News Release

From Young Missionary to Asia Area President

Exclusive Interview with Elder David F. Evans

(For Non-Muslim Use Only)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches its members that following Jesus Christ goes beyond mere belief in Him — it also means following His example in every aspect of life. This new column will spotlight faithful Latter-day Saints from all walks of life and how they seek betterment in self, family, and society by following the Savior’s teachings.

To kick off this new series of exclusive interviews, four young men and women in Hong Kong met with Elder David F. Evans, who will finish his assignment as president of the Asia Area on July 31, 2021. In this column, they shared his responses to questions about what he has learned over the years in the Church, at work, and with his family.


By Lily Bybee, Megan DeWaal, Ian Lee, Chung-Yan Chow

Life Lessons – Mission, Worthiness, Following Promptings

Many young men and young women of the Church, aged between 18 to 25, volunteer 18-24 months of their life to serve a full-time mission in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Evans did too when he was at that age. He said that being called to serve as a missionary in Japan was the most life-changing experience during his young life. His mission as a young man helped to shape who he is today and will continue to be as a person.

Elder Evans shared an early mission experience that helped him understand the importance of living the Lord’s standards in every circumstance. He and another missionary were having dinner in a local restaurant. During those years in Japan, there were magazines under the tables of most restaurants that often contained unworthy images. As a result, the mission president had counseled the missionaries to never look at the magazines when at the restaurants. One evening, after a long day of proselyting, Elder Evans and another missionary who was almost at the end of his mission, were having dinner and the more senior missionary began to look at the images in one of the magazines.

Even though Elder Evans was the missionary who had only been in Japan for a few weeks, he told the other elder, “Put it away. Just put it away.” The more senior missionary looked at him as if to say, “Who are you to tell me what to do?” They quietly finished their dinner walked to the small home that they used as both the church and as their missionary apartment. When they arrived, they met a sister from the branch who was seeking a priesthood blessing. She was going to have an operation for a serious illness the next day and was looking for two worthy servants of God to help her. Because of what had happened, the more experienced missionary did not feel worthy to provide the blessing, and Elder Evans could not speak Japanese well enough to give the blessing. It was at this time that Elder Evans determined to live worthy of the Spirit so that he would always be able to do whatever the Lord needed.

Knowing the impact for good in his own life, Elder Evans expressed the hope that in addition to asking God whether they should serve a mission, young people of the Church would begin to ask how they can best prepare to serve.

“Often those who are considering a mission know they are feeling the inspiration of the Holy Ghost pushing them to go, but they do not want to pray about it because they will get an answer and then they are responsible to follow that answer. God does not force us, but He always invites us. He always comes back again and again, and continues to invite us in different ways.”

Elder Evans counseled,

“Going on a mission is a privilege that God gives us. God blesses us to be able to offer His children eternal life, happiness in this life, and help to repent. My very best counsel is to ask the Lord to help you know what you should do to prepare yourself for a mission.”

Service Lessons – Priesthood Leadership and Revelation


Besides the missionary program, lay ministry is another most defining characteristics of the Church. Members, including Elder Evans, voluntarily accept “callings” or assignments that provide meaningful opportunities to serve one another. He has served in a number of Church callings and each of them has changed him in different ways, but he expressed that his ministering efforts may have had the greatest impact for good while serving as a bishop and a mission president.

“As a bishop, you have an opportunity to interact with so many different people and bring the gospel into their lives,” he said.

Elder Evans loved his time as a missionary in Japan and always wanted the chance to return. Even though there were many opportunities for Japanese-speaking lawyers in Japan, praying about it with Sister Evans gave them a clear understanding that the Lord wanted them to remain in Utah and raise their family. From 1998 to 2001, he and Sister Evans served for three years as a mission president and companion in the Japan Nagoya Mission, four years in the Asia North Area Presidency in Tokyo, and now five years in the Asia Area Presidency in Hong Kong. With a total of 14 years spent in Asia (including his early mission), Elder Evans said, “Coming back to Asia has been this pure experience with the Spirit every time.”

After serving so many years among the people of Asia, Elder Evans observed that “the gospel has this wonderful ability to humble the proud and to give hope to the poor. The gospel of Jesus Christ gives people hope that they can be clean and hope that they can have a glorious eternal life with their families.”

He bore his testimony that, in the end, things that seem unfair now will be made fair and right. He has also learned that God loves all His children, from those in the poorest villages throughout Asia, to the millions in India, to the vibrant cities of Hong Kong and Singapore.

His calling as a general authority has had a huge impact on his family. At the time he was first called as a mission president, Elder and Sister Evans had eight children. Some of the older children stayed at home in Salt Lake City, while the others accompanied Elder and Sister Evans to Japan. He explained that it was not hard to accept the calling, but he and Sister Evans needed to have faith that God would protect their children at home. This calling helped him learn more about trusting God than he had ever learned before.

