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SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson, prophet for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, set off Thursday on a nine-day ministry visit to seven destinations in the South Pacific.
President Nelson was accompanied on the trip by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Susan, according to the church’s newsroom.
They will be ministering to Latter-day Saints, friends of the faith and missionaries, in addition to meeting with high-level government and religious leaders.
President Nelson and Elder Gong are planning to briefly stop on the Big Island of Hawaii before heading to their next destinations, the newsroom said. They will be delivering a devotional at the Kona Hawaii Stake Center, which will also be broadcast for Latter-day Saints in Hilo.
The leaders will then visit the following locations: Apia, Samoa; Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney Australia; Nuku’alofa, Tonga; Suva, Fiji; and Papeete, Tahiti, according to the newsroom.
The region is home to 10 Latter-day Saint temples, with four new temples soon to be constructed in American Samoa, Tonga, Guam and New Zealand, the newsroom reported. Missionaries are serving in 17 missions and, with a growing church presence in the geographic region, known as Oceania, President Nelson’s messages will be widely received.
President Nelson will return to Utah on Saturday, May 25.