News Release

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's Historic Visit to Cambodia

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's Historic Visit to Cambodia

“God is our Father. Without Him we are lost,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, during a Cambodian Member Meeting on Aug. 23, 2015.

Held in a hall at Diamond Island in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, more than 2,000 members and friends gathered to hear Elder Holland for the first time in their country, and over three years since an apostle of the church had visited Cambodia. This was the largest gathering of saints for Cambodia in its twenty year history in Cambodia.

Elder Holland blew everyone a welcome kiss, as he entered the hall to a reverent, standing, humbled gathering who had earlier arrived, by numerous bicycles, motorbikes, tuk-tuks, buses and vehicles to hear an Apostle at the event.

In his remarks, Elder Holland stated four reasons he would join the church if he were hearing about the gospel for the first time, or was looking for a church or religion in their lives.  “The whole world would join if they knew what I know.”  “There are many reasons,” he said, “but I’ll focus mainly on four.” 

“The first reason. God appeared on earth, in our time. He called prophets again, like in the old times. He gives authoritative Priesthood to the church. Think of a world that does not know that. In Amos of the Old Testament,” Elder Holland reminded the saints,  “people would run from the North and South, the East and West to search for the word of the Lord and would not find it. There would be famine and thirst. The condition of the world without God and the Priesthood is hungry, thirsty, and cold. 

 Elder Holland proceeded to tell an experience when he was a young boy, camping with his family, where he became lost. He strayed away from camp, and didn’t realize he was so far away. He became hungry, thirsty, afraid and alone. The longer he looked for his camp, the more frightened he became.  Then he said, “my father found me. He brought me safely back to my family.”

“God is our father. Without him we are lost. We can look in any direction; North, South, East or West, and we cannot find peace.  But we have a Heavenly Father. He will find us. Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today.  God has provided permanent safety.” Elder Holland continued, “ I don’t want to be lost anymore. I need my father’s arms.”

“The Second reason is the Book of Mormon. I would walk, climb, swim, run, overturn any stone, move the forest if I heard of a church that had seen Jesus Christ and had a book of his teachings. The Book of Mormon has 532 pages teaching me more about Jesus Christ.”

 “In Jerusalem there is a museum displaying 10-12 pages of ancient manuscript; The Dead Sea Scrolls.  There are pages of the manuscript with 2 or 3 references to Jesus.  People come from all over the world to see it. What if you didn’t have to go to Jerusalem?  What if young missionaries brought you the whole book about Jesus Christ?”

Elder Holland continued with his third reason, he would join the church if he were looking for religion. “I can have my family forever,” he exclaimed!  He then asked everyone in the congregation to raise their hand if they had children with them. “Would we fight if someone wanted to take our children? What if death comes? Do we just forget? Pretend it never happened?”

“I’m not willing to say,’till death do you part.’ What if a church told you could have them forever? I do not know of any other church on earth that can tell me I can. We can live again together through blessings of the temple forever,” he strongly exclaimed.

 The last point Elder Holland spoke to was regarding what youth in the church have available to them. “This Church has the Aaronic Priesthood, and the Young Women’s program.  Also the Primary, where the children memorize the articles of Faith. Some young children know more than most of the world knows. We need all the help we can get. I want help raising my children.”

 Elder Holland testified God would take us safely home. “I invite all here to accept the gift. God is giving us a gift. Please accept it. Don’t miss your chance.”

Elder Holland concluded with a blessing on all who attended.

A Young Single Adult choir, who had performed prior to Elder Holland speaking, closed with ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

As Elder Holland left this historic meeting in Cambodia, the congregation joined together in singing, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again."

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Asia Area President, and Elder Wisit Khanakham, Area Seventy accompanied Elder Holland.  They both spoke along with Sister Gong, Mission President James L. Christensen, and Sister Christensen, Cambodian Stakes and District Presidents, and member testimonies.

Elder Holland began his visit in Cambodia, arriving Saturday, August 22, and conducted a Priesthood Leadership meeting held at the Phnom Penh North Stake Center.

He expressed love to the Priesthood leaders. “You are the future, you are the miracle of the Church.  President Monson knows I’m here, he sent me here.  Because of your faith, your testimonies, we are thrilled by what you are becoming.”  Elder Holland explained how the church continues to grow.  “Whatever happens in the world, [the church] is going to keep growing. Troubles may come, of all kinds, and the church will prevail.”  He continued by admonishing the Priesthood leaders to center their efforts on building faith in their wards and branches.  “Build faith and testimonies, staying focused on the Lord, and the Spiritual blessings of the Church.” He concluded in saying, “ create spiritual experiences, for your members and for yourselves.”

Following the Priesthood Meeting, Elder Holland with a small group, including Elder and Sister Gong, President and Sister Christensen, and Elder Khanakham, toured The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh.

Elder Holland held a Missionary Meeting Sunday afternoon attended by the missionaries serving in Cambodia.  He told the missionaries “to love the work, don’t miss a minute of it.” He said to pray harder, to repent.  “We may lose sheep, let’s not lose shepherds.” He asked, why is missionary work hard?  Salvation is not a cheap experience.  He admonished the missionaries to provide a spiritual experience at the investigators level.  He concluded by saying, “Do it for God, the Savior of the world”

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