News Release

Elder and Sister Nielsen Say Farewell to their Friends in the South Pacific

After three years of service, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, of the Seventy, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Wendy Nielsen, bid farewell to the peoples of the Pacific this week.

The Nielsens arrived in New Zealand in July 2014.

Elder Nielsen served for the last three years as a member of the Church’s Pacific Area Presidency. He will continue to serve in leadership assignments at the Church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Upon receiving the assignment to serve in the Pacific, the Nielsens were very excited.

“When the words came out of President Eyring’s mouth that we were called to the Pacific Area, I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude,” Elder Nielsen said. “Thinking about the diverse cultures and open-hearted people we would come to know and love was very exciting for me.”

Sister Nielsen was equally thrilled. “I felt like I had just won a prize! I was ecstatic to think about living in an area I had always dreamed of visiting.”

Three years later, the Nielsens feel that their assignment in the Pacific has become more meaningful than they could have ever anticipated.

“I will be eternally grateful for the blessing of these three years living in paradise,” Sister Nielsen said. “It has been even more beautiful, uplifting and adventurous than I ever imagined. The best part is the hearts and souls of the loving and devoted people we have been privileged to know and love.”


Elder Craig A. Cardon, of the Seventy and second counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency, expressed love and appreciation to the Nielsens during their three-year ministry.

“They both lead with their hearts. Sister Nielsen is constantly looking for the good in others and assisting those in need. Elder Nielsen is genuinely interested in others and loves to make lasting connections.”

Sister Nielsen has accompanied Elder Nielsen on many of his travels in the Pacific Area and has enjoyed speaking to members and friends of the Church across the region.

“I am changed forever because of the heavenly lessons I’ve learned from each individual I’ve met and loved here,” Sister Nielsen said.

The Nielsens will always be remembered for their contagious smiles and loveable personalities.

“Through their love, we have been able to better feel and recognize the Lord’s love,” Elder Cardon said.

Elder Nielsen expressed he will always remember the Pacific people’s caring hearts and willingness to do anything to brighten up another’s day.

He hopes the people of the Pacific will remember him as someone who deeply loves the Lord.

According to Elder Nielsen, the Church’s Pacific Area has seen significant improvements over the past three years as members have worked together to build up the Kingdom of God.

“My hope is that every member will continue to pray to have someone put in their path each day that they can influence in a very positive way, ultimately being able to share their testimonies of the restored Gospel with them,” Elder Nielsen said.

by Newsroom Contibutor Paesha Tuttle

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