News Release

Apostle Ministers to New Zealanders, Visits Temples

Elder Ulisses Soares, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares have just completed a ministering visit to New Zealand.

On Wednesday 25 May they headed across the Tasman Sea to visit with Australian Latter-day Saints.

Elder Brent H. Nielson and his wife, Sister Marcia Nielson, are accompanying Elder and Sister Soares.

Members of the Pacific Area Presidency of the Church, and their wives — Elder Ian S. Ardern and Sister Paula Ardern; Elder K. Brett Nattress and Sister Shawna Nattress; and Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita and Sister Tazuko Yamashita — are hosting Elder and Sister Soares, and Elder and Sister Nielson.

Here is an overview of their visit to New Zealand.

Youth Devotional – Saturday, 21 May 2022


More than 1,000 teenagers attended a youth devotional held in Auckland, New Zealand, with some young people arriving three hours early to ensure they had the best seats to see and hear Elder Ulisses Soares and the other speakers.

The devotional was broadcast to Church meetinghouses filled with youth across New Zealand and Australia.

Elder Soares told the story of an airplane which tragically crashed into the Andes mountains. The pilot did not heed warnings to change course, instead, he relied on his own expertise. Tragically, the plane crashed, killing all on board. Elder Soares likened this experience to the opportunity that each person has, to listen to warnings from prophets of God to avoid the dangers of life.

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen thy heart,” Elder Soares said.

“The Lord is the best source to help us fly at the right altitude.”

Paraphrasing a verse in the Book of Mormon, Elder Soares invited the young people to “Go and do what the Lord has asked you to do. Light the lives of others.”

He offered a blessing on the young people of New Zealand and Australia to “have the courage to represent Jesus Christ.”

Elder and Sister Soares, Elder and Sister Nielson, and members of the Pacific Area Presidency, and their wives, responded to questions from youth during the devotional. Questions focused on how to know one’s true identity, how to know if God is really there, how to learn more about and follow Jesus Christ, and how to help family members and friends.

Special Multi-Stake Conference – 22 May 2022

Members and friends of the Church in Panmure, Auckland attended a special conference on Sunday which was broadcast to meetinghouses across New Zealand.

In his remarks, Elder Soares said, “Walking in the light of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, prevents us from walking in darkness, because darkness and light cannot walk together.”

Elder Soares encouraged people to study the messages of living prophets, “starting with a study of President Russell M. Nelson. We can see modern miracles in our lives when we follow the Prophet.”

He promised those who would study and heed the words of prophets: “You are going to feel your heart filled with strength. As we follow the prophets, our lives are happier, less complicated...our difficulties and problems are resolved or easier to bear.”

“Following the prophets shows something about our testimony,” he said. “It shows the measure of our conversion and our testimony.”

Sister Rosana Soares speaks at a multi-stake conference in Auckland, New Zealand on May 22, 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Soares said, “President Nelson really loves you. He is full of optimism and energy. He’s 97 and sometimes comes into a room running. The gospel has made him energetic – he could be spending his time with grandchildren, but he chooses to follow the Lord and what the Lord asks him to do, and he is blessing the entire world. He prays for you and thinks about you. I am a witness of his love for you because I am with him every week. I hear his discussions and feel his love for you.”

As a first-generation member of the Church, Sister Soares had never experienced studying scriptures and praying together as a family. When she and her husband married, the couple created their own traditions of studying and pondering the scriptures to “hear God’s voice, know His words and come to know Him better. “

“The scriptures are a book of answers,” Sister Soares declared.

Elder Brent H. Nielson, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy of the Church, talked about the role of prophets and apostles in helping individuals, families, and communities to navigate the challenges of life, including the pandemic.

He shared a story of how missionaries were approved to use smartphones just a few weeks before COVID-19 impacted billions across the globe. “Prophets of God can see what’s coming and help us make adjustments so we can continue to do the work of the Lord.”

He said that missionaries have been able to continue to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, using smartphones, during lockdowns and other restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Sister Nielson shared a story of an elderly couple at a crowded airport food court. The husband had a tray of food, and his wife was on the other side of the room at their table. They did not know where the other was until she whistled and he recognised the sound. Sister Nielson said this reminded her that the Lord Jesus Christ wants to speak to each of us individually, but we need to be ready to “hear Him.”

Auckland New Zealand Temple Construction Site and Missionary Training Centre – 22 May 2022

On Sunday afternoon Elder and Sister Soares and their party visited the construction site of the Auckland New Zealand Temple and the adjacent Missionary Training Centre.

They saw the recently arrived cornerstone of the temple and received an update on the progress of construction.

Hamilton New Zealand Temple and Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Centre – 23 May 2022

On Monday, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, Elder Brent H. Nielson and Sister Marcia Nielson, received a traditional Māori welcome - pōwhiri - from the people of Ngaati Maahanga in Hamilton, New Zealand.

A tour of the Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Centre included the ‘Sacrifice and Consecration’ exhibition, which tells the story of faithful labour missionary volunteers who built a school and a temple to the Lord in the 1950’s.

A visit to the newly renovated Hamilton New Zealand Temple and an interview for the Church’s Pacific Newsroom completed the day.

Sister Tazuko Yamashita, Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, Elder Ian S. Ardern, Sister Paula Ardern, Sister Rosana Soares, Elder Ulisses Soares, Elder Brent H. Nielson, Sister Marcia Nielson, Elder K. Brett Nattress and Sister Shawna Nattress in front of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. May 20222022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Hamilton temple closed in 2018 for renovations and will open to the public for tours from 26 August through to 17 September 2022. The temple and its grounds will be rededicated (blessed) on Sunday, October 16, 2022, by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

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