When Sister Vivian Jiang accepted the gospel in Ireland, she had no idea that one day she would interpret for Sister Wendy Nelson, wife of the future President of the Church.
Since the turn of the century, many of the people joining the Church in Ireland have been from other countries, reflecting a trend found elsewhere in Europe.
Some of these good people eventually leave Ireland and continue to serve the Lord faithfully in their home nations and elsewhere.
One of these is Vivian Jaing who was born and raised in Shanghai, China. Her parents did not come from any religious background, and her view is that she really had no solid spiritual foundation before her conversion. However, in her own words, 'Somehow I always believed and felt there was a God. I felt that His presence was somewhere watching over me'.
In 2001, Vivian arrived in Ireland to study at the Waterford Institute of Technology. There she met the missionaries when one of her friends, Jamie Ng, invited them all to dinner. She found it curious when these two young men introduced themselves by the name 'Elder'.
Vivian takes up the story:
'They explained to me their message on the purpose of life, and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What really touched my heart was their invitation to read passages from the Book of Mormon, and then to ask God through prayer, to know if it was true.
Shortly thereafter, I was invited to attend Sunday meetings. The people I met, the Ryan families, and others, were very kind and friendly. It was a small group of members back then.
They rented a tiny house for Sunday meetings and weekday activities yet the feeling of love among us was really overwhelming. A few months later, at the end of August 2003, I finally got to join the Church. Getting baptised in the river in Tramore was just so cool!!!'
Vivian returned to Shanghai in 2005 and in 2015, the current Church President, then Elder Russell M Nelson and his wife, Wendy, visited China. Whilst there, they attended Sunday meetings at the Shanghai branch. Somewhat to her surprise, as she was not the only bilingual person in the congregation and felt there might be others whose English was more fluent, the Stake President asked Vivian to act as interpreter for Sister Nelson. She still feels that this was both a rare privilege and a great blessing and wonders perhaps if this was a reward for her service in the Church over the years. Apart from being the Stake Young Women President for some time, she also helped local church leaders organise annual nationwide youth camps and taught early morning seminary for nearly half a decade.
Vivian now lives in California and is married to Philip. They had a long-distance relationship for about five years. He was living in the San Francisco Bay Area whilst she was still in Shanghai. They got married towards the end of 2016. In the early stages of this new chapter in her life, Vivian reflects on those special times she spent with the faithful members of the
'I think because of their love, I felt a strong presence of God. I had a strong feeling that I knew this Church was true.'