1999
President Hinckley Addresses Largest-Ever International Gathering

“President Hinckley Addresses Largest-Ever International Gathering,” Ensign, July 1999, 74

President Hinckley Addresses Largest-Ever International Gathering

President Gordon B. Hinckley recently spoke in Santiago, Chile, at what is thought to be the Church’s largest-ever gathering of international members. In between dedicatory sessions for the new Bogotá Colombia Temple, he flew to Santiago and addressed about 57,500 members—more than 10 percent of Chile’s total members—on 26 April.

“I will always carry with me love in my heart for the great and good and wonderful and humble people I have known in Chile, in this great city of Santiago and down south into Concepción, all the way down to where the wind blows so hard, and all the way north across the great desert lands between here and Antofagasta and on up to Arica,” President Hinckley said.

Sharing a memory of an early visit to Chile, President Hinckley related: “Brother Rodolfo Acevedo has reminded me of when I came here in 1969. I flew over the mountains from Mendoza, Argentina, and the mountains were dry. There had been a terrible drought in Chile. There had been no rainfall for a very long time, and I was here to dedicate a chapel in La Cisterna. During the prayer of dedication I prayed and pleaded with the Lord for moisture.” President Hinckley quoted the words of Robert Burton, who was serving as a mission president in Chile in 1969: “The day after Elder Hinckley’s visit, the rain began to fall in southern Chile. Gradually the rain clouds moved north, bringing welcome moisture to the entire country.” President Hinckley then continued: “That was not my doing. That was the work of God our Eternal Father in behalf of the people of this land. I believe that it was an answer to the faith and the prayers of the Latter-day Saints, then few in number, whose very presence and whose very faith came to bless the entire nation.”

Speaking about temples, President Hinckley said, “Now I look at all of you this morning, brothers and sisters and children, beautiful little children, beautiful boys and girls. Are they yours? Are they sealed to you? Will they be yours forever, even when the hand of death strikes? Will they be yours through time and all eternity? My brothers and sisters, you who have not been to the house of God, I plead with you this morning—with all the power that I have—to begin today to repent of the past, to get your lives in order so that you may go there and bind to you those whom you love most and who are most dear to you.”

[photos] Above: More than 57,000 people filled a stadium in Santiago, Chile, for regional conference. Right: President Hinckley waves a white handkerchief in farewell. (Photos courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo.)

[photo] Despite intermittent rain, more than 10 percent of Chile’s total members attended the regional conference.