From London to Jerusalem to Nairobi, the new LDS Church president prepares to lead whirlwind global tour

President Russell M. Nelson leaves with his wife Wendy Nelson following a news conference announcing his new leadership in the wake of the death of President Thomas S. Monson Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson leaves April 10 on an 11-day global trip to meet with Mormon missions and congregations in eight European, African, Middle Eastern and Asian cities.

Nelson, elevated to be the faith’s “prophet, seer and revelator” in January after the death of President Thomas S. Monson, will be accompanied by his wife, Wendy, as well as Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had announced planning for the tour last month, but released Nelson’s itinerary Friday.

The group’s first stop will be April 12 in London — a ticketed event that will be broadcast to Mormon meetinghouses throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The LDS Church counts 186,000 members in the U.K. and 4,000 more in Ireland.

On April 14, Nelson and his entourage will arrive in Jerusalem, with tours of the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center and Holy Land historical sites planned.

Two days later, the LDS leaders will be in Nairobi, Kenya, where they will meet with local church officials and members. That meeting will be broadcast to all LDS congregations in Kenya, where 13,000 are members of the faith.

On April 17, Nelson and company will be in Harare, Zimbabwe. A devotional will be broadcast to all congregations in Zimbabwe, where nearly 30,000 Mormons reside.

From Africa, the group next flies to India, for meetings on April 19 in Bengaluru. The LDS Church has 13,000 members in India.

On April 20, Mormon leaders will arrive in Bangkok to meet with members from Thailand. Specific details for that event were not yet available. There are more than 21,000 Latter-day Saints in Thailand.

The next day, the Nelsons and Hollands are scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong. The LDS Church’s Hong Kong Mission Headquarters was established in 1949; there are now 25,000 members in the Chinese city, served by a temple completed in 1996.

The group concludes its globetrotting on April 22, stopping in Honolulu for a meeting at Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Laie.

Mormon demographer Matt Martinich found the church leaders’ itinerary “interesting.”

“Most of the locations he is visiting have temples in operation or temples that [have been] announced,” he says, adding that he would not be surprised if Nelson also ends up conducting groundbreaking ceremonies for new temples planned in Nairobi, Harare and Bangkok.

Martinich, a project manager for cumorah.com, also believes there could be a temple construction announcement for India, “since there are now four stakes and three districts in India, three districts in Pakistan and a district in Sri Lanka.”

While characterizing the visit to Jerusalem as mostly symbolic, Martinich suggested the Hong Kong stop could provide contact and training with members from the People’s Republic of China.

“Granted, no foreigners can associate with PRC members within mainland China, but they may try to organize a special meeting with PRC members in Hong Kong, where there are no such restrictions,” he explained.