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Global Leaders’ Ministry in Pacific Focuses on Children, Youth

General officers and area leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited several countries in the Pacific during a ministry trip in September, encouraging Church members to look to Jesus Christ and participating in outreach efforts with local government leaders and charities.

Sister Amy Wright, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, and Sister Andrea Spannaus, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, accompanied by Elder Peter F. Meurs and Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi of the Pacific Area Presidency, shared Christ-focused messages with children, youth, young adults, local leaders and friends.

Elder Meurs and Elder Jaggi were accompanied by their wives, Sister Maxine Meurs, and Sister Amy Jaggi. The visiting Primary and Young Women General Officers traveled with their respective husbands, Brother James Wright, and Brother Alin Spannaus.

The leaders received a warm welcome from more than 300 youth gathered for a special devotional at the Church College Fiji campus on Friday, September 8, 2023.

Elder Meurs said, “It is a delight to be in Fiji, helping parents and leaders, children, youth, young adults and friends of the Church look to Jesus Christ for peace and power in their lives to overcome the challenges of this world, and to experience the blessings of God every day.”

Sister Amy Wright helped children understand that they can be part of the gathering of Israel by being kind and doing good. “Everyone can help to gather yourselves and others to Jesus Christ,” she said. “As we gather to Jesus Christ, he leads us to the temple. It’s through temple covenants that we can live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as eternal families.”

Sister Amy A. Wright of the Primary General Presidency, accompanied by her husband, Brother James Wright, greets a young child during a visit to Papua New Guinea, part of a ministry visit to the Pacific in September 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In a Facebook post on the Church’s Pacific Newsroom page, Daniel Ringiau said seeing Sister Wright speak to individual children at their eye level reminded him of how the Savior ministered to Nephite children in the Book of Mormon. “I saw Sister Wright doing the same thing that Jesus did by ministering to our children this evening, as far as going down to their level so our children could feel the love of the Savior.”

Speaking with youth, Sister Spannaus showed how the songs in the 2023 Youth Album can be a powerful resource for keeping Jesus Christ in “our thoughts and helping us overcome fears and doubts.”

“Jesus Christ has the power to help us,” she said. “We need to have more Jesus Christ in our lives. Our lives need to be filled with Jesus Christ.”

“I felt the Savior’s love,” said Selai Koroinamua, who attended the devotional for young adults. “Though I go through trials, the covenants that I have made with Heavenly Father help me to remember I am loved.”

Sister Wright and Sister Spannaus also visited the Suva Fiji Temple, where a large group of youth participated in ordinances before gathering outside on the temple grounds to reflect on the feelings they had experienced in the House of the Lord.

The sister leaders began their trip in Fiji. Sister Wright and her husband, Brother James Wright, and Elder Peter F. Meurs and his wife, Sister Maxine Meurs, then traveled to Samoa while Sister Spannaus and her husband, Brother Alin Spannaus, traveled with Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi, and his wife, Sister Amy Jaggi, to Vanuatu.

Elder and Sister Meurs and Sister Wright visited with Homes of Hope Director Mark Roche and his team on Sunday. On behalf of the Church, the leaders donated a vehicle that will be used to support the organization’s work of providing care for girls and young women in vulnerable situations.

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Sister Spannaus worked with young women to put together care packages and provide service at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital. Elder and Sister Jaggi and Sister Spannaus met with staff of St. Christopher’s Home for children and presented the care packages.

While in Fiji, Elder and Sister Meurs, and Sister Wright, also met with the Fiji government’s minister for women, Honourable Linda Tabuya.

During their meeting they discussed topics such as how the Church could help strengthen families, the Fiji government’s focus on providing vocational training that leads to job opportunities, the challenges of seasonal workers and providing support and refuge for vulnerable women and children.

In Papua New Guinea, Elder told the youth that he had faith and confidence in them. He encouraged them to stay on the covenant path and be strong.

Sister Wright told children they were loved, trusted, and needed by their Heavenly Father (whom Papua New Guineans refer to as “Papa God”) to help in His work.

The leaders also met with women who volunteer as “Mum’s Pre-school” leaders in several Papua New Guinean communities.

Latter-day Saint children in Papua New Guinea listen to Sister Amy A. Wright of the Primary General Presidency, who was visiting as part of a ministry visit to the Pacific in September 20232023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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