Area Advisers, a Blessing for Church Organizations

By Marithza Peña


The decision of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to call four organization advisors for the Caribbean Area has been highly appreciated by advisors and Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society leaders alike.

Sister Rosa Damaris Fortuna, who provides support to the Santo Domingo West and Santiago councils; Rocío Cañar, who works with Santo Domingo East and Puerto Rico; and Nadine Brown, who advises Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, see this new calling as a great opportunity to serve and strengthen Church organizations, being a support resource for sisters in their callings.

Sister Fortuna, a Dominican, explained that when she was interviewed and told about this assignment, she had doubts about whether she could fulfill it. “I immediately saw that with this calling I had a great opportunity to serve. At the time of the interview, the words of the prophet Samuel came to mind, when the Lord called him and he replied, ‘Speak; for thy servant heareth’ (1 Sam 3:10). These words are important to me, because I want to always be attentive and be able to respond to the Lord just like Samuel.”

These leaders indicate that in the meetings and training they have held, the sisters of the presidencies have shown them their great love, humility, and dedication in their callings, as well as much enthusiasm to support and work in the organizations. The sisters, in turn, have said that they feel supported and that they needed to have this kind of council and training.

I feel very excited by the response I have received from the presidencies of the organizations in all the stakes, they are incredible sisters with very strong spirits and a willingness to continue advancing this great work” highlights advisor Rocío Cañar, an Ecuadorian, resident in Santo Domingo.


The advisors affirm that one of the key lessons they have learned from the sisters of the general presidencies is that the most important thing is the Spirit witnessing, rather than the words spoken, affirming that they are learning together and that their testimonies have strengthened each other.

When Sister Cañar is asked how she thinks her work contributes to establishing the Kingdom of God, she says, “President Nelson stated, ‘anytime [you] do anything that helps anyone – on either side of the veil – take a step toward making covenants with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel.’ That's what we do as advisors, we help the presidencies of stake organizations so that they in turn help the presidencies of ward organizations and these, in turn, help the children, the Young Women, and the Relief Society sisters take steps to make covenants with God and keep them.”

Sister Nadine Brown, a Jamaican, enthusiastically states that “the sisters are learning the importance of understanding priesthood power and authority and how to access that power by acting on their responsibilities. They are also learning to receive revelation for people under their stewardship and to be confident and act on the instructions they receive. As they deliberate together and learn how to receive revelation and act with priesthood power, they will see miracles occur in their organizations and in the areas in which they serve.”

Opportunities and challenges providing support

After receiving instructions from the general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary, area advisors have met virtually with small groups of stake organization presidencies, seeking more personal contact, getting to know them, seeing what their needs are, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, and seeing together how to help the Saints stay on the covenant path.

In some cases, the internet connection has been a challenge, but they indicated that there are always ways to overcome the obstacles and fulfill their responsibilities.

Sister Fortuna relates the case of a sister who had not been able to participate in any meeting because she did not have internet access in her house. Sometimes when a neighbor was home, she would be able to use their service, but many times the neighbor’s schedule did not coincide with that of the meeting. After agreeing with the neighbor, the sister was able to meet separately with Sister Fortuna, being able to talk not only about the work of Salvation, but also about their gardens, their flowers, and their fruit trees.

“It is a great relief to know that, despite the difficulties that arise, we can continue to work in the Lord’s vineyard; that we have much to accomplish, and that Jesus Christ provides us with the means to do what is necessary to press forward, stand firm in our covenants, and help others endure. We have many resources to accomplish anything, as long as we have the desire to do so, nurturing our faith in our Savior and Redeemer,” Sister Fortuna says.

Sister Brown said, “I learned at the beginning of my training meetings that we have to meet the sisters where they are because they won't all progress at the same pace. We have many capable and faithful sisters who serve as leaders in the church. The pandemic has created some challenges for some and has been a true test of faith and perseverance. Some have stayed the course and are moving forward. Likewise, faithful sisters continue to love, minister, and invite those who have strayed to return to the fold.”

The advisors indicate that working directly with the general presidencies, as well as with the organization presidencies in the stakes and districts, is a great opportunity to become a point of contact that facilitates faster communication in both directions, making it easier to serve the sisters and to obtain the necessary resources and help.

The advisors see these callings as an invitation to seek more knowledge, study, and pray. In doing so, thanks to the power of the priesthood, every sister leader can receive revelation and inspiration from the Lord by participating in councils to strengthen the Church of Jesus Christ and help establish His kingdom on earth.