News Release

Terry and Gail Oakes Say Farewell to Pacific Area

Area Director for Temporal Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr A. Terry Oakes, and his wife, Mrs Gail Oakes, said farewell to the people of the Pacific region yesterday during a special devotional meeting in Auckland, New Zealand.

Mr and Mrs Oakes, originally from Utah in the United States, have been living in New Zealand for the last two and a half years as Mr Oakes has directed the temporal affairs work of the Church in New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and the islands of the South Pacific. This includes the Church’s construction, welfare and humanitarian programs, among others.

Mr Oakes has supported and worked closely with the Pacific Area Presidency of the Church, also based in Auckland, during that time.

Mr Oakes first came to New Zealand when he was a 19-year-old missionary for the Church. He says the country and the whole Pacific region are dear to his heart.

“It is here, 49 years ago, that I learned from the people how to serve others, and how to love unconditionally,” he said.

Mrs Oakes thanked the staff and missionaries in the Pacific Area Administration Office in Auckland, as well as all the Latter-day Saint leaders and members throughout the Pacific. She expressed how grateful she and her husband are that they have had the experience to live here and to make so many friends.

The Oakes also lived for several years in Hong Kong before this assignment, when Mr Oakes was Asia Area Director for Temporal Affairs. He has also worked in other Church assignments including Managing Director for the Welfare Services Department. Mr Oakes was instrumental in coordinating the Church’s disaster relief and other humanitarian efforts after Asia’s Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, and Japan’s 2011 tsunami.

In his remarks today, Mr Oakes emphasised the importance of being aligned with the Lord, Church leaders and each other. He also stressed how important it is to wisely manage the resources of the Church for the benefit of God’s children.

Pacific Area President, Elder Kevin W. Pearson, expressed love for and appreciation to the couple as they prepare to leave for the United States in the next few days.

Upon the couple’s return to the United States, Mr Oakes will retire from Church employment after 31 years of distinguished service.       

Mr Oakes’ successor as the Latter-day Saints’ Pacific Area Director for Temporal Affairs, Mr Brent Buckner, was also introduced and welcomed at the devotional today. He and his wife, Mrs Debbie Buckner, are from the United States. 

Mr Buckner has many years of experience working for the Church, including being Director for Temporal Affairs in Europe, North America Northeast, and North America Southeast.









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