“Around the Church,” Liahona, Oct. 2013, 11
On Monday, April 15, 2013, more than 300 Church members gathered on Zaisan Hill in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Church in that country. A 50-member choir sang, and the group listened to a recording of Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) as he dedicated Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel in 1993.
Elder Tai Kwok Yuen, former member of the Asia Area Presidency who accompanied Elder Maxwell to Mongolia in 1993, observed how “the Lord’s hands have been moving unceasingly in this part of His vineyard.”
A variety of activities throughout the week marked the anniversary. A mission reunion drew 200 returned missionaries. More than 1,000 Mongolians have served as full-time missionaries—almost 1 out of every 10 members in Mongolia. Baptismal services were held throughout Mongolia on Friday evening; 24 people were baptized that day. Mary N. Cook, recently released from the Young Women general presidency, spoke at a Young Women devotional, and a family history open house featured a video with instructions for the new Family Tree project. A cultural extravaganza featured Mongolia’s rich culture and the talents of many Church members.
On May 1, 2013, Church members in Haiti participated in a massive, countrywide tree-planting project. Legions of saplings were planted on the first day of the project, and many more will follow. When the project is complete, some 400,000 new trees will be growing in Haiti, including lemon, orange, coconut, papaya, and oak.
The Church purchased the trees as part of its ongoing support of Haiti’s earthquake recovery. The project also provided the members with a service project to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Church in this island nation. Three decades ago President Thomas S. Monson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, visited Haiti and dedicated the land for the preaching of the restored gospel.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was present in Haiti at the time of the anniversary celebration and presided over the unveiling of a commemorative plaque that marks the beginnings of the Church in Haiti.
In May 2013 the Church, through its humanitarian arm Latter-day Saint Charities, donated more than one million pounds of food to Feeding America, the largest nonprofit hunger-relief organization in the United States. The donation included canned goods such as fruits, vegetables, and beans, which will be distributed to families in need by various community pantries and shelters across the United States.
Bob Aiken, president and chief executive officer of Feeding America, said the donation would provide some 625,000 meals.