Elder John H. Groberg, an Emeritus General Authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encouraged young men and women preparing to embark on missionary service to "become like the Saviour."
He spoke to the group at the Church's Missionary Training Centre in Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday December 30, 2012.
Elder Groberg related many of his missionary experiences in Tonga while serving as a missionary in the 1950's. He spoke of his struggles to learn the language, adjust to the food, the hot weather, homesickness and a culture to which he was not accustomed.
As with his own experiences, he told the missionaries that they would be blessed as they remained obedient and followed the counsel of their Church leaders.
“I feel strongly to tell you to always strive to have the spirit of the Lord with you," Elder Groberg counselled the missionaries. “Search out the one, and ask the Lord for help to find someone who wants to change.”
He related an experience of a woman whom he had introduced to the Church when he served his mission. She raised a family of 12 children (eight boys and four girls), all of whom served as missionaries for the Church.
The Tongan missionaries in the group sang a song entitled 'Folofola Mai ‘a Sisu' during the gathering. According to one participant, "Their beautiful voices added to the spirit of the meeting."
Earlier in the day he attended a sacrament meeting (worship service) with members of the Taulanga Ward (Tongan-speaking congregation) in Takapuna, Auckland.
Elder F. Michael Watson of the Church's First Quorum of the Seventy and a member of the Pacific Area Presidency, along with his wife Jolene, accompanied Elder Groberg, and his wife Jean and daughter and son-in law Gayle and Craig Teuscher.
"I'm confident that the members of the Taulanga Ward were strengthened spiritually as they listened to Elder Groberg speak to them in the Tongan language," Elder Watson said.
Elder Watson expressed the condolences of the Pacific Area Presidency to the family of Sister Eluasi Navae Noe Sola Motuliki, who passed away on Christmas Day. At the time of her passing she was serving as president of the Taulanga Ward Relief Society (women's organisation).
Elder and Sister Groberg and their daughter and son-in-law visited New Zealand after spending several days in Tonga over the Christmas period.