“Leaders Visit, Inspire European Saints,” Ensign, Sept. 2009, 76–77
“Reach out to others,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, told thousands of members of the Church gathered in meetinghouses across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland as part of a satellite broadcast on June 6 and 7.
President Uchtdorf and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with other Church leaders, visited the United Kingdom to conclude a trip that took them to congregations throughout Ukraine, Russia, and England.
For many British Saints, this was a unique opportunity to hear a member of the First Presidency and an Apostle in person.
President Uchtdorf was accompanied by his wife, Harriet; Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy; Cheryl C. Lant, Primary general president; and Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency.
Speaking to a packed Hyde Park Chapel in the heart of London, President Uchtdorf encouraged British and Irish members to “reach out to everyone in kindness and in love,” adding, “that is the power of the gospel—practicing what we preach.”
He acknowledged the pioneering foundation laid by Church members from Britain and Ireland and paid tribute to the members’ continued dedication. “You are a tremendous and a marvelous people,” he said.
President Uchtdorf identified problems facing society and urged Church members to be spiritually resilient. “At a time [when] economic or moral challenges in the world like to take their toll in individual lives, we have to remember that God is with us and we do not have to fear. We do not have the spirit of fear, but of hope and of power,” he said.
Elder Andersen said members must lose their lives in the service of others. “It’s not about us,” he cautioned. “Reach out to others; be as Christ is.”
Church members had eagerly awaited the visits of the Apostles. Marquitta Leavitt, from London’s Hyde Park stake, said, “What I get out of it is motivation—there’s just something very inspiring about being in the presence of General Authorities and especially a member of the First Presidency.”
There are currently 182,000 Church members in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Thousands of members in Ukraine, Russia, and throughout Eastern Europe traveled to welcome President Uchtdorf and Elder Andersen during their travels through Europe. During their stay in Eastern Europe, the two leaders spoke to several large congregations in Kyiv, Ukraine; and Samara, Yekaterinburg, and Moscow, Russia.
“I was so excited I canceled everything so I could be here,” said Anna Chigir, a Church member from Ukraine. “[They are] Apostles and servants of God, and we don’t see Apostles in our country very often.”
Members came with high expectations, hoping to be strengthened and encouraged, and they were not disappointed. Pavel and Tatyana Kulakovy drove with their children eight hours from Ufa, Russia, to hear President Uchtdorf and Elder Andersen. “I knew this would be a great opportunity, and I was determined I wouldn’t miss out,” Brother Kulakovy said.
In recent years the Church has grown significantly in Eastern Europe. In the last few decades the Church has grown from just a few members to nearly 20,000 in Russia and some 10,000 in Ukraine.