Ravel Call, Deseret News
Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Front, and Elder Ulisses Soares attend a Solemn Meeting in the Salt Lake City Conference Center on Saturday, March 31
SALT LAKE CITY – Members of the global community, aware of the ever-expanding diversity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, assisted Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares in Saturday morning's Guidance of the Faith.
Elder Gong becomes the first Asian American LDS apostle, Elder Soares the first South American apostle. As members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Latter-day Saints, the men will have a growing church membership of over 16 million people speaking more than 180 different languages.
Elder Gong, former President of the Region of Asia and member of the Presidency of the Seventy, has served as a general authority since 2010. Elder Soares, former President of the Brazil Region and also a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, has served as a public authority since 2005.
The Historic Unprecedented Calling A man of Asian descent and a South American into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has brought Latter-day Saints out of their respective communities to cheer.
"I was surprisingly emotional when I heard the name of Elder Gong as a new member of the College of the Twelve," said Sang Kim, a Yuba City, California-born person born in South Korea.
"It was a complete shock, I had always paid much attention to Elder Gong's discussions, in part because I could identify with him in so many ways, and here we are – an apostle of God who looks like me It's just incredible for me. "
Guilherme Berg is from Santa Catarina, Brazil, and is a fifth-generation saint. It was an unforgettable moment to raise his hand to support his compatriot Elder Soares.
"It is very exciting to hear that a Brazilian was called to serve as an apostle," said Berg. "I do not know him personally, but I know that he is a great man and will be an excellent servant of the Lord."
Brazil is one of the great success stories of the Church. A Brazilian ministry in the Twelve will help ensure future success in the South American nation, he added.
"Elder Soares will be part of this great work and help the Church in Brazil and worldwide, and I am very proud and excited that someone from my native country represents the church as the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Berg's compatriot Eduardo Galvao Called Elder Soares a "Great, Humble Man," Inspiring Mormon Brazilians Enduring Political and Economic Challenges
"We have a leader who understands our needs and personally blesses the lives of our people," Galvoa said. "Gratitude is the word."
Vietnam-native Dien Nguyen is thrilled to see another LDS Asian take his place among the other apostles.
"It's absolutely great news," said Nguyen, a convert living in Taylorsville, Utah. "It's exciting to see this diversity – and the church's commitment in another part of the world."
But Ngyuen added that he was anxious to support everyone nominated by President Russell M. Nelson to the Twelve. a Rhodes Scholar who worked in senior US State Department and Washington, DC, Center for Strategic and International Studies served for nine years the Assistant to the President for Planning and Assessment at Brigham Young University, before being assisted a General Authority at the age of 56.
Elder Gong's ancestors left southern China in the 19th century to find work in the United States. His mother, Jean, was converted to the LDS church while a teenager lived in Hawaii. Her faith was strengthened when she attended BYU when she stayed with the family of Gerrit de Jong Jr., the first Dean of the Fine Arts College and the name of Elder Gong. His mother attended Stanford University, where she met his father as they both continued their education. Elder Gong was born on Dec. 23, 1953 in Redwood City, California, to this foundation of faith and learning. He married Susan Lindsay in January 1980. They are the parents of four children and three grandchildren.
Elder Soares served as the director of temporary affairs in Brazil for the past ten years prior to his appointment as general author at the age of 46 as stake president and mission president in Portugal
Elder Soares was born on October 2, 1958 in São Paulo, Brazil , He first learned of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when his aunt missionaries sent his house there in 1963.
His parents began branching out with several others upstairs To visit the bakery, an article published in the LDS church news. Even today, Elder Soares recalls the warmth of its members and mingles with the smell of fresh bread at lunch. "I still have nice memories of that time," he said. His parents were baptized after a few months and followed him when he turned 8.
Elder Soares married Rosana Fernandes in October 1982. They are the parents of three children and three grandchildren.