Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Saturday and to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday, to visit with church members who had been affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria a year ago.
Just days after Puerto Rico’s governor raised the official death toll from Hurricane Maria in the U.S. territory from 64 to 2,975, Nelson spoke at a devotional held at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot, delivering his remarks to attendees in Spanish.
“You have not given up. We are proud of you,” Nelson said, according to a news release from mormonnewsroom.org. “You faithful Saints have lost much, but through it all, you have fostered your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The leader of the Utah-based faith also praised other members for their relief efforts in the aftermath of the disaster.
“Hundreds came to Puerto Rico to help. They distributed relief supplies, helped with community cleanup, and home repair,” Nelson said. "We continue to be mindful of you.”
He then encouraged those in the area to draw upon their faith in times of turmoil.
“I plead with you to keep your families united and strong in the faith,” Nelson said. “You can know for yourself that better days are ahead for the [Latter-day] Saints of Puerto Rico.”
The day before, he met with faithful in the Dominican Republic, telling members to “keep the commandments of God,” and reiterating the need to “purify our language, elevate our thoughts and live our lives in obedience to God’s commandments.”
On Saturday, he also met with church missionaries from the Santo Domingo East and West Missions and the Dominican Republic Missionary Training Center. His message from a chapel there was broadcast to all missionaries in the Caribbean area.
Nelson was joined on the visits by Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Ruth; Walter F. González of the Seventy and his wife, Zulma; and José L. Alonso of the Seventy and his wife, Rebeca.