News Release

New Latter-day Saint Mission Presidents from the Pacific Area Heading to the Philippines and USA

The First Presidency of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently announced that two couples from the Pacific Area will lead Church missions in the Philippines and United States for three years, beginning 1 July 2014.  

Wayne and Tracey Maurer, from New Zealand, will be based in Tacloban, Philippines; while Taniela and Anita Wakolo, from Fiji, will be serving in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. Both couples will lead, teach and support missionaries serving in their respective missions.

"This assignment is unique in many ways,” President Wakolo says. “Growing up in the Church, assignments were extended to me and my wife individually. For the call of mission president, it was extended to us.” 

He further stated, "We look forward to serving with 210 strong missionaries and 14 missionary couples in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission.” He expressed gratitude to those who have taught and assisted him over the years. “Now,” he says, “it is time to live and teach the gospel. The Church and who it is named for, our Saviour Jesus Christ, is now what and who I stand for."

President and Sister Maurer are also grateful for the opportunity to serve in their new leadership roles. "Tracy and I are humbled by the trust that has been expressed by Church leaders, and the Lord, in issuing this assignment to return to the Philippines and help in the work of salvation.”

President Maurer added: “Following the devastation of Tacloban City by the recent storm, there is a huge re-building of lives, homes, and the Church as well as personal faith and testimony. We understand Church attendance and involvement has already increased and look forward to playing our part in re-establishing the Church in this area of the Philippines."  

There are 405 Latter-day Saint missions throughout the world.  Mission presidents and their wives train and support approximately 250 missionaries in a given location.  Mormon missionaries are well recognized for their Sunday best attire, black name tags, and in some cases, bicycles. What is less known is that each of the 80,000 or more missionaries worldwide assist individuals, families and communities by teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and giving community service. 

Read more about Taniela and Anita Wakolo, and Wayne and Tracy Maurer.

Read more about the Church’s missionary program.

Watch a video about other Latter-day Saint leaders reaching out to the people of Tacloban in the wake of November 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan.


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