News Release

Christmas Initiative Brings People Together in Christlike Service

Church, government and community leaders launch #LightTheWorld in the South Pacific

The Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched the “Light the World” Christmas initiative for the Pacific Area today in an event at the Church’s Administration Offices in Auckland.


Elder O. Vincent Haleck, Elder Craig A. Cardon and Elder Ian S. Ardern welcomed the Hon. Aupito William Sio, Minister of Pacific Peoples, Associate Minister of Courts and Associate Minister of Justice, as well as other guests.


"We are grateful for this day," Elder Haleck said. 

"It's really an answer to a question in the book of Matthew where Christ asked a question of the Pharisees about himself, 'What think ye of Christ?'"

He added, "Today is a very small part of the response to the Saviour's question, in the example that we give in this wonderful initiative that we hope will bring some brightness of hope to those who participate in it, to those who see it, and to those who benefit from it."

“We thank and honour our friends in the community, for all you do to bless those who are suffering, those who are in need,” he said.

Three Auckland charities represented at the event today—Auckland City Mission, Salvation Army and Monte Cecelia Housing Trust—were recognised by Elder Haleck for their ongoing service to individuals and families in need.


In support of these charities, Elder Haleck announced donations from the Church of medical, computer and sporting equipment.

Representatives from the three charities explained their organisations’ missions and expressed thanks for being invited to take part in the Light the World launch.

Salvation Army representative, Jason Bilger, said, “I can feel the heart in the room for the work we are all trying to do in the community.”

Alexis Sawyers, from Auckland City Mission, said, “I think Light the World is marvelous—so much caring and kindness.”

Elaine Lolesio, from Monte Cecelia Housing Trust, said, "We just are very thankful that our work and our mission of housing homeless families continues and now we have new friends and another community to help us help these families."

Hon. Aupito William Sio thanked the Church, the three charities in attendance and other New Zealand churches and charities for their service to individuals and families going through difficult times.

"The work that you three do, really shines a light for people in need. When people are in need of material things such as food and substance, they are also in need of hope. And I think that you three are those shining lights that provide that hope to people in need and just don't know where to go."


The Light the World initiative is a worldwide effort that invites people to serve others in Christlike ways each day from today, 1 December, until Christmas Day.

“The Saviour and His Messianic message are the foundation stones of the true meaning of Christmas,” Elder Ardern said. “Surely we must ensure that this is not overshadowed by tinsel and twinkling lights.”

He added, “We hope that by serving one another over the Christmas season, we will sow seeds that will grow into habits of service in the days and years that follow.”

Watch videos, download a service advent calendar and learn more about the initative here.

Each day of the initiative has a theme. The theme for today is taken from Matthew 10:8, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”

Watch a video on today’s theme.


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