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For week ended April 09, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 05Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

How The Church Began In Countries Around The World
BYU NewsNet 4Apr00 D3
By Lindsay Palmer: NewsNet Staff Writer

PROVO, UTAH -- In his final Devotional speech before a pending retirement, BYU's Student Life Vice President Alton L. Wade reviewed the way that the LDS Church began in various countries around the world. Wade, who has worked for the Church Educational System for 31 years, is retiring to serve as a mission president in the Washington D.C. South Mission.

Wade told students that many LDS efforts, made when the Church was small and had just entered an area, led to many joining the Church and influenced millions. Wade said that BYU-Hawaii's Polynesian Cultural Center, is an example. When the Church College of Hawaii (now BYU-Hawaii) was dedicated by President David O. McKay in 1955, he said that the college would become a missionary tool influencing millions. The Polynesian Cultural Center has since grown to become the No. 1 paid tourist attraction in Hawaii.

But Wade said the story doesn't end there. "There is another side of this wonderful story which may, in time, eclipse even the importance of the large number of people from around the world who attend the PCC on a daily basis." He says that the Center has developed an internship program with the Chinese government, bringing more than 135 Chinese to Hawaii to study at the center. Some were baptized while in Hawaii, even though there aren't LDS Church congregations in China. "They also understand that in the Lord's due time, they will have an impact and prominent role to play in spreading the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ," he said.

Wade says that the Center also opened the doors in other countries. He introduced Enkhtuvshin Togtokh, a former intern in the program who is now a professor at Mongolian State University and who is recognized by the Mongolian government as the official head of the LDS Church in that country. "These people will all be players when China is opened to the gospel," Wade said.

Wade also told about how the Church has progressed in India, listing a series of events before a ban was lifted, that led to establishing 21 branches in the Hyderabad region when the ban was finally lifted. He then introduced Lavanya Paul, an Indian member of the LDS Church, who worked on the translation of the temple ordinances into Hindi.

Wade also spoke about the establishment of the Church in Kiribati, a Pacific islands nation. He said that the founding of the Church there can be traced to students from Kiribati who attended the LDS Church's Liahona High School in Tonga. The students eventually joined the LDS Church and later returned to Kiribati as missionaries.


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