President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met Monday with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as he reached the midway point of his nine-day Pacific ministry visits to seven countries.
During the meeting, President Nelson expressed his condolences to Ardern for the terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch in March. The attacks killed 51 dead and another 50 injured. President Nelson also told Ardern the Church would be making contributions to the mosques to help them repair.
Elder O. Vincent Haleck, Pacific Area President, added, “We’re clearly sensitive to what happened there and our hearts were broken when we heard about the tragedy that took place and the loss of life and so the Church is reaching out … to lend a hand, to be there for our brothers and sisters who are another ethnicity and another religious group.”
President Nelson arrived in Wellington to meet with the prime minister after speaking to a capacity crowd Sunday evening at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. His wife, Wendy, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan, are traveling with him.
From Wellington, the prophet traveled to Auckland where a devotional at Spark Arena will be held Tuesday evening that will be broadcast to all congregations in New Zealand. Prior to the devotional, the senior Church leaders will meet with missionaries in Auckland in a chapel located next to the Missionary Training Center. The meeting will be broadcast to all missions in the Pacific Area.
Hundreds of Latter-day Saints greeted President Nelson in Kona, Hawaii, last Friday on the first stop of his visits. From there he traveled on Saturday to Apia, Samoa, for an outdoor devotional and meetings with government and faith leaders. Other scheduled stops include Suva, Fiji; Nuku‘alofa, Tonga; and Papeete, Tahiti, where the prophet will attend a 175th-anniversary cultural program celebrating the arrival of the first missionaries to French Polynesia.