News Release

Elder Ardern Dedicates Student Dormitory in Fiji

Focus of the facility is to provide environment for the building of faith in Jesus Christ and leadership potential

Elder Ian S. Arden, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated a new dormitory at the Church’s college in Tamavua, Fiji on Thursday 14 July.

In his remarks to students, Elder Ardern reminded them of why they are at the school. “Your purposes are to get a quality educational experience; to develop self-reliance, both spiritually and temporally; to have strong families; to strengthen the Church; to provide future leadership for the Church in your country; and to understand spirituality.”

"We need good leaders in your countries, and here in the dorms you learn to lead. You must take responsibility for the path you need to take, " he told the young people.

Principal Cheryl Bhan said, “In January 2020 when the doors of this beautiful dormitory opened, we welcomed a total of 54 students arriving from many lands and nations—32 girls and 22 boys.  Each of the students in the dorms represents the very different cultures and languages of Melanesia who have come together here in pursuit of education.”

The dormitory, which can accommodate up to 100 students, was opened in 2020 to provide accommodation for students from Melanesian countries such as Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

Many Church leaders feel that this project was the answer to the dedicatory prayer for the school that was offered by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland 46 years ago. In the prayer, he said:

“It is in thy holy name that we are gathered here, in this island of the sun, in this great crossroad for man, east and west, north and south, where we sit in beauty and splendour of the people, from many lands and nations of every colour and climate, who come together in harmony, even as the great tribes of Israel, each with his and her differences, each with his and her own spirit and past and future, coming together in colour and in language and in culture like the beauty of the rainbow which blends and beautifies the sky for all who see and observe.”

Jennifer Lalulu, a Year 13 student from Vanuatu who has been boarding at the college for three years, said, "Coming to Fiji to be educated was a great blessing for me and my family."


Ashton Hota of Papua New Guinea said that the dorms were home to him and the other Melanesian students for two and half years. "Two important features of our life in the dorms were the daily Come, Follow Me gospel study program and student devotionals. It is said that the Missionary Training Centre (MTC) prepares us for serving a mission and mission prepares us for life. I must say that life in the dorms prepares us for the MTC and mission as this place has helped build my testimony."

In closing, Elder Ardern told the students, faculty, Church leaders, and guests at the dedication that he had first visited Fiji in 1992. "I have seen a lot of changes over the years but what has not changed is the beauty of the people of this country."

Elder Ardern’s new assignment in Africa begins in August 2022 where he will be the Second Counselor in the Africa Central Area Presidency, based in Nairobi, Kenya. 

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