Members of the Young Women and Primary general presidencies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited and met with members in six countries of the Caribbean in May during an official 10-day visit. They were welcomed by Elder Jose L. Alonso of the Seventy, who is also the first counselor in the Caribbean Area Presidency and Elder Hubermann Bien-Aimé, Area Seventy.
Sister Christina B. Franco, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, and sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, May 18, 2018. Other countries visited on their tour were: Guadeloupe, Barbados, Saint Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico.
“I know that sometimes it is hard to defend our beliefs, to stand up for what we believe when everyone else is not doing the same in the world. But we must stand up for what we believe, even if we stand alone”, encouraged and invited Sister Franco to a group of young men and women during a devotional in Haiti.
Haiti, home to more than 23,000 members of the Church, is the second country in the area to have a temple, which is now under construction. Both sisters had an opportunity to visit the temple site.
“You are going to have a new temple, and I know that probably most of the youth have not had the opportunity to attend a temple yet. But that blessing is coming quickly, and you will have the opportunity to minister in the temple for your ancestors”, said Sister Craven to the youth in Port-au Prince.
After three days of meetings, trainings, and visits in Haiti, they traveled to Guadeloupe and Barbados, where they held leadership trainings, a young single adult Home Evening, and a visit to an early morning seminary class, comprised of 10 students in Abymes, Guadeloupe.
During one of the gatherings with the members, sister Craven stated: “The distractions lead us away from our responsibility to minister to each other. So, we always have to be careful about the things that we get involved in. The things that we do can distract us and often the things that we forget to do can be a distraction from our spirituality.”
They arrived in Saint Vincent the morning of May 23 for a leadership training meeting with Primary, Young Women, Relief Society and Priesthood leaders of this small island, home to 683 members of the Church.
The next stop was in Trinidad and Tobago, where both sisters comforted families in their homes and also trained the leaders of that country.
Devrani Barrios, a Church member from Trinidad and Tobago remarked: “It was good, I enjoyed it. Their sense of humor and their interactions with the kids was amazing. The prayer they left with my family is unforgettable.”
Taramatie Kotiah, another sister from Trinidad manifested: “I truly enjoyed the home visits. The sisters were very friendly with us all, as if we knew each other. They have such a welcoming spirit. They taught me what ministering truly is.”
The last destination of this international tour was Puerto Rico, where there are more than 23,000 members. The interactions with the two general auxiliary leaders was a comforting time for members on the island.
“I liked very much that they set the example for us. They taught us how we have to start ministering now, because to minister is teaching the Savior’s way”, said Elizabeth Vasquez from Puerto Rico.
“To see that these leaders took their time to come here and give us these messages, brings me a lot of joy because it shows how much they love each of us, even though they don’t necessarily know our names,” said Erika Ruiz, a young woman from Puerto Rico.
This trip occurs after the last General Conference, where President Russell M. Nelson announced the new approach called Ministering, a personalized approach to caring for the temporal and spiritual needs of members. It focuses on flexibility in addressing the needs and circumstances of individuals throughout the world.
“Ministering is about love and being a friend and inviting others to participate, and is about helping each other. But it also helps us as well become more like our Savior when we love as He does. And so it’s impacted the tour greatly because that’s what we’re talking about,” stated Sister Craven, concluding the visit in the Caribbean.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.