Elder David A. Bednar, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is ministering to Latter-day Saints in Mexico this week. He has been to Mexico many times during his 19 years of service as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Bednar, accompanied by his wife, Susan, began his nine-day ministry in Mexico City — one of the oldest and largest cities in the Americas — on Friday, November 3, 2023.
“It feels like we are coming home,” Elder Bednar told Latter-day Saints during a nationwide broadcast on Sunday evening, November 5. The broadcast originated in a meetinghouse next to the Mexico City Mexico Temple.
“Mexico has been richly blessed by the construction and the announcement of so many houses of the Lord,” he said. “As of the last general conference, there are 335 temples [worldwide] announced, in design, under construction or operating. And more houses of the Lord will come.”
The primary purpose of temples is for faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ to participate in sacred covenants and ordinances that unite families forever.
Earlier on Sunday, the Bednars traveled to Toluca to meet with members at a special stake conference, a meeting for multiple congregations in the area.
Elder Bednar extended a warm welcome to visitors, taught about the name of the Church of Jesus Christ and shared the First Vision, which marked the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“This is the greatest season in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “The objective of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to transform each one of us into a man or woman of Christ.”
President Russell M. Nelson announced the construction of a new temple in Toluca during the October 2022 general conference. The Toluca Temple will be one of four new houses of the Lord in the Mexico City area; the other locations are Cuernavaca, Pachuca and Tula. The Cancún Mexico Temple, announced last month, will be the 24th house of the Lord in the country, including temples that are announced or under construction. This is the largest number of temples outside of Utah, with 28.
Saints in Acapulco
Elder Bednar addressed Latter-day Saints in Acapulco in an unscheduled virtual broadcast on Sunday as they recover from Hurricane Otis, which hit the southern coast of Mexico on October 25, causing extensive damage in the southern state of Guerrero.
“What a choice experience it is for Susan and me to gather with all of you in the midst of your hardship as a result of this hurricane,” he said.
Elder Bednar continued, “The tragedy of having all of your physical possessions damaged, ruined, or gone — that will take a long time to repair. But the spiritual strength with which you are blessed because of the Savior’s Atonement can endure with you forever. It will grow as you press forward with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through these challenges and difficulties.”
Otis was the most powerful hurricane to make landfall in Mexico in the past 50 years. The Church is working on relief efforts in the affected areas.
“We wanted to be able to gather with you to express our love, our support,” added Elder Bednar.
“The leaders of the Church in Salt Lake are working closely with your Area Presidency in Mexico City to provide the kind of relief that is so necessary, but the most important relief is spiritual, not temporal,” he said.
Ministering in Mexico
On Saturday, the Apostle participated in virtual meetings with missionaries, Church leaders and youth in Culiacán. The meetings originated in the Mexico Area Office.
In addition to meetings with Latter-day Saints and Church leaders, outreach visits are planned later this week with interfaith and government leaders in Hidalgo and at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Mexico City, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. An open house is scheduled on Thursday at the MTC for guests.
Elder Bednar will wrap up his visit to Mexico in Cuidad Juárez, where he will meet with missionaries on Friday, November 10, and special meetings with many congregations are planned for local Church leaders and Latter-day Saints on Saturday and Sunday before he returns to Salt Lake City.