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From Samoa to Rome, Latter-day Saint youth, young adults gather to strengthen their faith

In recent months, youth and young single adults in Samoa, Australia, Puerto Rico, Panama and Rome have gathered to have fun and fortify their testimonies of Jesus Christ

In 1904, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased 800 acres of property in the green hills of Samoa to provide a refuge for persecuted and exiled Latter-day Saints. This area became known as “Sauniatu,” which means “prepare to go forth.”

More than 115 years later, the Sauniatu valley continues to be a place of peace and safety as 200 young men and women gathered there in April for a three-day youth conference.

The beautiful setting provided an opportunity for leaders to teach the youth how to come to know the Savior Jesus Christ outside of the influence and noise of the world, said President Alema Tamala of the Upolu Samoa Nu’umau Stake.

Right, Brenda Fagaote and Maryanne Ahsee share a laugh while attending at a youth conference at Sauniatu, Samoa, April 2023.
Right, Brenda Fagaote and Maryanne Ahsee share a laugh while attending at a youth conference at Sauniatu, Samoa, April 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“We want them to know that they can do all things through Christ. We want them to focus on Christ,” he said. “We want them to understand that they have a heritage of faith and that they need to prepare themselves to serve missions for the Lord. We emphasized learning to become self-reliant and able to go forth to contribute to their families, communities and church.”

The youth conference in Samoa was one of several such gatherings of Latter-day Saint youth and young adults that took place in recent months in Australia, Puerto Rico, Panama and Rome.

Australia

A dozen young men and young women gather together one in the center holds a flag with “Commandment Keepers” written and John 14-15 written in blue around other decorations.
Latter-day Saint young men and women from Sydney and Canberra, Australia, gather at a For the Strength of Youth conference in Sydney, in January 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

More than 500 young men and young women strengthened their faith in Jesus Christ as they participated in a For the Strength of Youth conference in Sydney, Australia.

FSY helps youth to create lifelong bonds of friendship and learn to serve others, said Jessica Howard, a young woman from Sydney.

Leah Flake, a young woman from Canberra, appreciated learning about the 2023 youth theme, “I can do all things through Christ,” and the theme’s logo of a cairn, a stack of rocks that are often used for trail markers.

“Like a cairn, Christ is our marker who leads us down the right path,” Flake said. “A cairn starts with the first stone that you lay down as the base. Then the cairn is built up by laying rocks on top of each other. Like the base rock of a cairn, Christ needs to be the rock of our foundation, and He will help build us up.”

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Puerto Rico

More than 70 young single adults from five Latter-day Saint stakes in Puerto Rico attended a conference in April 2023.
More than 70 young single adults from five Latter-day Saint stakes in Puerto Rico attended a conference in April 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Over 70 young single adults from five Latter-day Saints stakes in Puerto Rico attended a conference in April 2023. They participated in recreational activities, service projects and devotionals centered on the themes of hope and lightening burdens through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder Tomas G. Roman, an Area Seventy, attended the camp and spoke about self-reliance.

Juan Alberto Santos Pérez, one of the young men, said he came away feeling the Lord truly knows him and his concerns.

Another young man, Ezequiel Soto, was also inspired.

“I felt happy because spiritually I was able to be closer to Jesus Christ,” Soto said. “I know it will help me prepare to serve a mission and invite people to come unto Christ.”

Panama

More than 650 Latter-day Saint young single adults participated in a conference at Panama City, Panama, in April 2023.
More than 650 Latter-day Saint young single adults participated in a conference at Panama City, Panama, in April 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

More than 650 Latter-day Saint young single adults, ages 18-30, participated in a conference at Panama City, Panama, in April 2023.

During the conference, the young people engaged in various recreational activities and listened to speakers who encouraged them to improve their lives spiritually and in other ways.

Elder Denis E. Pineda, an Area Seventy, attended the conference and spoke to the young single adults.

“You have the potential to do wonderful things,” he said. “Fight, strive, but never lose your divine identity.”

Rome

Latter-day Saint young single adults attended a multistake conference in in Rome in February 2023.
Latter-day Saint young single adults attended a multistake conference in in Rome in February 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

After being postponed several times due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions, Latter-day Saint young single adults were finally able to hold a multistake conference in Rome, Italy, in February.

The conference featured several speakers, temple attendance, a tour of the streets of Rome and other activities.

President James A. Toronto, who serves as president of the Church’s Rome Italy Temple, spoke to the young adults. Those who attended learned about mental health, family history work and other topics.

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