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A thankful visit

Chile's First Lady grateful for Church's ongoing assistance

Chile's First Lady, Luisa Duran de Lagos, visited LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City on Sept. 21 to personally thank the Church for its many humanitarian gifts in recent years. She left with a few more gifts in tow.

Mrs. Duran de Lagos, wife of Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, met with the First Presidency before touring the LDS Humanitarian Center with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve and former Chile Area president. When the tour ended, Elder Holland ushered the First Lady into a meeting room and presented her with more than 600 computers donated by Brigham Young University.

"It was a touching end to the visit," said Norman D. Shumway of LDS Hosting, who was part of the contingency accompanying Mrs. Duran de Lagos during her visit.

The computers, expected to be used by Chilean students, were welcome gifts for Mrs. Duran de Lagos, an education advocate.

Earlier, Mrs. Duran de Lagos visited with President Gordon B. Hinckley and his counselors, President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust, in the Church Administration Building. President Hinckley spoke to the First Lady about the worldwide Church and recalled a recent visit to Chile where he spoke to 57,000 members. He thanked Mrs. Duran de Lagos for her support of family-friendly legislation in the South American nation, Brother Shumway said.

"I felt very honored to be able to meet with (President Hinckley)," Mrs. Duran de Lagos told the Church News.

She added that her country's democratic government is respectful of religious freedoms. She commented on the appreciated assistance Chile has received from the Church.

"I came here because I wanted to personally thank the Church for what it has given us," she said. "We have received from the (Church) assistance with 'Chile Solidario,' a program designed to help Chile's poorest families arise from poverty."

The Church, she added, has also contributed some 250,00 blankets to poor Chileans (See July 24, 2004, Church News, page 7), donated more than 500 wheelchairs, and assisted with relief shipments during natural disasters.

"I thought I should come in person and give thanks for all the support," said Mrs. Duran de Lagos.

Mrs. Duran de Lagos and her Chilean contingency also visited the Family History Library, where she was presented a copy of her personal family history. After her Salt Lake City visit, the First Lady flew to New York to be with her husband. President Duran de Lagos was participating in United Nations meetings in New York City.

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