Just days after the Vietnamese government gave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the right to conduct religious activities in the country, church President Russell M. Nelson spoke to a small gathering of church members at the Hanoi JW Marriott Hotel Ballroom.
The event was part of his Asia Global Ministry Tour for 2019. The seven-day tour included visits to Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia.
As in many other global tours, Nelson met with government dignitaries, and in the case of Cambodia, unveiled the design of the new Phnom Phen Temple.
Church statistics do not indicate the number of members there are in Vietnam, but a great deal of time was spent in the country as part of Nelson’s Global Ministry Tour.
During his time in Vietnam, Nelson, along with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and their wives, spoke in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Nelson said that he met in Salt Lake City this past summer with a delegation headed by Vietnam’s Committee for Religious Affairs, according to a church press release.
“We extended to them a very warm welcome. They offered an invitation to come visit. So here we are,” Nelson said. “I express to the leaders of the government and to all the leaders of Vietnam our heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity for our members of the Church to worship here in dignity.”
At a reception prior to the Sunday evening devotional in Hanoi, Nelson and Christofferson met Vu Chien Thang, chairman of the government Committee for Religious Affairs, as well as Hanoi mayor Nguyen Duc Chung and other prominent government leaders, according to a church press release.
On Monday, before traveling to Ho Chi Minh City, the church leaders met again with Chung. The church leaders gave the mayor a small statue of a child’s first steps from mother to father to symbolize the faith’s attention to the family, according to church information.
In his sermons in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the church’s prophet spoke of the eternal nature of the family and God’s personal love for them, according to the church.
“We recognize the importance of families,” Nelson said, as reported by the church. “We rejoice in the revealed knowledge that families can be perpetuated and be here forever. I know that God loves you, He knows you, and He will bless you with every blessing He has in store for his faithful children. We are created in His image.”
On Tuesday night, Nelson greeted hundreds of church members at the Premier Centre Sen Sok in Phnom Penh. As a surprise, he unveiled an artist’s rendering of the Phnom Penh Temple.
“Isn’t that beautiful?” Nelson said as the image of the coming temple displayed on a large screen in the auditorium. “We don’t know when the temple will be completed. But I do know this, difficult as it is to build a temple, it is even more difficult to build a people ready for the temple. Preparation of the temple includes members of your family. Your preparation of yourself will bless the members of your family.”
There are 14,725 members of the church in Cambodia with two stakes and 29 congregations. There is one mission and four districts and eight family history centers. The church was officially recognized on March 4, 1994.
Nelson traveled to Singapore where there are 3,449 members of the church in one stake with 10 congregations. There is one mission and one family history center.
A devotional Wednesday evening was held at the Bukit Timah Singapore stake center, according to a church press release.
“Now is not only a time for us to look back, it is the time to look forward with excitement to the future,” Nelson said, during his visit to the Republic of Singapore. “What a glorious future is in store for you.”
“This country has come a long way since it became an independent republic in 1965,” Nelson said. “Only four years later, on April 14, 1969, an apostle of the Lord, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, dedicated Singapore for the preaching of the gospel. Now we are celebrating 50 years since that sacred event.”
Nelson said he prays for the day when Singapore will have a temple.
Earlier this year, members of the Jamiyah Singapore organization and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined together for a historic event called IFTAR, to break the fast together during the month of Ramadan, according to the press release.
Most leaders who attended the community IFTAR event in May accepted the invitation to meet with the prophet including representatives of the Catholic and Methodist faith, Jamiyah Singapore and the Sikh community.
On Thursday, the last leg of the tour, Nelson addressed Latter-day Saints gathered in Jakarta for a devotional at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. The devotional was broadcast to all congregations in the country.
During his time in Jakarta, he also met with Indonesia Vice President Ma’ruf Amin and Zannuba Ariffah Chafsoh Rahman ‘Yenny’ Wahid, an Islamic activist and Indonesian politician.
Indonesia has 7,477 member with two stakes and 24 congregations. There is one mission and six family history centers. The church was officially recognized in August 1970.