News Release

Elder Uchtdorf in Switzerland, Germany, and Czechia – moments of reflection and outreach

“The Lord is so good to us. He leads us on our way, if we allow it,” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf concluded as he reflected upon his travels to Europe in May and June of 2024. The apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged audiences in Switzerland, Germany, and Czechia to put their trust in Jesus Christ.

This year marks several anniversaries in the lives of Elder Uchtdorf and his wife Harriet. His service as a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began 30 years ago. Twenty years ago he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Just as apostles like Paul, Peter, James, and John watched over the Church and testified of Jesus Christ in New Testament times, apostles fill the highest governing bodies of restored Church of Jesus Christ today.

Harriet Uchtdorf was baptised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 70 years ago, Elder Uchtdorf received baptism five years earlier.

As they traveled through Europe together, it was not flashlights or headlines they had in mind, but moments of remembering God’s grace, reuniting with friends, and reaching out to those who were discouraged or yearned for guidance.

“Do not fear. Trust Heavenly Father. He has something for you to do”, Elder Uchtdorf summarised the foremost message he shared with believers and friends in three European countries. The hand of the Lord can be seen in small things, he explained.

While he attended a stake conference in Dresden, a choir performed the hymn “Master, the Tempest is Raging”. As the singing ended, thunder and lightning occurred outside. While these natural phenomena may not have been sent from God at that very moment, Elder Uchtdorf explained that it is up to individuals how to let things around them prompt them to connect to the divine.

The Uchtdorfs’ travels began on Pentecost weekend in Zürich, which echoed the focus on carefully listening to the Holy Ghost.

Volunteers serving full-time as missionaries gathered in meetinghouses and other venues in Zürich, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, and Ostrava to be instructed by Elder Uchtdorf. He called for willingness to be led by the Holy Ghost and invite others to come to Church.

The meeting with missionaries in Ostrava in today’s Czech Republic brought back early childhood memories to Elder Uchtdorf, as he was born there. He remarked that missionaries serving there and in other parts of Europe bless others with their radiance and exuberance.

On the way from Berlin to Ostrava, the Uchtdorfs drove through Poland and visited the Auschwitz Birkenau Memorial and Museum, the location of a former concentration and extermination camp. With regards to his sobering experience, Elder Uchtdorf emphasized how important it was to learn from history and not to repeat old mistakes.

Elder Uchtdorf also spoke at Church services in Bonstetten and Zwickau. It was in Zwickau in the German state of Saxony where his family was first introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Throughout his ministry tour, local congregations had set up service projects to put faith into practice. While in Zürich, Elder Uchtdorf met with a city councillor to present a symbolic voucher for 1,000 hours of volunteer work by the local congregation. He also visited the Catholic charity “Incontro” to announce the donation of 300 hygiene kits to benefit the needy.

If it is difficult to recognise God’s presence in everyday life, sometimes it helps to look at it from a 7,000-metres view, to see the big picture. The former pilot and airline executive would know.

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