Dear Family & Friends: We are having so many new and exciting adventures to tell you about. We get up around 5:45am and go as fast as we can until bedtime, learning our new responsibilities and having a peek at this BEAUTIFUL country. We hope in this blog we can express how blessed we are to testify of Jesus Christ and serve Him in this amazing corner of the world! HAERE MAI* to our blog, we're glad you are visiting us!.....(*This means 'WELCOME' in the Maori language)

Friday, June 29, 2012

'Come & See' with Jonah Lomu


Featured Story —  18 June 2012

'Come and See' Gatherings Help Those Looking into Mormon Faith



AUCKLAND, New Zealand  — 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regularly holds special meetings especially for those who are not of the faith but who are interested in learning about the beliefs and practices of Mormons. 


In New Zealand these events are often called ‘Come and See’ firesides. ‘Fireside’ is a Latter-day Saint term for a church meeting where Christ-centred messages are shared by speakers and through musical items. 

Last night [17 June 2012] in Mangere, Auckland, such a gathering attracted a large number of Latter-day Saints and their friends. Among the speakers were Jonah and Nadene Lomu. Jonah Lomu was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earlier this year in Wellington. 


The Lomus spoke about how their faith in Jesus Christ and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are helping them personally and as a family. 
Lomu said that despite some of the choices of his youth, he always remembered what his mother had instilled in him, especially that he needed to pray to the Lord for guidance. 
He said that missionaries from the Church helped answer questions he had been asking for many years and that he and his wife felt that the gospel was right for them and their family.
Read more about Latter-day Saints’ beliefs at www.mormon.org and at www.jesuschrist.lds.org.    

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Purpose of the Missionary Training Centre (MTC)

How do Mormon Missionaries Begin their Service?

Auckland, New Zealand — Before you see them in your neighbourhoods or talk with them on the street or in your home, young missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spend a few weeks in any one of 15 missionary training centres worldwide. These places, sometimes called MTCs, are designed to help young men and women prepare for the next 18 months to two years of their lives.

 MTC President Nelson Bleak

 "The purpose of the MTC is to help new missionaries feel and know the Spirit," says Nelson Bleak, President of the New Zealand Missionary Training Centre. "A lot of training takes place out in the mission field, but there is one specific thing that is learned more effectively at the MTC, and that is acquiring a knowledge of the Spirit." 

He adds, "In the MTC, the missionaries don't have to worry about food, or a place to sleep, or about the pressures of the outside world. For a period of time, they have the opportunity to focus just upon becoming closer to God, getting to understand how the Spirit works through them and how they can relate to the Spirit when they are serving and teaching others." 

President Bleak's wife, Sister Terry Bleak, assists in the training of the new missionaries. "In the MTC," she says, "the missionaries strengthen their faith, increase their knowledge of the doctrines and scriptures of the Church and then learn the skills of missionary work." She continues, "Missionaries are taught to invite others to come unto Christ. They are taught to serve others, to be helpful, to be considerate. After about three weeks of study at the MTC, they go out to their missions and are assigned to trainers who will help them further." 

President Bleak adds, "In just a few short weeks, they leave here somewhat polished, somewhat shined up, and ready to leave the temporal things of the world behind for a while, in order to be a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ." 

 "It is often said that miraculous changes occur in young missionaries while at the MTC, and we have seen that happen here." 

 In 2011 the New Zealand Missionary Training Centre trained over 540 missionaries who came from countries all over the world. There are approximately 55,000 Latter-day Saint missionaries serving worldwide. 


 President Nelson, and Sister Terry Bleak

President and Sister Bleak are from Panaca, Utah, in the United States. They have 11 children. Before their service at the New Zealand Missionary Training Centre they were missionaries in the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission for three years where President Bleak was mission president.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Caledonia celebrates Church growth

Elder Hamula creates first stake for the Pacific nation
Published: Saturday, June 2, 2012
NOUMEA, NEW CALEDONIA
Before organizing the Church's first stake in New Caledonia on May 27, Elder James J. Hamula noted that the day "marks the coming of age of the Church in New Caledonia."
New Caledonia, a territory of France, is part of Melanesia, an area of the South Pacific stretching from New Guinea to Fiji, and is more than 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) east of Australia. "Latter-day Saints and all of New Caledonia will be blessed as the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and embraced by more and more people," said Elder Hamula of the Seventy and president of the Church's Pacific Area.


