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Elder Andersen Brings Message of Faith, Hope and Love to New Zealand

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Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is visiting the South Pacific this week, accompanied by his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen.

Elder Neil L. Andersen in Wellington, New Zealand. 6 November 2022.

They visited Wellington, New Zealand this past weekend—meeting with leaders, members, missionaries, and friends of the Church. This week they will go to Fiji and Australia.

“You are the defenders of the faith,” Elder Andersen told leaders of Latter-day Saint congregations from Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay to Dunedin, in a meeting on Sunday morning, 6 November.

Leadership meeting Wellington 6 November 2022

“The testimony of Jesus Christ, to a large extent, will rest upon your shoulders. There are other good people in this country, but your responsibility, and mine, is to pray deeply that the spirit of the Lord will be with us so we can understand what we can do to lift and strengthen our brothers and sisters, help those coming into the Church, and those not in the Church, to come to Jesus Christ.”

“Let us be prayerful,” he continued. “There is a great power in a person’s individual faith. It can move people and give them hope when times are difficult.”

“If you look closely at what is happening in the world you will see what the Lord is doing to prepare His people. The role of covenants becomes much more important to the disciples of Christ as we come to the wrapping up days of the world.”

Elder Andersen said that temples help us to “delight in truth, denounce deception” and live the gospel of Jesus Christ more fully.

Speaking of men and women, Elder Andersen said, “In the eyes of God, we are all equal.”

“Our daughters should feel our great sustaining influence, and they should be encouraged to be all they can be. This Church is as strong as it is because of the great contributions of the women of the Church.”

He expressed a desire that each person will feel God’s love and that this love will inspire greater faith and obedience.

Leaders of congregations NZ 6 Nov 2022 Wellington

Referring to teachings of President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Andersen said, “As we let God prevail in our lives, we won’t care more about the things of this world than the things of God.”

Quoting his fellow Apostle, Elder Quentin L. Cook, who recently quoted from one of his ancestors, Heber C. Kimball, Elder Andersen said, “The time will come when no man or woman will be able to stand on borrowed light.”

He added, “There is an effort that we must make with our children, our new members, and others, to learn to pray to God, to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ for themselves. We must help them to find that light and what it means to feel the impressions of the Holy Ghost. Each person must choose for himself or herself. We want them to have a lantern to guide them, to love Christ, and to want to follow Him.”

“We need the Holy Ghost with us, and we need to teach our children how the Holy Ghost works, and how miracles work. For we who are believers, when we experience miracles and see the Lord’s hand in our lives, we can then share these experiences with our children and others. We become more open with our spiritual experiences. We need to guide our children with this kind of teaching.”

He continued, “The experiences, the moments, the powerful, undeniable, inexpressible experiences that have been mine have brought to me a sure and certain witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He is resurrected. He is the center of all humanity. Our faith is just what we say it is. He will come again, and every person will confess that He is our Savior and Redeemer. I share my love for you and my great appreciation for who you are and who you are becoming, as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ.”

In his remarks, Elder Taniela B. Wakolo of the Pacific Area Presidency, invited all to “come to the sacrament,” and to “come as you are.”

Area Seventy, Elder Allistair Odgers, said, “Our whole purpose is to invite everybody to turn to Jesus Christ for healing and forgiveness.”

One attendee at the leadership meeting, Amy Brunton, from Levin, said, “I felt the importance for us to feel the Savior’s love personally in our lives, and to help others to feel His love as well.”

Amy Brunton. 6 November 2022.

Another leader from a New Zealand congregation, Mereana Pari, said, “There is an urgency for us to make sure we are spiritually connected, increasing our faith in Christ, and helping our young people to build on their foundations of faith.”

In a meeting with missionaries later in the day, Sister Kathy Andersen expressed their love for the missionaries for their preparation in coming to the meeting.

She shared her testimony of Jesus Christ and of her husband’s calling.

Elder Andersen invited missionaries to study the words Jesus Christ spoke during his mortal ministry, as found in the New Testament, “so you can have his words deeply in your hearts and minds, and never forget them.”

He called The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus of Jesus Christ “a manual for drawing closer to God.”

Elder Andersen discussed with the missionaries some of the doctrines and principles of Jesus Christ—such as faith, repentance, forgiveness, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ—taught in specific chapters of the Book of Mormon.

New-Zealand-Wellington-Mission-6-November-2022.JPG

Later that evening, members and friends of the Church from across Wellington came to hear Elder and Sister Andersen speak at a devotional which was broadcast to Church congregations across the country.

After reading from the final four verses of Alma Chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon, Elder Andersen said, “We have to have faith in Jesus Christ; we need to be diligent, putting in the effort every day; and we have to be patient, never giving up.”

He added, “Tonight, I want to assure you of your faith. You are the Lord’s. You have faith in Him. You are doing your very best. Is there something you could do better? You will know better than I will, as you spend time on your knees in prayer.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen speaks to members and friends of the Church in Wellington, New Zealand. 6 November 2022.

Sister Andersen shared an experience from 40 years ago when she received an envelope from Sister Camilla Kimball—wife of President Spencer W. Kimball—containing journal entries by President Kimball’s physician, Dr Russell M. Nelson—who is now the president of the Church. The journal excerpts shared some of the journeys and experiences of President and Sister Kimball in the South Pacific in 1976. Their tour included a cultural event and an Area Conference in Hamilton, New Zealand.

President Kimball was unwell when he arrived in New Zealand and he needed to rest on the evening of the cultural event, which was to have 3,000 young people from across the country performing for President and Sister Kimball.

Sitting up suddenly in his bed, President Kimball told Dr Nelson to tell Sister Kimball that they were going to the cultural event. As they drove into the stadium, Dr Nelson’s journal states that “there was a very loud shout that erupted spontaneously” from the thousands assembled. Those in attendance knew who had arrived, and they also knew that the petition of the young man who prayed at the beginning of the event that President and Sister Kimball would be able to come, had been answered.

Sister Andersen said these journal notes, this account, and the faith of the people of New Zealand have strengthened her own faith in Jesus Christ.

Sister Kathy Andersen Wellington NZ 6 Nov 2022

After the devotional, many of the more senior members of the Church in attendance told Elder and Sister Andersen that they were at the cultural event in Hamilton in 1976. They were grateful to hear that their experience had touched the life of Sister Andersen, on the other side of the world, as she was looking for ways to build faith among young people close to her.

Elder Andersen concluded with his testimony: “Jesus is the Christ. He lives. Our faith in Him will take us to Him. He will lift from us those things we cannot lift ourselves. With all the love I can express, my fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, I share that He is the Son of God, the Redeemer, the Only Begotten of the Father. Every living soul who has ever lived or will live in this world will kneel at His feet and confess he is the Christ.”

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