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Church President’s South Pacific Tour Begins, Local Members Look Forward To Arrival

May 16, 2019, 10:31 PM | Updated: May 21, 2019, 5:38 pm

SAMOA — President Russell M. Nelson’s historic south pacific tour is now underway with his first stop in Kona, Hawaii. There he is meeting with thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He will then be making his way to Samoa where anticipation is building among the 82,000 members that live on the Island. According to church membership statistics, about 42 percent of the population are Latter-day Saints.

KSL TV’s own Dan Rascon is in Samoa where he is gathering stories and getting reaction to President Nelson’s visit. The time difference is 19 hours ahead of Salt Lake City, so President Nelson will be arriving there on Saturday afternoon Samoa time to speak to a crowd of about 10,000 people. He will speak to them at a setup in a huge field next to the Apia Temple.

Robina Kaio Aiono, who is a school teacher of one of the Church’s schools, says her students along with the  members can’t wait for his visit.

“They sing about the prophet, they pray for the prophet, they speak of the prophet, they learn about the prophet — and so it is a blessing for Samoa to actually have the prophet come here,” said Kaio Aiono.

The last time a president of the Church came to Samoa was President Gordon B. Hinckley in 2005.  79 year old Noe’ai Sa’u said she’s glad she has lived long enough to see another president visit their country.

“I’m so glad that I’m able to live up to the day of his visit. I’m looking forward to what he’s going to tell the people of Samoa,” she said to Rascon.

On Sunday May 19th President Nelson will travel to Sydney, Australia for a two-hour devotional with members at the convention center in the picturesque Darling Harbour to all congregations in Australia.

On Monday he travels to Auckland, New Zealand for a historic visit with the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Adern was thrust into the world spotlight recently after the horrific and deadly mosques shootings that left 50 people dead in the city of Christchurch in March.

On Wednesday the 22nd he travels to Suva, Fiji, then to Nuku’alofa, Tonga and ends his trip on Friday May 24th in Tahiti.

Dan Rascon will be in New Zealand and Tonga to cover those historic events.

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Church President’s South Pacific Tour Begins, Local Members Look Forward To Arrival