News Release

Church Leaders Teach New Zealanders and Australians How to Love and Lift Others

Two apostles and other leaders testify of Jesus Christ in two countries on one day

President M. Russell Ballard and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with local leaders of the Church in New Zealand and Australia on Saturday 19 May.


President Ballard is Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 

The leaders were accompanied on their visit by Elder Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy and the members of the Pacific Area Presidency, Elder O. Vincent Haleck, Elder Craig A. Cardon and Elder Ian S. Ardern. 

In two meetings in two countries the visiting Latter-day Saint authorities spoke to local congregational leaders from the lower half of New Zealand's North Island, and South Island, as well as leaders from congregations in Sydney.

In Wellington the leaders greeted and shook hands with all in attendance, one by one.

President Ballard shared a question that he and other senior Latter-day Saint leaders have been asking the Lord and themselves for some years: "How do we get the Gospel from the minds of our people deeply into their hearts sufficiently to feel the urgency to reach out to serve one another as Jesus Christ showed?" 

As leaders in congregations, we are "ministering for the Lord Jesus Christ," he said.  

"We are shepherding one another, and loving one another, along the covenant path. We are learning how to love as Jesus did."


Speaking of the weekly worship service held in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses around the world each Sunday, President Ballard said: "Sacrament meeting can be a time we come to the feet of Christ, in a sense, and worship Him." 

"We can ask others to 'Come see, come worship with us.'"

He promised, "If our youth have spiritual experiences in sacrament meetings, they will be stronger."

He added, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of love, of repentance, of forgiveness, of changing lives for the better."

"Each soul is very precious, particularly to the Saviour. As we minister to each individual, one more soul is embraced by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Elder Stevenson talked about a recent adjustment in the way Latter-day Saints minister to each other and those who are not members of the Church as a "higher and holier way."

"We are the Church of Jesus Christ," he said, "so our ministering should be as He has ministered."

He added, "As we learn of Christ, follow Him, and become like Him, we will minister to each other in His way."

Elder Stevenson talked about the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon, "how their hearts were knit together in love, mourning with those who mourn, comforting those who stood in need of comfort."

Elder Carl B. Cook made the connection between personal faithfulness and service to others. 

Quoting Jesus Christ in the New Testament, he said, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

Elder Cook encouraged those in attendance at the Wellington meeting to study the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, to learn how to most effectively help others today.  

"If we are to serve Him and serve others around us, we must read of Him, ponder about Him, and reach out, feel, perceive, weep, and heal in His name."

Elder Haleck spoke about the relationship between the doctrine of Christ and ministering to one another. 

"Christ taught His doctrine with words and with action," he said.

"As we read from the Book of Mormon every day the Lord will bless us with spiritual insights that will help us minister to others."

Elder Cardon said that "God has invited us, through His prophets, to seek revelation as we look to help each other."

"I cannot adequately describe my love for my Saviour," he said. "My mother helped me recognise the feelings I had as a child, as being from God."

Elder Ardern said, "Service to others increases the feelings of the Holy Spirit."

He added, "I testify to you that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I read from it daily and it enriches my life. It will do the same for you. I love you and am glad to serve with you."

Also in attendance in the Wellington meeting were Elder David J. Thomson, Elder Allistair B. Odgers, Sister Peggy Haleck, Sister Deborah Cardon and Sister Paula Ardern.

Sister Peggy Haleck told those at the Wellington meeting, "We are children of a loving Heavenly Father and He has given us a plan. His Son Jesus Christ will help us make ourselves right before we return to our Father."

Sister Deborah Cardon said, "Ministering is absolutely powerful. How can I help others? I've received answers to this question from the Lord, in thoughts and feelings. The Holy Ghost is our friend. Love is the answer to all of this. Pray, plead for charity, we will feel that and have that blessing."

Sister Paula Ardern said," I know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ. Ministering will bless the Church, each of us, and others."

In question and answer sessions in both cities, the visiting leaders responded to queries about how to follow Jesus Christ by more effectively ministering to others.

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