News Release

Church Leaders Urge Samoan Youth to 'Act in Faith'

“What will you do with your lives?” asked Elder James J. Hamula and Elder O. Vincent Haleck in their devotional talks to Latter-day Saint students in Samoa this past Tuesday morning (October 15).

Elder Hamula, President of the Pacific Area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder Haleck, his Second Counselor, spoke first to several hundred secondary-school students at LDS Church College Pesega and later to university-age students at the LDS Institute of Religion in Magiagi.

At Pesega, Elder Hamula said, “My message today is [to encourage you] to listen to the counsel of inspired leaders.”  He asked the students to heed the words of their parents and teachers: “When you hear, then act in faith.”

He told the true story of a young 10-year-old boy who acted in faith to follow his mother’s counsel, even when he was threatened with imminent death.  “Some decisions in life require great faith to overcome our fears,” Elder Hamula said.

He concluded, “We love you. We pray for you.  We have high expectations for you.  We know you can succeed.”

Elder Haleck quoted Christ’s response to the question of which is the greatest commandment: “…thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…” (Mark 6). He challenged the young people that one way to love God with their minds is through their studies. “You have a responsibility to learn,” he said.

He expressed a deep gratitude to his parents for sacrificing so much to give him opportunities for a good education. “This school is an opportunity and a privilege to you. The things you learn here will affect your life,” he said.

He talked about the second great commandment: “…thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” and emphasized their responsibility to give service.

At the Magiagi Institute of Religion, adjacent to the campus of the National University of Samoa, Elder Hamula told the young people that they were precious in the Lord’s sight. He quoted from the Book of Mormon: “Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea…?”

He talked about facing important challenges in life by walking in faith. He said he never expected to be called to some of the church positions he has held. He encouraged the audience to “…take each step in front of you” and “…get ready for the responsibilities that will come to you.”

He counseled the students to be diligent in their studies at both the university and at the Institute of Religion. He added that although he has forgotten many things from his university classes he has not forgotten the lessons he learned, and continues to learn, from the scriptures.

Elder Haleck spoke of learning to work while a young boy helping in his family’s business. “I value [my grandfather’s] example of the principles of self-reliance and standing on his own, and my father who taught me the principle of work.”

He encouraged the students to look for opportunities.  “Samoa is ripe with opportunities.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is practical and can give you a vision of what you need to do to bless your life,” he said.  “Look around.  Where can you be an asset?  Plant your stakes and prosper here.”

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