James A. Tatton and Lyle W. Parker, the first young elders to serve in New Caledonia 40 years ago, visit with Yo-Min and Maria Ngkwaig-Chow.

During his remarks Elder Hamula noted that President Thomas S. Monson, then Elder Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve, visited New Caledonia on May 2, 1968.
"On a hill not far from here looking out across the bay and upon the city of Noumea," Elder Hamula said, "President Monson stood with a few others. He offered a prayer unto heaven, and invoked the blessings of heaven upon this great land, and dedicated this land to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Here we are, these many years later, and we see the fruit of that prayer. I know the Lord loves you and He loves this land as well, and I know this is just the beginning."
The new stake, the Noumea New Caledonia Stake, includes 2,000 members and eight meetinghouses.
Church leaders called Georgie Guidi to be the first president of the stake, with Marc Mocellin and Thierry Gorodey as his counselors.

Elder James Hamula of the Seventy and president of the Church Pacific Area creates the first stake the New Caledonia.
"The organization of this new stake is not only for members of the Church, it is for all people of New Caledonia," President Guidi said. "Our most important mission will be to preach the gospel and all its principles to the people of New Caledonia, which will bring happiness for them, for their families, and in their work environments and communities."

Some 800 members gather in Noumea, New Caledonia, where Elder James J. Hamula created a stake May 27.
The conference was attended by 800 Church members. In addition, Philippe Gomes, the former president of New Caledonia; Sonia Lagarde, a member of Congress; and Helene Iekawe, a member of government, also attended the stake creation, which was covered by local television and newspaper reporters.

Elder James J. Hamula meets a new member, Edmond Doumai. He is the chief of the island of Ouvea.Elder James J. Hamula meets a new member, Edmond Doumai. He is the chief of the island of Ouvea.
The stake was created more than 50 years after the first small congregation was organized in New Caledonia in October 1961; the first chapel was built on the island 11 years later.
In 1969, James A. Tatton and Lyle W. Parker became the first young missionaries to labor in New Caledonia. They traveled to the country for the creation of the first stake.
Now returning after 40 years, the returned missionaries were amazed at the growth of the Church and were grateful to be reunited with Church members and friends.
Church members, Yo-Min and Maria Ngkwaig-Chow, were especially eager to visit with Brother Tatton and Brother Parker. The Ngkwaig-Chows remembered meeting the men many years ago while they were serving as missionaries. The couple visited with the missionaries on the street and the elders gave them a historical book about the Mormons. But, at that time, the law restricted missionaries from preaching the gospel, so after visiting for a few minutes the missionaries and the Ngkwaig-Chows went their separate ways.
But Brother and Sister Ngkwaig-Chow were impressed with the young elders and a seed was planted. Six years later, the law changed and two other missionaries knocked on their door. They felt the Spirit, welcomed the teachings of the gospel, and were soon baptized.
During the conference session, Elder Hamula lauded the early missionaries and compared them to the young missionaries of today.
"You will see a difference in age, but you will not see a difference in dedication," he said. "These missionaries represent the commitment of the Lord to New Caledonia. They represent all the missionaries who have come and made sacrifices in their lives to bring the gospel to the people of New Caledonia."
 President Georgie Guidi

 Sister Rachel Guidi

 Elder Hamula, President Guidi, Elder Tarati

 Congratultions!

Reception Following Conference with opinion leaders and media, including former President Gomes of New Caledonia, (on left).

