News Release

Elder and Sister Rasband Meet with Melbourne Latter-day Saints

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to Church members, missionaries and friends of the Church in Melbourne on 19 and 20 November.


Elder Rasband is travelling in the South Pacific this week with his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband.

Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of the Church, and his wife, Sister Paula Ardern; and President Michael Houghton and Sister Tamara Houghton of the Melbourne Australia Mission, hosted Elder and Sister Rasband in Melbourne.


At a devotional in a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in downtown Melbourne on the evening of 19 November, Elder Rasband said, “I have two separate messages tonight. One for members of the Church who are here, and one for our friends who are visiting with us.

"Elder McPherson [the Rasband’s grandson, who is serving as a missionary in Melbourne and who attended the devotional] is the first son of our second daughter. Some of you may be first generation members in the Church. Elder McPherson is eighth generation. We are all the same to our Heavenly Father, who loves us all.”

Elder Rasband talked about Joseph Smith, saying he was the first Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “President Nelson is the 17th President of the Church,” he said.

Elder Rasband conveyed the love of President Nelson to those in the meeting, thanking them for their “willingness to follow Jesus Christ.”

"To our friends who are looking into the Church," he said, “thank you for listening.”

Elder Rasband recounted some of his and Sister Rasband’s experiences as they served in the New York New York North Mission of the Church in the late 1990’s.

“We had the privilege of starting a Mandarin language branch in New York City in 1999,” he said. “It is now a ward. It is thriving. So don’t get discouraged. When my ancestors joined the Church, there was no meetinghouse. They may have met in a home.”

Elder Rasband also spoke about temples. “Our ancestors gave up everything to be close to a temple. There are 160 temples in the world now (with another 57 announced, under construction or being renovated). This is a major message from our Prophet. We are to gather Israel on both sides of the veil.”

He added, “So many here on the earth don’t even know about Jesus Christ. They are being taught by the missionaries. Even on the other side, they are being taught by the missionaries.”

Elder Rasband explained that the work inside temples is to exalt and bless. “Live worthy to attend the temple,” he counselled. “There is peace and safety there. You can receive answers to life’s questions there.”

Concluding his remarks, he said, “We love you, and we thank you.”

Sister Rasband said, “We are excited to be here. We may have met one time before—in Heaven. We were presented two plans. One plan was Satan’s plan. The other was our Heavenly Father’s plan. Each one of us here chose to follow Heavenly Father’s plan. That’s why we came to earth to receive bodies.


She added, “We are brothers and sisters, we are sons and daughters of God. His greatest joy is for us to follow His plan.”

“I am grateful to have The Church of Jesus Christ in my life. And grateful that I was taught the gospel by my loving mother and father.”

Sister Rasband continued, “Our Father in Heaven wants us to be together in Heaven again. Jesus is the Christ, He is our Saviour, and this is His Church. With a Prophet on the earth, the blessings of temples, and the Book of Mormon, we can find our way back home.”

Elder Ardern spoke of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. “Two personages appeared to Joseph Smith. That’s when it all began."

He said that just as Joseph Smith lacked wisdom, and then asked of God as directed by James in the New Testament (James 1:5-6)—any person can do the same today.


“As we willingly engage in living the gospel of Jesus Christ, and read the Book of Mormon,” Elder Ardern said, “we will draw closer to Him.”

He said, “Jesus Christ is our Saviour and Redeemer. You are not here by accident.”

Elder Jameson McPherson also spoke at the devotional, in Mandarin.

A missionary choir sang “I Feel My Saviour’s Love” as part of the program.

The meeting was conducted by local Latter-day Saint leader, President J. Li. He said, “I was very nervous leading up to the meeting, but Elder and Sister Rasband settled my nerves with their love and warmth. Those who attended really felt that too.”

After the meeting, one attendee remarked, “I left work early tonight so I could come and hear a prophet of God. His counsel to us really touched my heart.”

Another said, “We felt so blessed to have Elder and Sister Rasband attend our small branch. I am now planning to go to the temple because of his invitation.”

At a meeting with Melbourne-based missionaries a day earlier (Monday 18 November), Elder and Sister Rasband and other Church leaders greeted all in attendance, one by one.


He recalled a trip he had taken with Elder Richard G. Scott (1928-2015) and noted that Elder Scott always stayed to shake everyone's hand. One day they were running short on time. Elder Rasband told Elder Scott they wouldn't have time to shake hands. Elder Scott said, "I will cut my talk short to shake hands. That's part of my message.”

Elder Rasband told the young missionaries, with a smile, he never again told Elder Scott they were running out of time.

Reiterating words from President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Rasband said to the missionaries, "We love you, and we thank you.” He also added, "We need you!"

"Love God, love Jesus Christ,” he said to the missionaries, encouragingly.


"There is importance in everything you do. You don't know the future of your efforts,” Elder Rasband continued. "Plant, nourish and harvest the seeds that are planted."

He added, “Heavenly Father is part of everything good you do each day.”

Elder and Sister Rasband's grandson, Elder Jameson MacPherson, was in attendance at the meeting and was asked to share his testimony.


He said that he refers to Elder and Sister Rasband as “Grammy and Pa!"

Elder MacPherson was in attendance at General Conference when Elder Rasband was asked to sit on the stand as a newly called Apostle. At that moment Elder MacPherson knew that his "Pa" was being called as an Apostle of the Lord.

Elder MacPherson said the Spirit was very strong in his home. He also said he is not serving a mission because his grandfather is an Apostle but because he, himself, loves the Lord.

After sharing his testimony in English he then shared it in Mandarin Chinese, a language he has been learning as a missionary.

"In your study of the scriptures,” Elder Rasband said, "mark all the names that refer to Jesus Christ—the Lamb of God, the Rock, the Good Shepherd, and so on.” He shared that over 200 names in the scriptures refer to Jesus Christ.

In his remarks, Elder Ian S. Ardern told the missionaries that they were first called to be a missionary. Second to that call, through prophecy, they are called to be here in Australia to bring others unto Christ.

“Humility is a component to being shaped by the Master’s hand,” Elder Ardern said. “How will your missionary service help you build a testimony that Jesus Christ is your Saviour and Redeemer?”

Sister Paula Ardern said she and her husband greeted Elder and Sister Rasband when they arrived in Melbourne. As they were walking through the airport with Elder and Sister Rasband she thought: “The people in the airport have no idea whose presence they are in—an Apostle of the Lord!”

Elder and Sister Rasband, and Elder and Sister Ardern will visit members and friends of the Church in Fiji later this week.

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