Following on the heels of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson will embark on a ministry tour to the Church's Pacific Area beginning May 16.
The nine-day itinerary includes stops at seven destinations throughout the Pacific:
- Kona, Hawaii, United States
- Apia, Samoa
- Sydney, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Suva, Fiji
- Nuku'alofa, Tonga
- Papeete, Tahiti
President Nelson will be accompanied on the tour by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, as well as Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong. At each location they will meet with and minister to Latter-day Saints and other community members, including government and religious leaders.
In Hawaii, the Church leaders will begin the tour itinerary by speaking to Latter-day Saints at an evening devotional held at the Kona Hawaii Stake Center on Thursday, May 16.
Hawaii was the final stop of President Nelson's inaugural ministry tour last year; after visiting locations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the Nelsons and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Sister Patricia Holland concluded their travels with a devotional in Laie, Hawaii.
In Samoa, on Saturday, May 18, a devotional will be broadcast to all congregations in both Samoa and American Samoa.
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Church leaders will host a devotional from the International Convention Centre in Sydney on Sunday, May 19; the meeting will be broadcast for members throughout Australia.
A meeting originating in Auckland on Tuesday, May 21, will be broadcast to missionaries throughout the Pacific Area. Later that day, the proceedings from a larger member devotional at Spark Arena will be broadcast for Latter-day Saints throughout New Zealand.
Devotionals in both Suva and Nuku'alofa will also be broadcast for members throughout their respective island nations — Wednesday, May 22, in Fiji, and Thursday, May 23, in Tonga.
And in Tahiti, on Friday, May 24, the Nelsons and the Gongs will attend a cultural program celebrating the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the first missionaries to French Polynesia. A devotional will also follow the celebration there.
With more than 552,800 members and 18 missions in the Pacific Area, the Church has maintained a strong presence in the region since it first arrived with four missionaries in the 1840s. Already in the area, the Church has 10 operating temples and four more were recently announced over the past two general conferences in Pago Pago, America Samoa; Neiafu, Tonga; Yigo, Guam and Auckland, New Zealand.
Earlier this year, Muslim mosques in New Zealand were attacked in an act of terrorism and Church leaders from the Pacific Area released a public statement of love and support for citizens in Christchurch, New Zealand, where the attacks occurred.