LDS leader Henry B. Eyring visited with government officials in the Caribbean on Friday and toured islands battered by Hurricane Irma a week before.
Eyring, first counselor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ governing First Presidency, told members of the church’s congregation in St. Thomas that God “is close by,” according to a news release from the church.
He and other Mormon leaders stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before flying to St. Thomas in the afternoon. The devastation in St. Thomas was more severe than in San Juan, the release said.
The leaders visited with members recovering from the storm that damaged businesses, uprooted trees, ripped off roofs, took out power, caused nearly $11 billion in damage and killed more than 40 people in the Caribbean, the release said. None of the people who died was LDS.
“The rebuilding in some of these places may take years,” Eyring said in the release. “When you lose infrastructure, it takes a long time to put it back. I don’t know what part we’ll play in that, but we ought to be as helpful as we can to the [government] agencies that are responsible. We can’t do it [all], but we can help wherever we can.”
A church-owned meetinghouse in St. Thomas and another rented building in St. Martin were damaged, the release said. A third building, which is rented by the church on the neighboring island of Tortola, was a total loss.
Eyring will continue his travels through the weekend “to offer love and support” to people at sites in Florida hit hard by the hurricane, the release said.