News Story

Elder and Sister Nattress Move on to New Assignment After Five Years in the Pacific Area

“We will miss them so much, but the legacy of their service will continue for years.”

Elder K. Brett Nattress, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been serving as a member of the Pacific Area Presidency for the last five years. The last year he has been the Pacific Area President of the Church.


At a special devotional in Takapuna, Auckland on Tuesday 27 June, Elder Nattress and Sister Shawna Nattress spoke to employees and missionaries at the Church’s Pacific Area Administration Offices. The meeting was broadcast to Church offices across the Pacific Area.

Elder Nattress thanked Sister Nattress; his counsellors, Elder Peter F. Meurs and Elder Taniela B. Wakolo; and their wives, Sister Maxine Meurs and Sister Anita Wakolo. He also expressed love and appreciation to all who have supported them over the last five years.

He spoke of the beauty of the Pacific Area, but said that the people he met and friends made will have a lasting impact on him.

“He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata! (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people!),” Elder Nattress said, quoting a Māori proverb.

Elder Nattress read his favourite scripture to the devotional attendees, which quotes the Prophet Joseph Smith recounting his First Vision.

Elder Nattress said, "I stand with the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in that sacred grove."

He also bore testimony of the prophetic calling of President Russell. M. Nelson, that he is the Lord's chosen prophet for our day.

Quoting Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Nattress said, “Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

He encouraged the members of the Church in the Pacific Area to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, keep partaking of the sacrament weekly, and worshipping in the temple as often as possible.

Sister Shawna Nattress expressed her faith in Jesus Christ and her love for the peoples of the Pacific Area.

Elder and Sister Nattress have made many friends across Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the island nations and territories of the Pacific.

Leaders, members, missionaries and friends of the Church across the region who have met Elder and Sister Nattress attest to their devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, and their love for the people.

Elder Peter F. Meurs, First Counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency, and the leader who will succeed Elder Nattress as Pacific Area President, said, “Elder K. Brett Nattress has been a much loved inspirational, humble and powerful leader in the Pacific. He constantly testifies of the Saviour. He teaches with clarity and simplicity. He has a gift for using graphics and video materials to teach and illustrate, to lift thinking and increase understanding. He is always outward focussed, never drawing attention to himself. He counsels with his counsellors and follows the direction of the prophets and apostles with exactness.”

Elder Meurs continued, “He has been a powerful advocate of the Area Focus—Strengthening Faith in Jesus Christ, gathering all to the Sacrament where we remember and make covenants with Him and Gathering all to His Temples. This focus is understood and remembered through the Pacific. Its simplicity and completeness is powerful.

“Sister Shawna Nattress is equally loved and appreciated. She teaches with power and tenderness. We all love the spirit she brings to the work and her delightful sense of humour.”

Elder Meurs added, “Elder and Sister Nattress have touched and blessed our lives in so many ways. We will miss them so much, but the legacy of their service will continue for years.”

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a fellow member of the Pacific Area Presidency, said, “Anita, Jasmin and I are so blessed to have the privilege of learning from Elder and Sister Nattress. They are amazing and loving ministers, teachers and testifiers of the truth. Their love for the people of the isles of the sea is magnificent.”

He continued, “We have enjoyed and learnt so much from our one year together. They are masters at simplifying teaching to the understanding of the people. The simplified area focus, with pictures of Christ, the temple and using the palms of your hands to teach prayer, reading the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, partaking of the sacrament every Sunday, and service, are their unique ways of such simplified teachings.”

Elder Iotua Tune, an Area Seventy from Kiribati, recalls meeting Elder Nattress when he visited Kiribati for the first time. “I was impressed by his unique smile and his ability to listen and connect with people. I could not remember exactly what he said during that initial meeting but all I could remember was the impression I had of his genuine love for the Lord and the people. The people of Kiribati just loved him!”

President Mark Messick of the Church’s Port Vila Vanuatu Mission recounted: “At the temple groundbreaking in April 2023, Elder Nattress delivered a most powerful and Spirit-filled talk before giving a prayer that filled every soul from the Prime Minister to the young children with joy and hope for what would happen with the Port Vila Temple construction. Equally touching was that following the ceremony, Elder and Sister Nattress took the time to meet with, rejoice with, and be photographed with each of the more than 300 present. This went on until well after the setting of the sun after what was a long day of travel, heat, effort and care for others. We have seen this same love and care for others manifest as the Nattresses have ministered to and taught the missionaries across our mission.”

President Richard Gordon of the Brisbane Australia Temple recalls how Elder and Sister Nattress ministered to those in the temple during a visit there. “These tender moments of ministering were so appreciated by the saints and often meant an extension, delay or change in Elder Nattress’s already very busy agenda,” he said.

Sister Kim Smith, an Area Organisation Adviser with the Church from New Zealand, said, “Elder and Sister Nattress service to the people in the Pacific is an expression of their love for the Saviour. I’m really grateful for the sacrifice they have made to be away from their family and from their grandchildren and it is because they love the Lord and because they love the Lord, they love us, and I’m so grateful for that.”

Sister Megan Kendall, who serves as a mission leader with her husband, President John Kendall, in the Marshall Islands / Kiribati Mission, said the members of the Pacific Area Presidency are “very, very busy, but they never let a moment go by without spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's an eye opener for sure to see it in action. Both Elder and Sister Nattress are innately kind and loving. They are wonderful examples of never giving up through really challenging circumstances.

Sister Sauimalae M. Chu Ling, Leader Member Support Coordinator for the Church in Samoa, said, “I would classify Elder Nattress as a true tranquil “Polynesian Vogue”. He blended in well with our people, our culture, and our traditions. His love for our people in the “isles of the pacific” was explicitly professed through his tender and thoughtful testimony of Christ, which moved the hearts of many.”

Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch, Church History Manager for the Pacific Area, said, "It has been a blessing to have had the opportunity to work alongside of and learn from Elder Nattress. It has strengthened by testimony of Church leadership and how they serve with love and devotion to the Saviour Jesus Christ."

Gold Coast Latter-day Saint, and former stake president (leader of several congregations), Dan Shine, said, “We were blessed to have him visit our family at home. He asked our parents to share their conversion stories and it was a really sweet experience for our children to hear the paths that led their grandparents to know Jesus Christ. Elder Nattress taught powerfully about simple practices that draw us closer to the Saviour. He was only here for a short time but we all remember the spirit as he encouraged us to draw closer to Jesus Christ through temple ordinances, by praying sincerely, studying our scriptures and partaking of the sacrament.”

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