News Story

Global Children's Leader Ministers with Love Throughout Southeast Asia

Sister Amy A. Wright of the Primary General Presidency spent nine days ministering in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Whether she was meeting with government leaders, humanitarian organizations, welfare beneficiaries or Church members, she was an emissary of Christlike love to all of God's children, especially His littlest ones.

Late on 24 May, 2024, Sister Amy A. Wright, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, arrived on the island of Singapore. This was her first time setting foot in the region known for its diverse array of beliefs, cultures and people as she and her husband, James, embarked on a nine-day ministry trip across Southeast Asia.

Years before, James had served in Washington D.C. as a young missionary ministering to Southeast Asian communities living there. “We were thrilled, my husband and I,” said Sister Wright about receiving the travel assignment. “It’s a part of the world we haven’t been to before. And so just really, really excited to come and meet the beautiful saints here and to minister to them.” 

With her unique blend of life experiences and strengths, Sister Wright was poised to share God’s love with all she met. From within handmade homes, to the interior of a government office, she brought a warmth to each setting as a representative of the Church and witness of Jesus Christ. And in return, people young and old shared with their open hearts.

Gifting a Treasure

Sister Wright’s first visit on 25 May, 2024 was to the Ba’alwie Mosque. She was warmly introduced to Imam Syed Hassan Mohamed Al-Attas, religious leader in this mosque his father built and an esteemed local champion of interfaith values. They agreed on the importance of imparting such values from one’s youth, and exchanged stories about the universality of mankind.

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Sister Amy A. Wright watches Imam Syed Hassan Mohamed Al-Attas of the Ba'alwie Mosque in Singapore peruse his newly gifted personalized Book of Mormon in Arabic during her visit to the mosque on May 25, 2024 as part of her Southeast Asia ministry trip. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

A special moment took place when Elder Michael Teh of the Church’s Asia Area Presidency, who was escorting the Wrights, presented a personalized copy of the Book of Mormon to the Imam. Sister Wright witnessed the Imam’s delight and disbelief and recounted, “When he was given a copy of the Book of Mormon…with his name on the front and then it was in Arabic, his whole face just lit up. And he started to open it very lovingly and tenderly as if it were a newfound treasure.”

Imam Hassan attested that “this is a big treasure for us” and took it to display in his mosque’s museum of ancient and rare scriptures. As he gave the Wrights a tour of his lovingly curated collection, some dating back 600 years, Sister Wright observed that he reserved a spot for his Arabic Book of Mormon “in a place of honor…side by side with other holy writ”.   

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Sister Amy Wright and her husband James observe an ancient copy of the Bible shown to them by Imam Hassan of the Ba'alwie Mosque in Singapore. He brought them on a tour of his personal museum of interfaith scriptures during Sister Wright's visit to the mosque on May 25, 2024 as part of her Southeast Asia ministry trip. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Engaging in Humanitarian Endeavors

In Kuching, Malaysia, Sister Wright met with two humanitarian organizations the Church has supported and engaged in a service project alongside Church youth and missionaries to donate school and hygiene supplies to schoolchildren in need in conjunction with the local harvest festival Gawai. The latter was in collaboration with the local Malaysian Red Crescent Society.

The Sarawak Cheshire Home provides residential care and other services for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The Church assisted with various building improvements. “What I like is that it didn’t take very long before the approval came. That was one of the best,” home manager Jane Sebastian reflected. “I really appreciate it, so I hope you continue your good relationship. We need people like you.”

At Wishesland Kuching, center manager Agnes Sibat brought Sister Wright around the premises, which serves children and adults with cerebral palsy through multiple services. Agnes recounted how she initially thought the Church’s contact was a scam “because before this, we never had any organization from outside of Malaysia that wants to help Wishesland”. She expressed, “I’m very grateful to the team from the Church for their willingness to help and contribute to our organization.”

On the last day in Kuching on 29 May, 2024, Sister Wright attended the Sekolah Kebangsaan Semenggok elementary school’s donation presentation ceremony where she gave a speech to the assembled children and their lower-income families. “I am here as an ambassador of Jesus Christ,” she stated. “I travelled all the way from the United States of America because I want you to know that you are loved, you are precious.”

She took part in distributing 80 packs of schoolbags and hygiene kits that were put together by Church youth. With time to spare, Singapore Misson President Tai Tolman, who is Maori, and his team of missionaries put together impromptu performances of the famed haka and a Maori welcoming dance respectively. School staff including teachers and the headmaster gamely improvised as well, cheering the audience with a popular Gawai line dance that saw Church missionaries and youth running onstage to join them.   

