SALT LAKE CITY-- A Latter-day Saint Apostle from Germany is visiting Russia. The trip marks a historic moment for the faith in a part of the world where the Church is experiencing considerable growth.
Greeting leaders of a 200-year-old Baptist Church in Russia, President Dieter Uchtdorf and Elder Neil Andersen visited the place where, 50 years ago, then Apostle Ezra Taft Benson delivered a speech on Christianity.
In this historic city, President Uchtdorf said the Russian people have endured and much has changed. "When you look at what they have brought about and what our members are representing as honest, hardworking, faithful, loving, kind citizens of that country, what a blessing that is for any nation," he said.
Elder Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said he appreciated "the vibrancy of a young Church and how they were just anxious to become what they should become, and that we have the foundation of something very great here."
They met with several large congregations during their week-long tour. One woman described President Uchtdorf's talk as powerful.
"We respect and defend others," President Uchtdorf told the people. "But at the same time, we declare that we claim the same right and privilege for us."
Russian Latter-day Saint Tatiana Gabriol said the talk gave her "something new that [she] will learn and be able to apply in [her] life, something that will inspire [her]."
The Church leaders visited with thousands of Latter-day Saints and hundreds of missionaries in Kiev, Ukraine; Samara, Yekaterinburg; and Moscow, Russia.