News Release

Women Leaders of the Church Visit the Caribbean

President Susan H. Porter, General Primary President, and Sister Kristin M. Yee, General Relief Society Counselor, visited the Caribbean Area from February 9 through February 19, 2024, with a message of love and unity.

President Susan H. Porter, General Primary President, and Sister Kristin M. Yee, General Relief Society Counselor, visited the Caribbean Area from February 9 through February 19, 2024, with a message of love and unity.

This was their first visit to the Caribbean Area that began on February 10th and 11th in Trinidad and Tobago, with a member’s Devotional for the Port of Spain Ward in the Trinidad Port of Spain Stake. Sisters Porter and Yee were accompanied by Elder Moises Villanueva, a General Authority Seventy, Sister Leticia Villanueva, and Elder Gamiette, an Area Seventy, with his wife Sister Delphine Gamiette.

In her remarks, Sister Porter explained that Heavenly Father inspires His children to positively impact the lives of others. She encouraged the saints to face their burdens with an outward focus, reminding them that despite challenges, Heavenly Father is always willing to answer prayers. Sister Porter also taught that, even if circumstances don't change, the Lord will provide impressions that lead to personal transformation.

Sister Yee continued a similar theme, reminding the saints that there are times when the Lord may ask them to do difficult or unfamiliar things. Trust in Him, she urged, as He will prepare the way. The principal message was clear: despite challenges, happiness is a choice, and true happiness comes from trusting in the Lord.

Left to right: Sakira Bakharia (Pres. Of Barbados Association Of Muslim Ladies) and Ferozah Kothiwala (Sec.Of Barbados Association Of Muslim Ladies), Lisa Estwick, of the Bahai Faith, Sister Kristin Yee, General Relief Society Counselor of the Church, Kathie Daniel, Communications Director of Barbados, Elder Larry Rogers, Rhonda Farley, Barbados Ministry Of Labour and Margaret Haynes, Barbados District first counselor of the Relief Society from the Church.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The next stop on the tour was Barbados on February 12 - 13. On Monday, February 12, the group visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Saint Michael Barbados. Representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' humanitarian effort, they helped celebrate the acquisition of needed equipment donated by the Church for the hospital’s use. Ms. Gay Howell, Philanthropic Officer for the Hospital, Mr. Anthony Harris, Director of Medical Services, and Mr. Shane Sealy, Communications Specialist, were on hand to acknowledge the donation. Also present were Mr. Henderson Pinder, the Philanthropy Officer, and several members of the medical staff.

In the evening, they gathered with a small group of new members for a family home evening at Christ Church Chapel. President Porter and Sister Yee joined the families with hands-on examples of effectively using the Church’s family home evening program, which fosters a sense of belonging, joy, and gospel knowledge within the family unit.

The next morning, the sisters met with a group of community and interfaith leaders to discuss matters of faith and service. There was a sense of sisterhood as the representatives of Barbados and the different faiths joined in conversations about how they could work together to improve the community.

Later in the day, the leaders provided a unique opportunity for local women from the Church to participate in a discussion on the needs of women and family concerns in the Barbados community.

The final meeting of the evening focused on training by President Porter and Sister Yee, with an emphasis on the importance of ministering to the needs of fellow sisters and fostering love within Barbadian families.

From left to right: Sister Susan Porter, General Relief Society President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Fyen Linger, Sister Holman, and Sister Kristin Yee, General Relief Society Counselor of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The sisters continued to Surinam on the 14th, accompanied by Elder Valerie Cordon, First Counsellor of the Caribbean Area Presidency, his wife Glenda Zelmira Zea Díaz and Elder Claude Gamiette, Area Seventy, and his wife Delphine.

The first evening a Member’s Devotional was held. The overall message was the importance of having faith in Jesus Christ and God the Father and keeping his commandments to feel His eternal peace and happiness in our lives.

The next morning, February 15th, the delegation first visited the Koewarasan Public School (one of the three primary schools being refurbished as a Church humanitarian project in Suriname) where they met with the headmaster, Shifania Sahista Maulabaks, and the District Commissioner, Narain Bholanath, representing the Government of Suriname. Mr. Bholanath expressed his gratitude for all the church does to alleviate the needs of the downtrodden throughout the country.

After the formal presentation, the delegation was led on a tour of the school to see what refurbishments were going to be accomplished as well as projects that had been completed with humanitarian funding provided by the Church. This included a very important walking/biking bridge in the community as well as a new gate and painted wall of a nearby school that had been restored. The school Director spoke on behalf of the government and expressed its gratitude for the work saying this was an act of love and that it was much appreciated by the community.

Later in the afternoon, Sisters Porter and Yee, accompanied by Elders Cordon and Gamiette, met with the Minister of Social Affairs, Ines Pane. During this meeting, they were informed of the needs of the Surinamese government. They also met with the Minister of the Interior, represented by Mr. Bronto Soemopawiro, with the Gender Bureau, and Mrs. Eline Graanoogst, Chairman of the National Woman Movement. President Porter and Sister Yee shared the Church’s vision of the role of women in the church and society.  The delegation also shared thoughts on how the Church can assist the movement with its efforts in Suriname.

