This article originally appeared HERE and was written by Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
After visiting the Church’s Europe Area in November, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reported that missionary, temple, and family history work is moving forward.
The majority of the trip, November 14–23, was focused in Portugal and Spain—where Elder Cook presided over stake conferences in the Porto Portugal North Stake and the Lléida Spain Stake, met with members and missionaries, and conducted leadership training meetings.
“The members in both countries are spiritually mature, with strong leaders and a great desire to serve the Savior and live His commandments,” said Elder Cook.
Elder Cook, who was accompanied on the trip by his wife, Sister Mary Cook, praised the “wonderful service” of the Area Presidency: Elder José A. Teixeira, Elder Patrick Kearon, and Elder Timothy J. Dyches, all of the Seventy.
After meeting with missionaries in the Portugal Lisbon Mission in Oeiras and Porto, Portugal, Elder Cook said missionary work in Portugal is strong and progressing. He noted that missionaries in Portugal will be blessed to baptize more than 1,000 people this year. “What wonderful success we are having in missionary work,” he said.
The stake conference sessions on November 15-16 were attended by “an extraordinarily large number of investigators” who “seemed to be touched by the spirit of the conference and were ready to join the Church and to assist with leadership and other assignments,” he reported.
Elder Cook told the members in Portugal that they need to be preparing for the new temple. It is anticipated that construction will commence in the near future.
President Thomas S. Monson announced on October 2, 2010, that a temple would be constructed in Lisbon. Latter-day Saints in Portugal—where the Church currently has six stakes and four districts, attend the Madrid Spain Temple—which is located 390 miles from Lisbon.
Elder Cook was impressed by the strong tradition of members attending the Madrid Spain Temple. “The Portugal youth in every stake make at least one trip a year to the temple in Madrid and stay several days,” he said.
Elder Cook was equally impressed with the strength of the Church in Barcelona, Spain. The missionary work and the commitment to family history and temple work are extraordinary. He was able to meet with the Barcelona, Spain, missionaries and then an overflow congregation of faithful members in the stake conference on November 22-23.
Elder Cook also praised the family history work Latter-day Saints in the Europe Area are doing.
“We know that blessings come when you not only go to the temple but also take the names of your ancestors.” He said 100 percent of the work the youth do in the temple is generated by the family history efforts of Church members in Europe.
It is very important for the young people of the Church to be involved in family history work. “The blessings are huge when they are taking family names to the temple.”
During the stake conferences in the Lléida Spain Stake and the Porto Portugal North Stake, Elder Cook emphasized the need for members to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. “We focused on religious observance in the home and the importance of family councils. We encouraged members to be a light and an example to their neighbors,” he said. “In addition, we spoke about the need to make temple covenants their objective and goal.”
Elder Cook was particularly impressed with the quality of local leadership in the area. During the trip, Elder Cook worked with Elder Adonay S. Obando, an Area Seventy who was born in Costa Rica and works as an executive for Bayer Cropscience, and Elder Joaquim J. Moreira, an Area Seventy from Portugal and former president of the Brazil São Paulo East Mission, who is a regional coordinator for the Church Educational System.
“The Church’s Seventies worldwide are just incredible,” Elder Cook said. “Everywhere we go we find people of great capacity—spiritually humble but capable of accomplishing all that is asked of them.”
In addition to member and missionary meetings in Spain and Portugal, Elder Cook had missionary, temple, and family history assignments. He met with seven stake presidents and the temple presidency in Frankfurt, Germany, with 280 missionaries in the Paris France Mission, and with 450 missionaries in the combined London and London South Missions.
Elder Cook reported that the mission presidents and leaders in Europe ”are incredible“ and it was “touching to speak to and shake hands with approximately 1,200 missionaries in five different missions.”