Grow up to be ‘goodly parents,’ Elder Cook tells youth in Fiji and Kiribati

On second and third stops of his ministry in the Pacific Area, Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke to students at Church-owned schools in Fiji and Kiribati about being a light and working for unity

SUVA, Fiji — On the second day of the year’s second semester at Church College Fiji, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to the school’s nearly 450 students about being a light to others and finding unity with each other.

The day in Suva, Fiji’s capital city, was the second stop on Elder Cook’s ministry to the Pacific Area. On Wednesday, May 22, he was joined by his wife, Sister Mary Cook, and Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the area presidency, and his wife, Sister Anita Wakolo.

Elder Cook told the students that the Book of Mormon starts with a reference to Nephi’s “goodly parents” and told them that regardless of the situations they were born into, they should work on becoming “goodly parents” themselves.

“Your challenge is to grow up to be ‘goodly parents,’” he said.

Church College Fiji is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was first dedicated by President Jeffrey R. Holland in 1976. The acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the Church commissioner of education at the time. He and Elder Cook served as mission companions in the British Isles Mission, and Elder Cook told the school’s students that some friendships and relationships can last forever when centered in the Savior.

Students stand as Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visits Church College Fiji on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

“And let this be a lesson for you who will serve missions,” he said to the students. “Treat your junior companions well ,because they may one day become your senior companion in another calling.”

Elder Cook read from the school’s dedicatory prayer, where President Holland blessed the students that they would be diligent, hard-working and use their talents and “perpetuate them in eternal glory” to help “bring peace and prosperity to the country.”

He also spoke about unity and how the students can be an example of the ideal way in which individuals from different backgrounds and experiences can learn and live together.

This, too, was expressed in the school’s dedicatory prayer.

President Holland prayed that those who attend the school “sit in beauty and splendor of the people from many lands and nations, of every color and climate, who come together in harmony even as the great tribes of Israel.”

Elder Cook said the unity they experience at the school should be something they seek to create everywhere they go in the world.

“We love people of all races, of all colors,” he said, adding “We are united by diversity.”

Prior to Elder Cook’s remarks, the school’s choir sang a beautiful rendition of “Behold the Wounds in Jesus’ Hands” by John Pearson that brought many in attendance to tears.

From Church College Fiji to Moroni High School in Kiribati

The following day, on Thursday, May 23, Elder Cook traveled to Kiribati and spoke at the Church’s Moroni High School to hundreds of students at the school on Tarawa.

He was joined again by his wife and also Elder Peter F. Meurs, General Authority Seventy and president of the Pacific Area, and his wife, Sister Maxine Meurs.

Elder Cook again spoke of some of his mission memories and invited the youth to make serving a mission a part of their future plans.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks to the faculty and students at the Moroni High School in Eita, Kiribati on Tarawa on Thursday, May 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

“If you put a mission in your life’s plan, it may delay some of your other plans, but it will also enhance them,” Elder Cook said.

He also encouraged them to continue striving to obtain knowledge — spiritual and academic — to be better able to bless themselves and the people around them.

“We want you to gain practical knowledge and eternal knowledge,” Elder Cook said, emphasizing that each generation can learn from the previous but cannot survive without their own knowledge and testimonies.

“Don’t live on borrowed light. Get your own. Living the commandments, studying the scriptures, praying to Heavenly Father will lead to your own testimony.”

Testimony and knowledge are not gained by accident, he counseled.

“Choose the path that will lead you to accomplish your goals,” he said. He explained that by picking up one end of a stick, the other end is lifted at the same time. If what is at the end of the stick isn’t the desired goal, then don’t pick up the first end of it, he taught.

Elder Cook testified that President Russell M. Nelson is a Prophet of God.

“When the Holy Ghost inspires him, he will act quickly. He follows the Lord,” Elder Cook said.

While members of the Church follow the Prophet, Elder Cook said it is important to note that worship is reserved for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

“We honor prophets, and we follow their guidance,” he said. “But we only worship God the Father and Jesus Christ.”

In concluding his message to the youth, Elder Cook asked them to remember “who you are and who you serve in order to accomplish great things.”

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