News Release

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder Paul V. Johnson speak to Latter-day Saints in Asia

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the Asia Area were visited by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Presidency of the Seventy through several virtual meetings from November 13 through 20.

“It is wonderful to see you all and we love you,” Elder Uchtdorf said. Although the pandemic has hindered them from traveling to Asia and meeting Church members in person, it did not stop them from expressing their love and encouragement as they spoke to the youth (ages 11-18), parents, missionaries and leaders. Both elders’ specific counsel to each group of these targeted audiences aimed to provide them with direction and strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ.


The Asia Area PresidencyElder David P. Homer, Elder Peter F. Meurs and Elder Benjamin M. Z. Tai – also joined the ministry tour. They lead one of the Church’s largest areas covering 22 countries and regions, with headquarters based in Hong Kong.

Youth Outreach

Elder Uchtdorf is well-known for his professional background as a pilot, prior to becoming an apostle. His career has taken him far and wide, including traveling to many of the Asian countries he virtually visited this time.


“When I flew over Vietnam or India or Hong Kong or over Thailand, I cherished the higher view to see the beauty of the country,” he described the aerial view as he spoke. “I realized that there were challenges in the place, but the higher view gave me the feelings that there’s more to it than the daily challenges and problems. There’s a greater cause, a greater purpose.”

Elder Uchtdorf grew up in East Germany where the Church was very small, was a refugee twice in his life, not knowing if he could ever become a pilot. Speaking to the Asian youth who have their own challenges, he emphasized the importance of choosing wisely.

“When you always keep in mind the plan of salvation…this big picture,” he continued, “it will make it easier to make the right decisions in detail.”

“It is [your] choices…that show what [you] truly are, far more than [your] abilities,” he quoted from the book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


Sabrina Lim, a young woman from Malaysia, spoke about her experience of sharing her faith that is lesser known to her peers. You-Ting Shen, a young man from Taiwan, talked about how he struggled to know if God really loves His children. They both shared how they overcame their spiritual hurdles through prayers and scriptures studies.

Elder Tai advised the youth that as they attempt to figure out what to do, where to go and how to achieve things in life, they don’t need to make those decisions alone.

He said, “If you are close to the Holy Ghost and let God direct you, He will nudge you in the right direction.”

He said at times we may be asked to do hard things and we can find a lot of good legitimate reasons to say no. “But if we change the answer to ‘Yes, Lord, I can do certain things … help me,’ a lot of things all of a sudden become possible.”


Elder Johnson affirmed that God answers prayers, “Whatever the challenges your generation faces, you will be able to handle because you are the children of God. You have access to His guidance and His help.”

Elder Uchtdorf pulled a “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet and his temple recommend from his pocket, encouraging young men and young women to live the values taught in the pamphlet and always strive to be worthy in holding a temple recommend, whether there is a temple in their country or not.


“Have courage,” he repeatedly asked the youth to exercise this virtue, from sharing the gospel to being committed to stay “on God’s side” through keeping the commandments. 

Missionary Training

Similar counsel of choosing to trust in God was also given to the full-time missionaries in a training meeting. 

“The outcome of your mission will depend on the choices you make,” Elder Meurs said. “Choose, like Nephi, to act in faith, to trust in the Lord, to seek His guidance to find the pure in heart and help them progress and develop faith.”

Elder Homer encouraged the missionaries to look beyond the numbers, develop the ability to speak with people and show genuine interest in their welfare.


Elder Uchtdorf echoed that by teaching the principles of “Love, Share and Invite.” He gave the missionaries suggestions on how they could better connect with people through common interests such as temples, family history and prayers.

“There, you build this bridge by using their culture and bringing the gospel teachings into their lives in a wonderful, simple way,” he said. 


Leadership Conference

Not only is “Love, Share and Invite” a great way to connect with people outside of the Church, but the leaders said it also applies in strengthening members of the Church.

The Area Presidency is inviting all members to return to Church for fellowship and to renew their covenants.


“What is in store for those we invite to come and attend sacrament meeting?” Elder Johnson asked when speaking to the local leaders. 

He said there are short-term and long-term blessings that come – in the short-term a feeling of fellowship, the opportunity to partake of the sacrament and renew covenants and sense the spirit in their lives more strongly; long-term blessings, he said, are the promises that are associated with the baptismal, sacrament and temple covenants.

“That's really eventually why we want to love these people and share and invite them back to sacrament meeting, so that they can be on this covenant path and find the joy of receiving these promised blessings,” he said.

This ministry tour was the Area’s largest-ever virtual visit originating from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. It included Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.


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