Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke Tuesday about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is handling its missionaries in Japan and its humanitarian efforts since the major earthquake last Friday.
Missionaries in the Sendai and Tokyo South missions will be moved to other areas in Japan, away from nuclear power plants that have the potential to cause more damage, while missionaries in the MTC will be either held or sent to other areas where they can be productive.
Elder Holland said the missionaries will be determined to stay and help the people they love.
“They will be loathe to leave and will be very anxious to get back,” he said.
Elder David F. Evans, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, spoke alongside Elder Holland at the press conference. Elder Evans, who served as mission president of the Japan-Nagoya mission and as president of the Asia North Area, said how incredible it is that all the missionaries were found safe and unharmed from the earthquake.
“Many of them have been wearing the same clothes on their backs,” Elder Evans said. “The remarkable thing is that the system worked.”
Area seventies, mission presidents and bishops in Japan have already been hard at work to help victims in any way they can.
“I cannot say enough about leaders who have worked through the day and through the night,” Elder Holland said. “We’ve got a great team already at work over there.”
Communication is still a problem in Japan, but both Elder Holland and Elder Evans said it was a miracle the Church’s system worked.
“We’ve got bishops that lost their own homes and are out there looking for members to help,” Elder Holland said.
According to a news release from the Church, approximately 95 percent of Church members have been contacted and no deaths have been confirmed. The news release also said some Church buildings have been damaged, but the temple in Tokyo has no significant damage.
The public was directed to the newsroom on the LDS website for updates on humanitarian efforts. Both Elder Evans and Elder Holland said the best way to help is to pray for those who have been affected.
“These are solemn times and sober times, for the whole world,” Elder Holland said. “We need to renew and re-offer our prayers with urgency and gratitude.”
The First Presidency also released a statement of concern toward disaster victims.
“We express our love and support to the people of Japan as they deal with this terrible tragedy. Our prayers, and the prayers of millions of Latter-day Saints across the world, are with them as they begin to recover from this disaster,” the news release read.
Isn't that incredible? All the Japanese missionaries are all safe and accounted for. That brings me so much comfort to know that they are being watched over and that they (including my brother) are going to be able to help the people of Japan when they need it most.