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News Story

Young Fiji Mormons Hold Annual Conference

'We Are Steadfast and Immovable, and We Love It!'

While the whole of Fiji was busy with plans for street parties and village gatherings, over 200 young Latter-day Saints from all over Fiji gathered in Nadi for their annual regional conference on 31 December 2013 to 2 January 2014.

The theme for the conference chosen by the young single adults was, “Steadfast and Immovable Mormons, We love it.”

This, one participant said, was to remind them all “they can be steadfast and immovable in their faith amidst all the challenges they face as young single adults.”

President Solomoni Kaumaitotoya, stake president of the Lautoka Fiji Stake, told the young people in his opening remarks “that faith had brought them to Nadi.”

On arrival the youth were divided into one of 15 ohanas or families, complete with a “father” and a “mother,” who were youth leaders.  All activities were carried out in ohanas to help the young people mingle and make friends with people from other parts of the country.

After everyone was put into a family the members chose names for their ohanas and also painted banners with logos. These were displayed at the “Mormon Olympics” that were held at a Nadi pool that same afternoon. 

A hike over the table top mountain on the Nadi road to the Nausori Highlands was a highlight of the conference. Attendees were woken at 5am to board the bus at 6am so they could travel over an hour to the foot  of the mountains where they then walked over three kilometers to reach the top of the mountain.  After breakfast they all took part in a devotional atop the mountain.

The view from the mountain top was spectacular as the hikers could see the whole of Nadi and the Mamanuca group of islands. Here they reflected on what they had accomplished in 2013 and set goals for 2014.

Elder Taniela Wakolo of the Seventy, who presided at the devotional, spoke to the hikers about dating, courtship and marriage. He reminded the youth that they needed to move from “friends tu ga” (just friends) to serious, clean relationship that may lead to courting.  He also encouraged the young people to not settle for anything other than a temple marriage.

He invited the young people to each obtain a copy of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, a document written by prophets and apostles that sets forth Latter-day Saint beliefs regarding marriage and family.

Elder Wakolo also invited the young people to demonstrate good manners with each other, and to communicate well with their parents, and the parents of the young person they are dating.

One particiapant from Suva, Vito Qaqa, expressed his gratitude for “the beautiful scenery and the beautiful places the Lord had blessed the island with.”

Elder Walker of Savusavu told the group that “everyone could see the mountain but it took one step at a time to get them to the top.”  He reminded the hikers that they needed faith in every footstep to achieve their goals and to draw closer to God.

On their return to Nadi they carried out a service project for a local hotel, cleaning its pool, wiping walls, picking up rubbish and cleaning gardens. The hotel staff were very appreciative of the project.

The “Young Talent Time” which followed that evening saw each of the 15 ohanas sharing a song , a cheer and an item. Shouts of laughter rang through the halls as the young people shared their talents.

On the final day the programme was titled “Fill your Lamp,” based on the parable of the ten virgins. Leaders were assigned to take roles of the foolish and wise virgins.

In his comments at the end of the conference Elder Taniela Wakolo invited participants to make a change in their lives based on what they felt in their hearts as a result of their attendance. 

“I invite you to act,” he said.

He highlighted missionary service, education (including the Latter-day Saint scripture class for 18 to 30 year-olds, called “Institute”), and serving others in the home, at church and community.

Tina Sovasova of Samabula Ward (congregation) said it was “a wonderful camp, though the hike was challenging.”

Kirti of Lautoka added that the conference “was inspiring and a great experience.”

Young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all parts of the world use school vacation time to join in educational workshops, cultural presentations, service activities, pioneer treks, dance festivals and spiritual discussions. At these summer conferences, young men and young women connect to learn more about each other and the beliefs they share. 

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