Building for Eternity

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita is Second Counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this commentary, Elder Yamashita shares some of his feelings about the members of the Church in the Pacific Area. In particular, he writes about New Zealand’s “labour missionaries,” who sacrificed much to build the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, the Church College of New Zealand, and many other Church buildings across New Zealand. “How I love the New Zealand labour missionaries,” he writes. “I thank them from my heart for their contributions, for their sacrifice, for their consecration, and for their legacy of faith and righteousness.”

I recently had the blessing, along with my dear wife, Sister Tazuko Yamashita, to meet with many former “labour missionaries” of the Church, at the launch of a special exhibit at the Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Centre in Temple View, Hamilton, New Zealand. The exhibit is called: “Sacrifice and Consecration: The Lord Builds a People for the Temple.


I was so touched to meet these individuals, couples and families ─ and a number of their descendants. The labour missionaries served with such great faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and with such devotion. Many of them have gone on to raise children and grandchildren; and to serve and lead nobly in their congregations and communities. The stories in their homes, over the years, are no doubt influenced and coloured by their experiences as labour missionaries in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

As we met together in beautiful Hamilton, over a chilly weekend in the late Autumn month of May 2021, our hearts were warmed by the sight and closeness of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. What a joy it was to share, teach, testify, sing, pray and listen together ─ with the temple so close by. Truly, heaven was near, as we gathered, worshipped and learned together, in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Adding wonderfully to the warmth of our experience were the stories which were shared by many in attendance. Stories of faith, stories of family, stories of building. Building a temple, building a school, building a community. Yes, all these are precious and magnificent. But, they have also been building memories. Building connections one with another. Some are family connections, sealed in the House of the Lord for eternity. And others are everlasting friendships, which are strong and loyal.

These labour missionaries have also been building faith and hope for a brighter future, based on understanding and living by the teachings of Jesus Christ, and His prophets and apostles. How I love the New Zealand labour missionaries. I thank them from my heart for their contributions, for their sacrifice, for their consecration, and for their legacy of faith and righteousness. May the Lord bless each one of them, and their families, and all who associate with them.


As we look ahead, we know that the extensive renovations to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple are close to completion. When the temple is ready, and the First Presidency announces dates for a public open house and rededication, New Zealanders and visitors will have the opportunity to tour the temple, and then, after the rededication, to worship, learn and serve there again. For many younger and newly baptized Church members, they will have the opportunity to worship in the temple for the first time.

While the temple is being renovated and prepared, what about us? Are we “renovating” and preparing ourselves? With the Lord’s help, are we making changes, here and there, in our own lives? Are we seeking to be a little kinder, a little humbler, a little gentler, a little better? We all have a wonderful opportunity to prayerfully consider what we will do now to prepare to enter the temple in the months ahead, and to qualify for the blessings that the Lord has in store for us. These blessings will be ours, not only when we can once again worship in the temple, but also as we become a little more like our Saviour each day, as we prepare ourselves.

We can learn about our families, and do some research, so we can take a family name, or names, to the temple. If you lack experience in doing this, ask your Heavenly Father for help, then ask someone close by in your family, your neighbourhood or at church who can assist. There are many who will help us, if we ask them.

We can also prayerfully consider and seek heaven’s help to invite relatives, friends, class-mates, work associates and neighbours to come with us to the temple open house. What a remarkable opportunity we will have, to walk inside a magnificent House of the Lord with our dear family and friends! Experiences will be informative, relationships will deepen, and faith will increase.

As I reflect upon the powerful and lasting example of our labour missionaries, and as we look to the temple, I pray that we will love our Father in Heaven with all of our hearts. May we follow His beloved Son Jesus Christ, seeking to “hear Him,” and walk in His light.

May we all keep building for eternity, is my humble prayer.

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita

Pacific Area Presidency

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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