NADI, FIJI "Make the Church shine in Fiji," President Gordon B. Hinckley told some 900 members in a packed stake center here May 21. His visit was especially meaningful because members were not invited to the dedication of the Suva Fiji Temple last June because of civil unrest.
"The gospel shines through your faces. It makes you look so attractive, wonderful. Stay that way. Stay with the Church. Let everything that you do bring credit and honor to the Church of which you are a member and the Lord will bless you, magnify you.
"Let there be no animosity among you, but only love, regardless of race, regardless of circumstances. Let us love one another as the Lord would have us do."
"God bless you, my beloved associates in this great work," the Church president said. "May He smile with favor upon you. May you know that the Lord loves you and may each of us seek to live according to the pattern which He has established. It is such a wonderful thing to realize that in this island, out in the middle of the Pacific, there lives a body of Latter-day Saints, men and women of great faith and testimony."
President Hinckley stopped in Fiji for the member meeting while returning from Australia following the Sunday, May 20, dedication of the new Perth Australia Temple. With only about 12 hours notice, Latter-day Saints gathered from throughout the island for the 40-minute meeting, during which many were moved to tears at seeing the prophet.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who accompanied President Hinckley, delivered a brief message. He rejoiced with the local saints in the fact that this is the dispensation of the fullness of times. All the people of God since the beginning of time have looked forward to this dispensation, said Elder Holland, noting that this is the dispensation when all the truths and ordinances of the gospel have been restored. He also bore his testimony of the prophetic calling of President Hinckley.
Speaking of political unrest that plagued the island country in June 2000, President Hinckley said, "I hope that after the trouble of the coup that there is a more settled feeling here, and that peace will reign in this land, and that the Lord will smile with favor upon you and increase your blessings."
Take advantage of the beautiful Suva Fiji Temple, he admonished. "I hope that somehow the boys and girls 12 years of age and older are able to go to that House of the Lord and there be baptized for the dead. They will never forget that experience if they do it.
"And you fathers, you men who hold the priesthood, I hope there is not a father here who does not resolve within his heart to take his wife to that temple, there to be sealed for time and all eternity. There is nothing else like it. No other Church in all the world has anything approaching this. It is unique with this Church. And what a glorious and marvelous opportunity that is."
President Hinckley urged fathers and mothers to treasure their children. "They are the most precious gift you have. Love them. Take care of them. Help them. Encourage them and lead them. Let them grow up in righteousness and faith before the Lord. Fathers, treat your wives with great respect and love."
Wives, be kind to your husbands, he added. "They need a little help and you can give it. You are the only one who can give it.
"We have this beautiful chapel here. It is a great honor to the Church to have this beautiful building here. It is clean. It is bright. It is what a chapel in the Church ought to be, and I congratulate you, so take care of it. I congratulate the stake presidency and the bishoprics, with all you have to do with the leadership of the Church here. Do a great work. Walk in faith before the Lord.
"I hope you are paying your tithes and offerings. The Lord cannot bless you unless you are obedient to His commandments. I hope, therefore, that you pay your tithes and offerings. Be they large or small, be honest with the Lord, and He will open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings upon you that there will not be room enough to receive them."
Expressing love to the members, President Hinckley continued: "We know that you pray for us, and I want to tell you that we pray for you that the the Lord will bless you, comfort you, strengthen you and sustain you, my beloved brethren and sisters. May the blessings of heaven be with you. May there be peace, love and harmony in your homes, and may you find the great blessings of your lives coming here to your chapels to worship the Lord according to the testimonies which you carry in your heart.
"You know that this gospel is true just as surely as I know that."