PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia is young. The median age is 25, the same number of years The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been operating in the country.
That faith’s leader, President Russell M. Nelson, has been an apostle a decade longer than that, but while he has visited more than 130 nations he had never reached Cambodia.
When he arrived here on Tuesday, he found a growing church in the middle of a Buddhist nation, then sent a jolt through a meeting of almost 3,000 church members by unveiling an artist’s rendering of the planned Phnom Penh Cambodia Temple and announcing its location.
He also received a warm welcome from Cambodian government officials who told him they are grateful for the church’s aid, which has touched the lives of nearly a third of the people in a country of 16.5 million.
After three days in Vietnam to start his four-nation Southeast Asia Ministry, President Nelson landed in Phnom Penh on Tuesday morning and made an afternoon call on Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, who is responsible for humanitarian and social work.
He characterized the meeting as wonderful and called the deputy prime minister “a wonderful, extraordinary woman.”
“She was warm and gracious, accepting,” President Nelson said. “She understood what the church has been doing to help. She was grateful for the members of the church for their strong families, for the help that we’ve given with wheelchairs, medical assistance and other projects.”