ministry visit to Southeast Asia.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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For the first time, a For the Strength of Youth conference was held in Thailand. More than 300 enthusiastic youth came from all over the country to participate. Elder Uchtdorf made a surprise visit and passed out the new “For the Strength of Youth” guide. He told the youth that God will help them make correct choices.

“You are the future of Thailand. You are the future of the goodness of Thailand,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “Take on your responsibility to build up your own legacy of goodness and faithfulness by putting your trust in the Lord.”

Conference attendee Papawarin Thanadechwaranon said, “Normally I feel like I am just an ordinary person in this world, but after what Elder Uchtdorf said, I feel more important.”

Throughout his visit with members and youth, Elder Uchtdorf stressed the importance of preparing for the opening of the Bangkok Thailand Temple next year. The temple is the first in Thailand.

The Apostle said, “We came here to lift up the members, but they lifted us up because of their goodness and their kindness. Their dedication to the Lord will be a strong foundation for the future. They are building a legacy for the future.”

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