The Saturday morning session of he 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began with a solemn assembly to sustain our new prophet, President Russell M. Nelson and our new First Presidency.
In addition, two new apostles were called to filled the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares were sustained as the newest apostles. Elder Gong is the Church’s first Asian American apostle and Elder Soares is its first Latin American apostle.
Elder Gong’s previous service includes serving in the Asia Area Presidency from 2011 to 2015. Headquartered in Hong Kong, he concluded his time there as the Area President. He and his wife Susan Lindsay are the parents of four children.
The following is an excerpt from his first address as an ordained apostle, given in the Sunday Afternoon session of Conference:
Dear brothers and sisters, we belong to each other. We can be knit together in unity and in love, in all things and in all places, as the Lord Jesus Christ invites to each of us, wherever we are, whatever our circumstances, please ‘come and see.’
This day I humbly pledge all the energies and faculties of my soul, whatever they may be or whatever they may become, to my Savior, to my dear Susan and our family, to my Brethren, and to each of you my beloved brothers and sisters.
Everything worthy and eternal is centered in the living reality of God our loving Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ and His Atonement, witnessed by the Holy Ghost.
This is Easter Sunday. I reverently witness and solemnly testify of the living Christ — He who died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven. He is Alpha and Omega — with us in the beginning, He is with us to the end.
Elder Soares, a native of Brazil, a nation with 1.3 million members of the Church, has previously served in the Presidency of the Seventy. He also served as a counselor in the Africa Southeast Area and President of the Brazil Area. He and his wife Rosana Fernandes are the parents of three children and three grandchildren.
The following is excerpted from Elder Soares’ address, his first as an apostle, given in the Sunday Afternoon session of General Conference:
Isn’t it a blessing to have prophets, seers, and revelators on earth in these days in which we live, who seek to know the will of the Lord and follow it? It is comforting to know that we are not alone in the world, despite the challenges we face in life. Having prophets is a sign of God’s love for His children. They make known the promises and the true nature of God and of Jesus Christ to Their people. I have learned that through my own personal experiences.
Brothers and sisters, from the bottom of my heart I testify that the prophets speak by the power of the Holy Spirit. They testify of Christ and His divine mission on earth. They represent the mind and heart of the Lord and are called to represent Him and teach us what we must do to return to live in the presence of God and His Son Jesus Christ. We are blessed as we exercise our faith and follow their teachings. By following them, our lives are happier and less complicated, our difficulties and problems are easier to bear, and we create a spiritual armor around us that will protect us from the attacks of the enemy in our day.
On this Easter day, I solemnly testify that Jesus Christ is risen. He lives and He directs this Church on earth through His prophets, seers, and revelators. I testify that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world and that through Him we can be saved and exalted in the presence of our dear God. I love Him, I adore Him. I want to follow Him and do His will and become more like Him.
If you missed any part of General Conference, you can listen to it by clicking here.