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How the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ Came to a Remote Pacific Island Community

Recently, a new branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was created on the islet of Kainaba in the Republic of Kiribati.

The Pacific Area Presidency approved the establishment of the congregation following strong growth over the last 18 months.

Kainaba is located off the main Kiribati island of Tarawa and is accessed via a 40 minute boat ride.

In early 2017, John Larkin, president of the Kiribati/Marshall Islands Mission, assigned Elders Peeti and Barker to live on the islet and serve the people there.

Housing was very basic for Elder Peeti and Barker, with no cooking facilities or fresh water, limited food, isolation and extreme heat.

After hearing the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ taught by these two young elders, many in the Kainaba community accepted the message and were baptized.


It was not too long before there were almost 100 members of the Church on the small islet.

Worship services were initially held in a Church member’s home but the rapidly increasing number of members necessitated the rental of a local primary school for meetings.

The small islet of Kainaba is reflective of significant growth of the Church right across Kiribati, which is now ranked 6th in the world in terms of the number of Church members per total population. Kiribati has a total population of 105,000 people and there are now over 24,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Young men and women—like Elders Peeti and Barker—who accept the call to serve as missionaries, do so at their own expense (sometimes supported by family and other Church members) for a period of 18 to 24 months.

They look for ways to serve in their community and teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to families and individuals. When they return home after their missionary service, they carry with them a deep love for the people they served.

Watch a video about former missionaries honouring the people of Kiribati.


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