In a country rich in biblical history, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is meeting with Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith in Amman, Jordan, the first stop of his weeklong ministry to the Middle East and North Africa. This is Elder Bednar’s first visit to Jordan.
“We have traveled halfway around the world to be with you today,” said Elder Bednar as he provided guidance and encouragement to around 100 members and friends at a devotional held at the Amman Branch on Friday morning, October 22, 2021. It’s a diverse, multicultural branch that includes Jordanians and members from several other Middle Eastern countries, along with families of employees who work at various government embassies in Jordan.
During the devotional, Elder Bednar encouraged attendees to study the Book of Mormon and learn how it applies to our lives today. “The Book of Mormon is not a book of history. The Book of Mormon is a book about the future.”
He continued, “It describes episodes in the lives of people thousands of years ago, but the writers of the record and especially the compilers of the record were inspired by the Lord to include the things that we would need for the world in which we live today.”
This emphasis resonated with Nash’at Haddad, the elders quorum president in the branch who said, “The main thing that touched my heart is the Book of Mormon is not a history book, it is a future book.” He continued, “It supports my belief in it. It’s important then when I look for answers to my questions, I can find it in the Book of Mormon.”
Elder Bednar taught from the Book of Mormon by asking a rhetorical question, “How many times have you heard the scriptural verse ‘the whole world will be in commotion’? We’re there,” he said. “The counterpart to that unhappy news is what Nephi saw about our day.” He quoted 1 Nephi 14:14 from the Book of Mormon, “The power of the Lamb of God … descended upon the saints of the church … and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon the faith of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” Elder Bednar emphatically then said, “This verse is applicable to us in Amman, Jordan. This little, small gathering of people in Jordan, he’s talking about us.”
Elder Bednar continued, “You can look around the world and say, oh things are getting hard. And you shouldn’t be afraid of that. Because you’re not alone, and if you are one of the covenant people of the Lord, you will be armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory. … Then, in the midst of all the turmoil, you will have peace. You will have hope. You will more fully understand the great purpose that you have living on the earth at this time. The Savior is the source of solace and peace through the covenants and ordinances of His gospel.”
Sister Susan Bednar is accompanying her husband on his travels to the region to strengthen the Latter-day Saints and meet with government and interfaith leaders.
“I feel the hand of the Lord in my life when I have difficulties and trials,” said the apostle’s wife during her remarks at the devotional.
“I’m grateful for the wonderful help that we receive when things don’t go right,” Sister Bednar said. “I feel the hand the Lord blessing me and strengthening me and helping me with strength beyond my own.”
Prior to Elder Bednar’s visit, the most recent apostle to travel to Jordan was Elder Dallin H. Oaks in March 2017. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland also visited in November 2015.
Although Church membership is small in Jordan, Latter-day Saints seek to bless the lives of others in the country, especially those in need. Latter-day Saint Charities collaborates with local nongovernmental organizations to provide emergency aid and encourage self-reliance.
“In the last few years, we have worked with wonderful organizations to provide winter coats, flood relief, medical equipment and refugee aid,” says Latter-day Saint Charities representative Susan Zwahlen. “We have also given goats and beehives to people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. They can use the milk and the honey for themselves and also sell it to pay for housing and to send their children to school. These bees and goats are helping empower the recipients to rebuild their lives and be self-reliant.”