News Story

Elder and Sister Ardern Attend Worship Services in Timaru, New Zealand

Local Church members welcome visitors

Over the last few days, Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been visiting members, missionaries and friends of the Church in central and southern parts of New Zealand. He has been traveling with his wife, Sister Paula Ardern. The following message was written by Elder Ardern after they attended worship services today (Sunday 17 January) in Timaru, on New Zealand's South Island.

As an 'add on' to the Wellington Mission Tour which Sister Ardern and I just completed, we made a trip to Timaru, in the Dunedin Stake, to attend Church with the Saints in that area.

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Bishop Victor Paea faithfully serves as the bishop and his wife teaches the "Come Follow Me" lesson to the adults, and what a well prepared lesson on the restoration of the Church she presented today.

Isaiah described Latter-day Zion as a tent or a tabernacle secured by stakes (see Isaiah 33:20; 54:2).

The Lord establishes stakes for “the gathering together” of His people and “for a defense, and … a refuge” from the world (Doctrine and Covenants 115:6).

We had to laugh a little when we thought of our wards in the stakes as hospital wards for the spiritually ill and were glad we are getting the ‘treatment’ we need.

The Stake Presidency cannot be in all places at all times and therefore they call high councilors to assist them in the work.

Today we saw Brother Demetrius Turketo, as a member of the Dunedin High Council, drive north for just over two hours to share the love and message of the Stake Presidency with members of the Timaru Ward, and he did a marvelous job.

Every Stake President calls 12 high priests to form the stake high council (see Doctrine and Covenants 102:1; 124:131).

Members most often see high council members speaking at a sacrament meeting (the idea that they must speak each month is a remnant of the past) but their responsibilities go far beyond that. For example, the stake presidency assigns a high councilor to each elders quorum in the stake.

As invited or assigned, high councilors attend bishopric and ward council meetings.

The stake presidency may also assign high councilors to instruct people in their responsibilities for temple and family history work and missionary work.

As if that were not enough, the stake presidency assigns high councilors to work with the stake Young Women and Primary organizations.

As announced in a recent change, they also assign a high councilor to be the stake Young Men president, and another to be the stake Sunday School president.

As you can see, the members of the Stake high council are busy and there are some tasks I have not mentioned.

I express my gratitude for the work they do and the support they receive from their respective wives and children.

Sister Ardern and I are grateful for our visit to the Timaru Ward, for the doctrine taught and the welcoming smiles and kindness of the members.

It is a small ward but one big in spirit and love, which they showed during our visit...and thank you for the delicious refreshments which followed the meetings.

Elder Ian S. Ardern

Pacific Area President

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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