Elder Evans reported, “One of my most memorable experiences as the Asia Area President occurred just before COVID started when President Nelson visited the Asia Area. We were in Singapore on a Sunday morning, and President Nelson invited Mary and me, together with Elder and Sister Christofferson, to join him and a few others in his hotel room to take the sacrament together.” There, Elder Christofferson and Elder Evans had the privilege of blessing the sacrament, passing it to President Nelson, and partaking of the sacrament with him. After the sacrament, in his kind and loving way, President Nelson invited everyone in presence to bear their testimonies. “As we had this remarkable sacrament meeting together in Singapore, we felt humbled, yet joyful, in being in the presence of the prophet of God and having the opportunity to bless and pass the sacrament and partake of it with him.”

Family and Career Lessons – Time Management and Priorities

Elder and Sister Evans are the parents of eight children. The family has multiplied since they were married in 1973. 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Evans said that being a husband and a father is one of life’s biggest blessings because being a father has helped him to see how God views His children. He has always tried to be a father in ways similar to those used by our Heavenly Father. While raising eight children with his wife, Mary, Elder Evans worked as an attorney and an executive for an investment banking firm. He said that he has always had faith in his ability to excel in all his roles and responsibilities, but that doing so has taken up all his time.

When missionaries would ask Elder Evans to list his hobbies, he always responded that his hobbies were those things that his children would do with him. Elder Evans expressed his love for his wife and said that she was always a great influence for good in their family. She never complained about his Church callings, and always taught their children that it was a blessing for their father to be doing the Lord’s work. Helping each other, they have been able to balance their time and work together. This effort to work together enhanced and strengthened their love and support for each other in whatever God asked them to do. Elder Evans expressed his faith that we all have the ability to properly balance our time and make a positive impact on our loved ones in the process.

Elder and Sister Evans raised their family faithfully in the gospel and supported each other through thick and thin over the years. 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Evans chose to be an attorney because he felt it gave him better control over what he could do in life. Early in his interactions with new clients, he chose to emphasize his values, beliefs, and roles outside of his job. As a result, most clients were protective of him and his beliefs, not pressuring him to violate his standards or covenants. Elder Evans said that being true to who we are and what our values and beliefs are provides an opportunity to not only be faithful, but to influence others to do the same.

“However,” he noted, “there will surely be some who do not accept you or your values.” In Elder Evans’ case, he chose not to work for them and chose to be careful about those with whom he associated.

Spiritual Lessons – Receiving Revelation

In Hong Kong, and perhaps other Asian countries, students are required to choose their area of study early in their youth, yet not all of them know what they want to do so early in life. Elder Evans advised a pattern in making important decisions.

He first encouraged young people to counsel with their parents and school leaders who have their best interests at heart. He also encouraged them to find a profession that they enjoy doing, “not necessarily something that is going to lead to great wealth, but a career that will provide for your family, help you to enjoy your family and allow you to serve in the Church.”


He also emphasized that there are spiritual processes which even a young person can experience.

Not long after the Church was organized, Oliver Cowdery was promised that he would be able to participate in the translation of the Book of Mormon through revelation. He got frustrated because he could not translate. Since he did not know what to do, he just asked Heavenly Father what he should do. Through the Holy Ghost the Lord then gave the ninth section of the Doctrine & Covenants which reveals a process for seeking revelation in our lives. “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.” (D&C 9:7)

“Even as a young person, you can be looking at what your options are and considering them,” Elder Evans said. “Then you ‘must ask’ if that decision is right, meaning you must actually come to a decision and then ask if that decision is right.”

“And if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong” (D&C 9:8-9).

He reflected, “When I am going through this process, I do not actually forget that I ever thought about an idea, but I know what it feels like to have the Holy Ghost ‘cause that your bosom shall burn with you.’ For me, it is a warm and comforting feeling of affirmation and truth from Heavenly Father.”

He counseled,

“If it is right, you will never have to look back. It does not mean everything will be easy for you, but you won’t have to look back and wonder whether you made the right decision. On the contrary, even though there are hard things, if you know at a young age it is the right thing to do, you can have spiritual confidence in pursuing this course.”

“When you have the guidance of the Spirit, it gives you motivation and helps you know what is right. I encourage you to do both – study it out in your mind which is what many people already do, and then take one more step and ask Heavenly Father if it is right. You may not get the whole answer, but you will get enough to get started and make a choice. Then you can find out how to move your life forward.”

To conclude, Elder Evans advised, “Stay close to the Lord no matter what. When we are separated from God, it is usually because we have chosen to move away from God. This may happen in times of temptation or doubt, when we have the greatest need for the Holy Spirit to guide and help us. We may struggle with many challenges in life. However, we should stay close to God, keep our covenants and keep praying and be open to the influence of the Holy Ghost. On every important decision, we should ask God if it is the right. We should actively seek to do the things that the Holy Ghost tells us are right, and continue to act on the impressions given by the Holy Ghost. This is a wonderful time to be a young person in the Church! We live in a time when the Lord is close and His Prophet has promised us that we can receive revelation for our lives, even in our youth.”

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