News Story

Church Members Thank Elder and Sister Ardern as They Leave for New Assignment

Elder Ian S. Ardern has served in the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the last five years—three of those years as President.

Elder Ardern, often accompanied by his wife, Sister Paula Ardern, has travelled throughout the Pacific Area during this time, listening, loving and lifting in large cities, towns and villages.


As the Arderns prepare to leave New Zealand to travel to Africa so Elder Ardern can begin his assignment as a member of the Africa Central Area Presidency, some Latter-day Saints have shared their feelings about the couple. Here are some of their comments.

“Shawna and I are so grateful for Ian and Paula Ardern. They are outstanding teachers, effective leaders and dear friends. Their influence for good has blessed the Pacific Area in countless ways. This is evident in the smiling faces of the individuals and families that they have touched through their ministering efforts. They will be greatly missed. We love the Arderns!"

Elder K. Brett Nattress, Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“The Pacific Area, especially New Zealand, has been blessed to have Elder Ardern serve and lead the Lord’s work. He is a great example to our young men and young adults of one who has been faithful and serves his God. We have seen him not only as an authorized leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also as a man who loves people. We wish him and his beautiful wife well, in their next assignment with the people of Africa.”

Judith Flavell, Auckland

"I am so grateful and blessed to have met Paula, and for the opportunity to serve with her in New Zealand. She is a woman with a tremendously big heart. Her heart is as forgiving as the ocean. She is also a wonderful and intelligent teacher and mother who loves to study the gospel. I have often felt that she is a wonderful wife who is loved and relied upon by her husband. Thank you.

Tazuko Yamashita, Salt Lake City, United States

“Paula is a student of the scriptures. She memorises the verses that are most meaningful to her and can call on them when she sees the application. She also remembers and quotes from General Conference addresses and prophetic statements. I recall many class situations where she referred to a past statement or teaching of one of the brethren. Each time I was impressed with her memory and her application of the principle. Paula is calm and measured in her responses. Her wisdom comes from years of experience and her humble attitude. She never seeks the limelight. But when she speaks, it is always worth listening. One of the first things I heard Elder Ardern say about his wife when I came to the Area Office was that Paula is so calm and steady. She is without a doubt his confidante. Time and again I have seen him get news—good or bad—and if appropriate, the first thing he does is call Paula. Every day he has been in the office over the last 18 months, if at all possible, he has dropped everything at noon and headed out of the office to walk home and have lunch with her. They are a solid team. She is kind and sensitive. She has made me feel welcome. We discovered that we are distant cousins, and she often calls me ‘cousin.’”

Eva Garlick, Auckland

“Elder Ardern has been a wonderful example not only to myself but thousands of others across the Pacific Area. He lives up to the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, ‘Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.’ One such example of this is how Elder Ardern can be focused on his work and can be tap, tap, tapping on his keyboard, recording his thoughts to an important email, when suddenly entering his office, he would stop what he was doing and immediately focus and put all his attention on you, the receiver. This is a habit he has had for the many years that I have known him. Elder Ardern has given of his time on many countless occasions, is an exemplary leader with a meticulous mind to detail. We love Elder Ardern and will miss him leading in the Pacific Area, the people of Africa will be equally blessed for the service Elder and Sister Ardern will bring to their lands.”

Ora Ngakuru, Hamilton

“Without exception, Elder Ardern has shown a willingness to help and bless our families, our mission and our testimonies. Not one phone call every ended without us feeling better about our efforts. We will miss their love and guidance in our behalf.”

President Brad Markus and Sister Susan Markus, Fiji Suva Mission

“Elder and Sister Ardern have greatly influenced our lives for the better, their kindness and generosity with their time and wise counsel has always lifted our spirits. It was in 2018 that we spent several days together during their tour of the Fiji Suva Mission. Elder and Sister Ardern having served previously as mission leaders of that mission were such a strength and inspiration as they shared their experiences of the area. The missionaries were truly inspired by their teaching which had a lasting effect on their service and increased their faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Elder John Higgins and Sister Naomi Higgins, Hamilton

“The Arderns are a positive and friendly couple who exemplify a very simple yet deep commitment and understanding of the gospel. They provide hope to those who are spiritually down in the way they demonstrate the simple and loving way of following the teachings of the Saviour. They seem to have a skip of delight and joy as they walk and talk. I have been blessed tremendously through Elder Ardern’s example and leadership as Area President. I will miss them but delight to know I will meet them at General Conference time.”

Elder Paul Whippy, Area Seventy, Fiji

“We can’t let you leave without expressing our sincere love and appreciation for all your kind support and Christlike example. We will always be grateful for our friendship as we have shared some of our journey with you both and always received your support and wise counsel, which has meant a great deal. You will be missed. May you both continue to be kept safe and enjoy this new opportunity to continue ‘making a difference’ in all the lives you influence for good as true disciples of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God bless you both.”

President Garrick Parr and Sister Susan Parr, New Zealand Auckland Mission

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