Following is a brief history of Church growth in New Caledonia.
1943-1946 — First members in New Caledonia were servicemen stationed there during WWII.
1946-1950s — No known Church activity until the 1950s, when a few Tahitian members migrated there to work in the nickel smelter.
Oct. 21, 1961 — Noumea Branch organized with Teahumanu Manoi called as president. The branch became part of the French Polynesian Mission.
1960s Missionary work was delayed for many years because of visa restrictions and opposition.
May 2, 1968 — Elder Thomas S. Monson stood on a hill, (Mount Coffyn), overlooking the city of Noumea and the ocean and dedicated the land of New Caledonia for the preaching of the gospel. Among those present were the French Polynesian Mission President Karl M. Richards and Noumea Branch President Teahu Manoi.
July 15, 1968 — The first missionaries, a married couple, Harold and Jeannine Richards, arrived along with their daughter.
Nov. 16, 1968 — First baptism in New Caledonia, Etienne Sun, then 13.
Jan. 20, 1969 — Elders James A. Tatton and Lyle W. Parker became the first young missionaries to enter New Caledonia.
Dec. 24, 1972 — Noumea Branch meetinghouse was dedicated.
June 1975 — New Caledonia and the Noumea Branch were transferred to the Fiji Suva Mission.
May 1976 — Noumea Branch was divided and the meetinghouse was enlarged.
1977 — Creation of the District of New Caledonia. District includes the two branches of Noumea, and the branch of Tontouta.
February 1982 — The government lifted its quota on the number of French missionaries and granted permission for four non-French missionaries to enter. Church membership doubled by 1992.
2002 - Membership reached 1,631.
January 2011 Church membership was 1,949, with 8 branches and 1 district.
May 27, 2012 — Announcement of first stake with Georgie Guidi called as first stake president.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Talking Football with Bronco Mendenhall, BYU Football Coach


Bronco's dad served a mission in New Zealand as a young man, and later became the mission president in New Zealand.  He is on a tour of New Zealand with his parents and is speaking at a series of young, single adult firesides.

First LDS Stake Organized in New Caledonia

First Latter-day Saint Stake Organized in New Caledonia

NOUMEA, New Caledonia — 
The first New Caledonian stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized today.
Presiding at a special conference in Noumea, Pacific Area President Elder James J. Hamula said "today marks the coming of age of the Church in New Caledonia."
"Latter-day Saints and all of New Caledonia will be blessed as the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and embraced by more and more people."
Elder Hamula told the members and guests at stake conference today: "It was on May 2, 1968 that Thomas S. Monson, the current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came to New Caledonia."
"On a hill not far from here looking out across the bay and upon the city of Noumea," Elder Hamula said, "President Monson stood with a few others. He offered a prayer unto heaven, and invoked the blessings of heaven upon this great land, and dedicated this land to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
"Here we are, these many years later, and we see the fruit of that prayer. I know the Lord loves you and He loves this land as well, and I know this is just the beginning."

A stake is a Mormon term for a group of congregations in a geographical area, similar to a diocese in other Christian churches. The Noumea New Caledonia Stake comprises around 2,000 members who worship in eight chapels.
In October 1961 the first small congregation of New Caledonian members was organized, and 11 years later the first chapel was built.  
Georgie Guidi was called to be the first president of the Noumea New Caledonia Stake today, with Marc Mocellin and Thierry Gorodey called as his counselors.
"The organisation of this new stake is not only for members of the Church, it is for all people of New Caledonia," President Guidi said.
"Our most important mission will be to preach the gospel and all its principles to the people of New Caledonia, which will bring happiness for them, for their families, and in their work environments and communities." 

 The chapel was bulging, and other rooms in the building, plus the parking lot, were set up with chairs and sound system

 Beautiful music (as we have found in all the islands we have visited)

 President Georgie Guidi

 Sister Rachel Guidi - she is also our National Director of Public Affairs for New Caledonia

 Pacific Area President James J. Hamula greeting members after the conference

 Members congratulating President Guidi

 President Guidi welcoming former President of New Caledonia, Mr. Gomes, to the conference

 Mr. Gomes saying thank you and that he is a friend of the Church

 Government officials and opinion leaders who attended the conference

 Local television station interviewing Elder Hamula

 Interviewing President Guidi.  That night there was a very positive segment aired on the evening news, and three articles, one a full page article, appeared in the main newspaper.