News Release

Elder Rasband Calls on Fiji Prime Minister

Apostle wraps up his ministry to the South Pacific

“We have a great interest in helping your country,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka during a meeting in the capital city of Suva on Monday, March 25, 2024.

“This is the first time that the Church has met with the prime minister, so it was an important event,” said Elder Rasband. “Perhaps most humbling and thrilling for me was at the end of our interview, he asked me to pray with him.”

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He continued, “We prayed for this country, we prayed for its citizens I prayed for him” to be guided in making good decisions for the citizens of Fiji.

During the meeting, the prime minister expressed Fiji’s gratitude for the ongoing humanitarian efforts provided by the Church of Jesus Christ to those affected by natural disasters and to those in need.

Elder Rasband asked the prime minister to consider additional opportunities for collaboration in Fiji and invited him to stop in Utah for a few days during a future visit he may make to the United States. 

“You think about what our Church can do to help the country of Fiji and we will give a very serious consideration,” Elder Rasband told the prime minister.

The Apostle said his grandson had served as a Latter-day Saint missionary in Fiji. “We have missionaries here like my grandson and others from all over the world to serve in your country to do good.”

This was the second government meeting on the Apostle’s schedule. He also visited with the prime minister of Samoa last week.

People of the Pacific

“What stands out most are the wonderful people that I’ve met,” the Apostle said as he concluded his 10-day ministry to the South Pacific with the government visit. “I’ve grown closer to the people.”

In addition to government meetings, Elder Rasband, a special witness of Jesus Christ, ministered to Latter-day Saint leaders, members, missionaries and youth in Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji.

About 2,000 Latter-day Saint youth and adults gathered at a devotional in meetinghouse in Apia, Samoa.

“We need you,” Elder Rasband told the audience, including many Saints seated outside the chapel. “Be a witness. That’s what we need.”

Students from Sauniatu Primary School in Samoa on Friday, March 22, 2024. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns and operates the school. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Apostle received a warm welcome at Sauniatu Primary School, a church-operated primary school in a village settled by Latter-day Saint pioneers nearly 120 years ago.

“Sauniatu is a sacred site,” said the senior Church leader of the global faith.

“Now, I want you to know that I love Jesus Christ,” Elder Rasband told the more than 200 students, teachers and parents who were gathered in the school’s chapel for a special program.

“My heart melted when I heard them sing,” he added.

“Every time we have leaders visit us, they give us hope. They share their love,” said Rubina Aiono, the primary school principal.

“It reminds us of the purpose of Sauniatu and why we have schools here in the Pacific,” Aiono explained. “And this is to help our children to prepare to become missionaries and help to become leaders in their community and at the same time help with the Lord’s work here in Samoa.”

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