Less than a month after their new role was established, 50 women leaders in 10 areas on five continents have begun serving as international area organization advisers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The women met virtually last week with general women officers shortly before the 191st Annual General Conference. President Bonnie H. Cordon of the Young Women general presidency described the global event as “truly historic,” according to a church newsroom article.
“Sitting in my chair, watching each cherished face appear on screen as we gathered for a worldwide meeting — from Japan to Johannesburg, from Spain to Sao Paulo, and me right here in the United States — I couldn’t help by think back to the very first Relief Society meeting held by Emma Smith, Eliza R. Snow and their small group of faithful sisters,” President Cordon wrote in an April 5 Instagram post. “Look how far we have come!”
President Cordon believes Latter-day Saints will soon “recognize these area advisers as a vital voice for women, young women and children at all levels” and “part of the Lord’s work of gathering Israel!”
The First Presidency approved the new position of international area organization adviser as a way to help offer support, training and mentorship for local leadership living outside the United States and Canada.
These women will serve for three to five years under the direction of Area Presidencies, leaders positioned in regions worldwide to determine local needs.
These volunteer advisers will participate in councils within the areas where they live and virtual meetings will be held two to four times a year.
“Some of them are already participating in the area council,” said Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president.
The area organization advisers will also attend the women’s session of the church’s general conference in Salt Lake City in person at least once during their service.
Here are the locations by area, according to the church’s newsroom:
Africa Central — Cameroon, DR Congo (Kinshasa), DR Congo (Lubumbashi), Ethiopia, Kenya/Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Uganda
Africa South — Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa
Asia North — Japan (2), Korea and Mongolia
Brazil — São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Joinville and Olinda
Caribbean — Puerto Rico, West Indies/Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic
Europe — Nordic Countries (Denmark), Germany, Portugal/Spain, France/Italy, Eastern/Southeastern countries (Austria) and UK/Ireland
Mexico — Oaxaca, Celaya and Ciudad Juárez
Philippines — Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Bulacan
South America Northwest — Peru (3), Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia
South America South — Argentina (3), Chile (3), Paraguay and Uruguay.