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LDS President Russell M. Nelson spends time with Sikh leaders, issues National Day of Prayer message

By Genelle Pugmire - | May 5, 2022

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

President Dallin H. Oaks, of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visits with Sikh leaders visiting Salt Lake City on Friday, April 29, 2022.

President Russell M. Nelson continued a rigorous schedule — including his recent visits with international guests and sharing messages of prayer and faith during the National Day of Prayer — as two prominent Sikh leaders visited the global headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

Surender Singh Kandhari and Bubbles Kandhari met with the Church’s First Presidency on April 29. The Kandharis described their meeting with President Nelson, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring as “warm and hospitable.”

Also attending the meeting was Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Jeffrey H. Singer of the Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency.

Bubbles Kandhari said the experience left her “speechless.”

“There are no words to describe how much love is there between all of you and how much love you have given us,” she said. “It was amazing and we are really so happy and honored to be here.”

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

President Russell M. Nelson visits with Sikh leaders on Friday, April 29, 2022.

“We have known Surender and Bubbles Kandhari for several years and have long admired their generous service to those in need, and their significant interfaith outreach,” said Elder Singer. “We’re grateful the First Presidency was able to visit with them and discuss the many things we share in common.”

The Kandharis also visited Welfare Square to learn about the church’s efforts to help those in need.

“What I noticed was the commitment of people and the dedication of people,” Surender Kandhari said. “We’re really proud to be associated with the Church and its Latter-day Saint Charities. We have a joint program in Dubai, where we serve the blue-collar people, the needy people. I think this is just the beginning. There is a lot more work to do.”

“It was beyond any imagination,” said Bubbles Kandhari. “I couldn’t even think the extent to which you all go, the quality and the volunteers who are helping. It is not a small thing. It’s a huge effort and a huge organization.”

Surender and Bubbles Kandhari serve as chairman and vice-chairperson, respectively, of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, Dubai, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

The Gurudwara is the first Sikh temple in the United Arab Emirates and the largest in the Gulf region, hosting 50,000 devotees. The Gurudwara offers the daily Sikh tradition of langar, a free vegetarian meal, to all who enter. Since its opening in 2012, the Gurudwara in Dubai has served free meals to over eight million visitors.

The church recently announced it had the intention of building a temple in Dubai for its members in several surrounding countries.

The visit to Salt Lake City included a lunch with members of Utah’s Sikh community and a visit to the Sikh Temple of Utah. The Sikh representatives said they were honored to meet with the Kandharis.

“I know the service they are doing and what they are doing for the community there in Dubai,” said JB Singh, the chairman of the Sikh temple of Utah. “We feel proud that our Sikh people are coming and also enjoy when we are all together as members of the interfaith community.”

Before their stop in Utah, the Kandharis also visited the Church’s newly-renovated Washington D.C. Temple.

“It was an amazing experience,” Surender Kandhari said of their visit to the temple. “It shows the commitment of you to each other and the feeling of family.”

“The Celestial Room was surreal,” Bubbles Kandhari said. “It just connected immediately to sit down there quietly, without any sound. You don’t want to get up from there. You just want to be there forever.”

National Day of Prayer

In honor of this Thursday’s National Day of Prayer, President Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared a message about how prayer leads people to bless the lives of others.

“On this National Day of Prayer, I have been pondering the evolving meaning in our society of the phrase ‘thoughts and prayers.’ For many, this is still a sincere expression of condolence and concern. For others, it is viewed as a perceived lack of action in the face of tragedy,” Nelson said.

“I have a firm belief that praying for those in need is pleasing to God; in fact, He commands us to turn to Him and to pray for others! However, it is my own personal experience that when I ask God in prayer for direction on what I can do to help minister, lift, love, and support those in need, He answers these prayers with specific and simple things I can actually do to bless one of His children,” he added. “I invite you to consider how your thoughts and prayers can be a catalyst for God to inspire and direct you toward acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity. Imagine how much good you could do in the world — and in your own family, school, and workplace. As we seek to be His healing and helping hands, we surely will exalt the Lord.”

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