Building Government Relationships

Upon arriving in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on 31 May, 2024, Sister Wright called on the newly appointed deputy governor, His Excellency Gnov Sengkak, to discuss further humanitarian collaborations. He thanked the Church for its charitable efforts thus far. “You have contributed a lot to Siem Reap,” he told Sister Wright. “We look forward to sharing a more friendly relationship in future.”

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Sister Amy Wright meets with Deputy Governor Gnov Sengkak of the Siem Reap province at his office in Cambodia to discuss potential Church collaborations on May 30, 2024 as part of Sister Wright's Southeast Asia ministry trip. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Deputy Governor Gnov Sengkak of the Siem Reap province poses for a formal photograph after meeting with Sister Amy A. Wright of the Church and their respective entourages at his office in Cambodia. The meeting was organized on May 30, 2024 as part of Sister Wright's Southeast Asia ministry trip. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Wright spoke about the various initiatives the Church was engaged in especially to benefit children, affirming that “the greatest resource in any country is its children”. “It was really a lovely visit,” said Sister Wright. “The purpose, first and foremost, was to begin building… a friendship where we can work together…really, anything that we can do to help lift and build and strengthen the people in this community.”

Into Hearts and Homes

Sister Wright also traveled to the Run Ta Ek community where the Church had helped members, who were required to move from areas around Angkor Wat, with materials to build permanent homes in their new settlement. The recently organized Run Ta Ek branch was a result of the growing faith and missionary work amongst these members.

The first home she ministered in belonged to the branch president who had built the house with his own hands. His family of four were newly joined for eternity in the Bangkok Thailand Temple just the month before.

“I am so excited that Sister Wright visited us at our home,” said his wife Heng Bunthear, aged 48. “I felt that the Spirit is so amazing because the Spirit led Sister Wright to visit us in the Run Ta Ek area so she can know what we have been through.”

At the home of 68-year-old Oem Seang who was baptized in February 2024, her two daughters, son-in-law and six grandchildren squeezed with Sister Wright and her entourage on their narrow porch. But neighbors and their children did not wish to miss the special presence of Sister Wright too. As they gathered near the house, drawn by her, Sister Wright exclaimed, “It’s a whole Primary!”

Sister Wright led the large group in singing “I Am a Child of God” although it was recognizable only to one small girl, then testified to her, “You are precious to Him. I hope you always know and feel that.” In the quiet, reverent awe that ensued, Sister Wright took out a stack of cards she had brought which depicted a little girl leading others to Jesus Christ and handed them out to every child as a keepsake.

Ministering with Love to All

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Sister Amy A. Wright ministers to and embraces a mother after Member Devotional held on May 26, 2024 at the Singapore Stake Center in Singapore as part of her Southeast Asia ministry trip.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“I remember one night praying specifically for the beautiful people of this area… And it was just this beautiful impression: just tell them how much I [their Heavenly Father] love them, that they are precious to Me, and thank them for all that they’re doing. They’re doing a wonderful job, and that I’m aware of them. I know them by name,” expressed Sister Wright about her ministry purpose. “And I thought, well that made my job really easy, because the people here are just so easy to love.”

Across Singapore, Kuching, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, members and missionaries truly opened their hearts to receive her.

To the children, Sister Wright conveyed Church President Russell M. Nelson’s love, trust and need for them and empowered them to fully participate and embrace their covenantal responsibilities as the youngest members in the Church of Jesus Christ.  

To the youth in Singapore, Sister Wright challenged, “You are not the future, you are the now...The very virtue of your lives are influencing countless generations.”

To young single adults in Vietnam, Sister Wright reminded that they could feel their Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ no matter where they are.

To deaf members in Kuching, Sister Wright affirmed, “As I hear your stories, we know and feel that you have a beautiful, tender heart.”

To Primary leaders, Sister Wright revealed, “Primary is where you will go to heal.”

To missionaries, Sister Wright taught, “Your mission is tailor-made by divine design to be uniquely hard for you…You are meant to go home a higher and holier way.”

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Sister Amy A. Wright poses with the first boy she met on her Southeast Asia ministry trip during an interfaith visit at the Ba'alwie Mosque in Singapore on May 25, 2024.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

And as her Southeast Asia ministry drew to a close, Sister Wright expressed, “My greatest hope, especially for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is that vision will be expanded regarding our Heavenly Father’s youngest disciples, His children…That these little ones, we’ll start to see them through the lens of their capacity to do great things.”

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