Sunday, June 7, 2009

First Stake Created in Mongolia

This weekend (June 6th and 7th) was the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar District conference. The presiding authorities at the district conference were Elder Hallstrom of the Asia Area presidency and a member of the 1st Quorum of 70 and Elder Jones (from Taiwan) of the 8th Quorum of Seventy.

The conference began with a priesthood leadership meeting at 4 pm which Dad attended, followed by an adult session at 6 pm. Elder Hallstrom spoke about priesthood keys. Talks emphasized how sometimes people are called, and sometimes they’re released. He asked the members to pray so that on Sunday they would be prepared for the changes, feel the Spirit and know the changes are Heavenly Father’s will, and have a spirit of unity.

One theme of Saturday and Sunday conference talks was the importance of families. Families are the basic unit of the church. The church supports families and enables the organization of families throughout the generations. Sister Andersen remarked having the TV on does not build loving families.

Sunday there were many changes as part of the organization of the first Mongolian stake. First they divided the previous Mongolian Ulaanbaatar District into the Mongolian Ulaanbaatar East District and the Mongolian Ulaanbaatar West Stake with six branches in the district and six wards in the stake.

The previous district presidency was released. I’m not sure who else was released because I missed it in the translation. Then the new district presidency was sustained by those who will be in the new district.

The previous president of the Mongolian Ulaanbaatar District, President Odgerel, is now the president of the Mongolian Ulaanbaatar West Stake. They gave the names of his new counselors and the stake high council and the names of the bishops for the new wards. They all were presented to become high priests since there were none before the organization of the stake today.

Elder Hallstrom spoke about a stake patriarch being calling which they have anxiously awaited. He told the people they needed to be patient since the new stake president will need to submit a recommendation to the Quorum of the Twelve.

He added that even after a stake patriarch is called they will still need to have patience. It will take many, many months to provide patriarchal blessings to all the members in the country of Mongolia who desire a blessing.

Elder Hallstrom emphasized all are alike unto the Lord, both those in the stake and those in the district. The members need to build up the church so the district can also become a stake in time.

Again Elder Hallstrom explained to the members the differences with having a stake president. Instead of the mission president, the stake president will interview for temple recommends, set apart missionaries, administer Church discipline for members of the stake. He is the presiding high priest of the stake and holds the priesthood keys.

Several references were made to focusing on the ordinances of the gospel and the covenants we have made in connection with the ordinances. As we focus on ordianances, we will grow closer and closer to God. We need to spend our entire lives keeping our covenants.

One of the outstanding features of both the Saturday evening and Sunday morning sessions of the conference was the choir music. The singing was beautiful. The director of the choir is a woman who is a professional choir director. The choir sang before and after the sessions as well as performing musical numbers during the meetings. On Sunday morning a young girl played a cello along with the choir and congregational musical numbers.