Primary General President Susan H. Porter and Sister Kristin M. Yee, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency receive welcome gifts of traditional dresses from the Dominican Republic© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The final stop on the week-long tour was the Dominican Republic. The busy schedule continued with a training meeting for the presidencies of the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the latter via YouTube, in which about 2,000 sisters were connected. The sisters who participated in the training were grateful for the messages shared and expressed how these would help them in their assignments. Relief Society President of La Yuca Ward, Duarte Stake, Sister Montero, said: "From this session, I learned that we must minister as the Savior did”. The meeting was presided over by Elder Eduardo Gavarret, of the Seventy General Authority, accompanied by local leaders from the Caribbean Area.

The last activity of the day was a Devotional for women eight years and older, from the San Geronimo, Duarte, Central, Los Alcarrizos, Las Caobas, Independencia, Santo Domingo, and Villa Mella Stakes.  The coordinating councils of Santo Domingo Este Oeste, Santiago, and Puerto Rico were also able to participate in this historic meeting.

During the devotional, President Susan H. Porter of the General Presidency invited the sisters to "Come to Christ," and taught them that, "When we come to the Savior, there are angels who will come and help us."

Second Counselor of the Relief Society General Presidency, Kristin M. Yee, began her remarks by saying, "When sisters come together, something wonderful happens; we need each other and we are united in Jesus Christ, and every time we gather in His name, blessings come”. She reminded those present that everything they do in their callings is to bless families.

She encouraged the sisters to be vigilant. "Take care of yourselves, take care of your families, and the Lord will bless you in your callings." Referencing Isaiah 49: 14-26, Sister Yee taught that the Lord is aware of each of His children and that, "If you are ever lonely, know that there is a God who knows about you and knows you."

Elder Eduardo Gavarret, of the Seventy General Authority, invited the sisters to apply what they had heard. He also thanked them for the time, sacrifices, and work they did. He urged them to study “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”.

The following day, a devotional for children, parents, and Primary leaders was held. Luis Almanzar, a ten-year-old from the Ozama Stake, conducted the devotional for children ages 8 to 11 years old, their parents, and leaders of the Primary in the Dominican Republic. Using an agenda provided by Sisters Susan H. Porter and Kristin M. Yee, Primary children also offered the prayers, directed the music, and gave a talk, making the meeting an unforgettable experience for all attendees. Latter-day Saints from the Ozama, Oriental, El Almirante, Las Américas, and Los Restauradores stakes attended this meeting.

Using music, images, audiovisuals, and messages from the Church's prophet, President Porter, shared teaching moments with the children on how to listen carefully to the Holy Spirit and its impressions to have guidance in their lives. In addition, she invited all present to stand and sing a verse of the hymn “I am a Child of God”. The children then shared their feelings of what they felt when they sang the song. The children said they felt peace, happiness, and love. Sister Porter explained these feelings come from the Holy Spirit.

Sister Martinez, Oriental Stake Primary President, felt this devotional was a memorable experience, saying, "It taught me that we must always be genuine and authentic in sharing our sense of the gospel with others; in other words, we must never stop being children.”

The meeting was presided over by Elder Moises Villanueva, of the Seventy General Authority, who, in his closing remarks of the devotional, encouraged those present to coordinate with their Priesthood leaders so that the children could participate more in the sacrament meeting.

Sister Kristin M. Yee shares a moment with the children of the Mirador and Gazcue Chalpels © 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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On Sunday, February 18th, Sister Porter and Yee, had the opportunity to visit the chapels of the Mirador and Gazcue sectors, respectively, to share and meet the members. While visiting the members of the Mirador Chapel, President Porter related an experience of her family, who 80 years ago, had to migrate to the Dominican Republic from Germany because of the persecution against the Jews. She expressed her love for the country since it was the one that sheltered and saved her family. She also expressed her feelings about prayer, the Holy Spirit, and sharing God's love with those in need. In the same way, Sister Yee, referred to the members of Gazcue, about God's love for his children and the importance of remaining in the path of the covenants.

Later that day, Sister Porter and Sister Yee joined President Eduardo Gavarret, Caribbean Area President, and his wife and Elder Jean-Baptiste, Area Seventy, in a nationwide devotional aired throughout Haiti.   The special gathering, aired via Zoom, was held for the Relief Society sisters who resided in The Republic of Haiti.  “You may feel alone, but you are part of a great sisterhood”, shared Sister Porter.  “You are not forgotten.”  Sister Yee said, “We are not present with you, but in our hearts, we are present with you, and we pray for you.”  A spirit of encouragement permeated throughout the meeting as each speaker spoke words of reassurance and love.  Elder Jean-Baptiste taught that the “Lord knows you and is mindful of you.” Elder Gavarret said that the time will come when, through their faith and that of other Christians, we can visit together in person again.

The ten-day, four-country tour ended with a Devotional for all Area Employees and Senior Missionaries on Monday, February 19th in the Caribbean Area Administrative Offices.  After addressing those in the audience and others via Zoom, President Porter and Sister Yee invited the priesthood to leave and the sisters met with the women of the audience for a face-to-face question-and-answer time, allowing the ladies to address issues that were the most prominent in their lives.  The General Auxiliary Leaders shared with the women the personal concerns they also had in their lives and gave the audience hope that they could find strength from the same source as Sister Porter and Yee, from our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The parting message to the Caribbean Area was to allow the Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Spirit to minister to us.  Set aside time to pray, meditate, and listen to the Spirit.  Be refreshed every day with living water.

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