News Release

Fiji Young Adults Spiritually Lifted at Five-Day Conference

"S.M.I.L.E. Spiritually minded is life eternal" theme resonates with young people as they seek answers to life’s challenges.

A five-day conference for young single adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Suva, Fiji was so joyful and uplifting, the organisers had a difficult time getting participants to go home when it ended.

“We couldn’t get them on the bus,” one volunteer leader said, laughing, “because no one wanted to leave!”

Asinate Joyce Tagilala, Senikau Rokobuli and Atelaite Vesikula are ready to participate in the Fiji Young Adult Conference held in Suva, Fiji on 7-11 January 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The conference, held on 7-11 January 2023 at the University of the South Pacific, brought together more than 280 young people, ages 18-35 years.

Activities were based on the conference theme: “S.M.I.L.E. Spiritually minded is life eternal.”

The aim was to help participants strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, better serve their communities, overcome life’s obstacles, and form lasting friendships.

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a member of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Anita, attended the conference. They were joined by Elder Paul B. Whippy, Area Seventy, and his wife Olive.


During a devotional, Elder Wakolo encouraged the young people to strengthen their covenant relationship with Jesus Christ.

Elder Wakolo quoted from 1 Corinthians 14:10, “there are… so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.”

“None of those voices sound so clear, but the world including you and I, need the voices of prophets, seers and revelators.  They are the voices that sound so clear and distinct in their teachings and unwavering testimonies of the Saviour. They are the voices that inspire us to come unto Him.”

He then asked, “What did President Nelson invite each member of the church to do, in his first appearance as prophet and President of the Church?”

‘Keep on the covenant path!’

Elder Wakolo urged the young people to keep their commitment to follow the Saviour, by making covenants with Him.  He promised that “keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere.”

“You and generations yet unborn will be blessed by your actions now, to return to the covenant path. That is an eternal equation for S.M.I.L.E.”

“Consider the implications of your life’s choices,” continued Elder Wakolo.  “Many of the choices you make in life doesn’t only impact you, but will impact multiple generations, especially your posterities.”

Pleading with the young people, he said, “Please remember President Nelson’s invitation and promised blessings. 

Elder Wakolo continied, "This is why we have the 'Pacific Area Focus;' the Savior, shepherding families and individuals to the ordinance of sacrament and to the ordinances of the temple. They will help us to stay and keep on the covenant path."

“I was grateful for Elder Wakolo’s remarks about our theme, ‘Spiritually Minded is Life Eternal [or] S.M.I.L.E.,' that it also works reading it in reversal word order Eternal Life is being Mindful of our Spirituality,” Sili Toganivalu, a conference participant said.

Elder Paul B. Whippy urged young people to seek to live more Christ-like lives, asking them to consider, what would a holy young single adult do?”

Elder and Sister Wakolo and Elder and Sister Whippy led two panel discussions. One panel included local Church leaders and their wives and the other was made up of young single adults.

Elder and Sister Wakolo were lifted and inspired by the energy and righteous desires of the young adult participants. 

Elder Wakolo observed, “They come from different backgrounds and each has a different spiritual capacity, but they have the desire to be at the right place at the right time.”  

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a member of the Pacific Area Presidency and Sister Anita H. Wakolo lead a panel discussion for young adults in Suva, Fiji.

Before the conference, participants were given the opportunity to submit written questions and concerns to be discussed by the panellists.

Young people voiced their gratitude for the panels because they addressed the issues troubling them.

“I was not really planning on coming,” said Irene Diloi.My questions about missionary service and the temple have been answered. I am grateful that I came.”

Adarsh Pillai also voiced his appreciation. “I enjoyed the panels and the devotional. I have been strengthened in my faith in Jesus Christ. This [conference] has helped me to put the Lord first.”

Pita Toganivalu said, “I learnt that this gospel is one of transformation, making us men and women into the eternities.”

Conference director, Lote Qima, was grateful for the powerful effect the event had on the young people.

Qima shared that on the final day, one of the young people "gave me a big bear hug" and "expressed his gratitude."

Qima said that during the five days of conference, the young man had "experienced a spiritual awakening, which he had never felt before."

"He told me that he had never been sure about anything and had no direction in his life... He promised to return home, clean up his act and go serve a mission.”

"That’s what these conventions are all about." Qima said. "They help bring our young people to Jesus Christ to allow Him to heal their broken hearts, bind up their wounds, and lift them on His shoulders. What a privilege it is to witness His power in action.”


The Fiji Times newspaper reported on the young single adults cleaning up the Suva Foreshore and Suva Point, and serving in the temple. The article can found here.

Other conference activities included a carnival, a talent show and a dance.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.