At nearly 94 years old, President Russell M. Nelson says he is “energized” by meeting with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world. His latest trip took him and his wife, Wendy, to three provinces in Central and Eastern Canada, August 17–19, 2018.
“We enjoy meeting the people. They energize us,” President Nelson said. “We learn their names, their culture, their language, and it's broadening. It's ... the desire of the Lord for us to be with people and help them in their challenges as they apply the teachings of the gospel in their problems.”
On the whirlwind three-day trip, the Nelsons were joined by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Kathy, for visits to Winnipeg, Manitoba; Montreal, Quebec; and Hamilton, Ontario.
In Winnipeg, the Nelsons and Andersens visited the site of the future temple, which was announced in 2011.
During that evening’s devotional, President Nelson encouraged the Latter-day Saints to keep the commandments and honor the promises they have made to God. “I know you're excited about the prospects of a temple here in Winnipeg,” he said. “We're thrilled for all who will be blessed by this temple. In some ways it's easier for us to build a temple than it is for you to build a people ready for a temple. As temples are prepared for the people, the people need to prepare for the temple.”
Several community leaders came to hear President Nelson, who expressed gratitude for their support of the temple. City councilor Janice Lukes has responsibility for the area where the temple will be built and says it will be a highlight of the new development. “For me, to come here tonight and to hear [President Nelson] speak and to hear his words, it was very powerful,” Lukes said.
Several Latter-day Saints made significant sacrifices to hear the prophet speak. Adania Reyes who lives eight hours away, wanted to sing in the choir for the devotional so badly that she temporarily moved to Winnipeg for a month so that she could attend rehearsals. “I am really excited. It’s not something you can do every day,” she said. “This is my closest chance to be in the Tabernacle Choir.”
The meeting was broadcast to Church buildings in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and parts of northwestern Ontario and Minnesota.
The next stop on the trip was Montreal, where 4,000 people gathered at the Palais des congrès de Montréal on August 18, 2018.
There, the Nelsons and Andersens were joined by Elder Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy, who serves as the president of the North America Northeast Area, and his wife, Shelley.
Many Latter-day Saints in Montréal, Québec, listened through interpretation to President Nelson.
During his remarks, President Nelson shared 10 important things he has learned during his long life, including that God is our Father, Jesus Christ is our Savior, and joy comes from keeping the commandments of God.
“We may communicate with our Heavenly Father any time, in any place. Just think of how amazing that is,” President Nelson said. “Many of us carry little handheld devices with which we can make phone calls anytime we want. But there's a little fee attached, a purchase price, a service fee, and you have to charge the batteries now and then. To pray to Heavenly Father, we don't have to do any of that. We don't have to charge our batteries or pay a service fee.”
Elder Andersen greeted the audience in French, which he learned as a missionary in France. He shared his witness of President Nelson’s sacred calling and his belief that following Jesus Christ brings perspective and peace to life.
“We realize there will be disappointment. There will be unexpected sadnesses, things we could never expect,” Elder Andersen said. “But amid it all, we retain our hope in Christ, our knowledge that He is there. And one day, as we are faithful and worthy, we will be wrapped in His arms of love.”
The last stop of the trip was in Hamilton, Ontario, where an estimated 8,000 people filled the First Ontario Centre. At the beginning of his remarks, President Nelson asked all of the children in the audience to stand and then shared what he hopes parents and leaders will teach the next generation.
President Nelson also encouraged parents to teach their children the importance of prayer, the sacrament, tithing, the scriptures and being good citizens.
President Nelson’s advice was appreciated by Ray Chang, a native of China who joined the Church two years ago and recently got married. “As a person who is teaching my children in the future, he gave me the guidance of exactly what I need to do, what kind of example I should become,” Chang said.
In September, President Nelson will visit Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and says he has no intention of slowing down. “Really, we want to get to every country, to every person. And that won't be possible, but we'll try,” he said.