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Hamilton Mormons Make Most of Apostle's Unplanned Visit

Runway issues at the Vanuatu airport created the opportunity for Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to make an unplanned visit to Hamilton, New Zealand this past weekend.

Elder Christofferson addressed large congregations on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, despite the fact that many had only been notified of the impromptu visit the previous day.

When Chayce Skudder was asked why she had changed her plans on a long weekend (Monday was a public holiday) to come to listen to Elder Christofferson, she said, “Just like Jesus Christ had Apostles in his day, so do we. I want to learn from a modern day Apostle what the Lord would have me do.”

Davina Vaughn anticipated her attendance would be “spiritually nourishing” beyond any other plans she might have had for the weekend. 

“To have an Apostle visit so close to home is so uplifting to me,” said Joey David.

Over 700 people, mostly members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gathered to both the Saturday night and Sunday morning meetings to hear Elder Christofferson and other Church leaders speak.

His message was one of congratulations and love for the Church membership whose “behaviour, conduct and discipleship…shines unto the world.”

He encouraged those in attendance to show forth Jesus Christ’s light in their lives.  “We’ve seen His example, we should be able to reflect that.  Others should see the light of Christ in us.” 

Speaking of the state of society and the challenges followers of Christ face under current world conditions, Elder Christofferson said, “We can live with confidence if we bind ourselves to (Christ) through our covenants, through our actions, through our lives.”

He warned about becoming distracted from this task. “The adversary need only distract us from the best choices – sometimes even with good choices.”

He suggested Sabbath day observance, developing self-reliance, sharing the gospel message and seeking the blessings of the temple as ways to avoid distractions and centre our lives on Jesus Christ.

When asked what message stood out to him from the words of Elder Christofferson, Gavin Midgley said, “The words that really resonated with me were when he said that the Lord knows each of us individually, and that He loves us perfectly, and couldn’t love us anymore if we were His only children. Maybe I needed to be reminded of that today.”

Elder Christofferson, who was accompanied his wife, Katherine Christofferson, flew back to the United States on Sunday, after two weeks visiting government leaders, media representatives and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American Samoa, Samoa, Solomon Islands and New Zealand.

Other Church leaders who attended meetings in Hamilton over the weekend included Elder Kevin W. Pearson, president of the Church’s Pacific Area, and his wife, June Pearson; Elder Paul R. Coward and his wife, Julie Coward; president of the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, Sid Going, and his wife, Colleen Going; and president of the New Zealand Hamilton Mission, Charles A. Rudd and his wife, Annette Rudd. 

Newsroom contributor: Vicki Lee Wihongi

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