News Release

Church and Diplomatic Leaders Discuss Faith, Hope and Helping

Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder K. Brett Nattress, First Counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency, attended a Christmas luncheon with senior members of the diplomatic corps in Wellington, New Zealand on 17 December.

Members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wellington, New Zealand. 17 December 2020.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Ardern was accompanied by his wife, Sister Paula Ardern, and Elder Nattress was accompanied by his wife, Sister Shawna Nattress.

"We are grateful for you and your governments for allowing missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to receive visas in order to come to your countries to serve the people," Elder Ardern said.


He explained the call of a missionary is to teach of Christ and His restored gospel, and to invite all to come unto Him. “In addition,” he said, “they are to give service to those in need.”

Elder Ardern continued: "Our missionaries love the countries, where they serve. They arrive and soon learn a new language, grow to love the people, respect and adopt the culture and enjoy the food. They return home, forever changed, and forever friends to the countries they served in, and their citizens.”

Elder Nattress thanked the diplomats in attendance, and others in their governments, for helping the Church repatriate missionaries after the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact countries around the world.

The guests discussed the effects of the pandemic on the citizens of their respective countries, and ways that governments and churches can work together over the coming months to help individuals, families and communities recover from the pandemic.

Elder and Sister Ardern, and Elder and Sister Nattress presented to each diplomat a gift from the Church, a small replica of the Bertel Thorvaldsen sculpture, "The Christus."

Left to right: Elder Ian S. Ardern; Sister Paula Ardern; His Excellency Jesus "Gary" Domingo, Philippines Ambassador to New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

"Everything we do," Elder Ardern said, "is motivated by our love for the Lord Jesus Christ. We invite all to come unto Christ ─ to 'come and see,' to 'come and hear,’ and to 'come and feel.'"


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