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There were many obstacles to early missionary work in the Pacific, but the period since has seen almost spectacular growth. President David O. McKay placed new emphasis upon missionary work, and the young men and women of the Church responded by filling missions in considerably greater numbers. Active missionary work was commenced in Fiji during the mids. Since that time the work there has progressed remarkably well among the half-Fijian and half-Indian population of that nation. The Fiji Mission differs from others of Oceania in that its people are generally not Polynesian, but Melanesian, Indian, and Micronesian.

Suva, Fiji, is the focal point of activity in this mission. Here the first of several chapels was constructed during the late s. Also an elementary school has been operated by the Church for a number of years, and on a beautiful hillside overlooking Suva the new LDS Fiji Technical College is being built and is scheduled to be dedicated in February The Saints of Fiji expect this school to be the cradle of missionary expansion throughout Melanesia. It is expected that Fiji will not only be the foundation of missionary work in Melanesia, but will also be the launching place for missionary work in India.

This mission is now teaching the gospel in ten languages and actively translating Church materials into six languages. Among those languages is Hindi, an important Indian language. It will be a great advantage to missionaries who are called to India some day to have the scriptures and other Church materials available in the language of the people they are teaching.

The Indian Saints of Fiji may one day provide some of the missionaries to take the gospel to India. The stakes and missions of the Pacific have prepared the young local people to proselyte their own countries, and, unknown to most members of the Church, they are now doing most of the missionary work in Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji.

The mission presidents of Samoa and Tonga are local brethren, converts to the Church, and past stake presidents. In French Polynesia the mission president, although born in France, has been a resident of Tahiti for a number of years. Other mission presidents and Regional Representatives in the Pacific and Australia are also local Saints. Possibly the most important contributing factor in developing strong Church leaders in this area is the educational system of the Church. The first educational efforts by Latter-day Saints in the Pacific took place under the direction of Louisa B.

Pratt, as she taught her own daughters and some native children. In our missionaries opened schools for Maori children in New Zealand. At the turn of the century there were ten such schools. The first Church schools in Tonga were opened in They, like the schools in New Zealand, were very small and very simple. Similar schools were founded in Samoa soon after the mission opened.

By there were twenty schools and pupils, with eleven paalangi white and twenty-seven Samoan teachers. Schools were prominent in these villages. Not only did the band entertain Elder David O. McKay and his companion, Elder Hugh J.

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Cannon, when they visited there in , but the American consul in Samoa also called upon this band to play on important occasions. Similar bands were organized elsewhere in Samoa, in New Zealand, and in Tahiti. Elementary schools are still contributing much to the growth of the Church today in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and French Polynesia. The Church has also developed several model high schools in the islands. The first two Church high schools were founded and operated outside of the organized Church school system. The curriculum was similar to that of American high schools but emphasized agriculture, manual arts, and other practical skills.

Other high schools were founded by missionaries and Church leaders in Tonga and Samoa. In August President M. The Makeke school was officially opened in February with Samuela V.

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Fakatou, a graduate of the MAC, as teacher. It was operated for more than two decades. In February , a new Tongan high school called Liahona was opened. A large system of elementary schools has also been developed. In Samoa three Church schools have been particularly important.

Your island guide to the South Pacific

They are Mapusaga, which was sold to the U. The effects of the Church schools in the Pacific will be felt for generations to come. At the end of , over 5, students were enrolled in Church elementary and secondary schools in the Pacific. The Liahona High School construction project brought a new but temporary Church program into operation. Because he was having difficulty in finding skilled workmen, the Tongan Mission president decided to call a group of young Tongan men on special labor missions. Liahona High School was just the beginning of this program that blessed many branches with new and beautiful chapels while it provided vocational training for hundreds of young men.

Although this program is no longer followed by the Church, many families live well because the heads of their homes learned skills through this program. Not only were chapels constructed all over the Pacific through the building missionary program, but a temple was also constructed in New Zealand.

When temples are built in a land, it signifies that the Church has developed beyond the individual convert and family branch stage, beyond the branch and district stage, and is ready for complete local responsibility, as in the stakes of Zion. When President McKay announced the planned construction of the New Zealand Temple in , there was not a stake in that land.

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The mission president, Ariel S. Ballif, and the local district leaders determined that they would make every effort to be ready for the creation of a stake as soon as possible. Councils were organized, training sessions were carried out, missionaries were removed from all branch and district positions where possible, and greater effort was given to spiritual preparation for the responsibilities of a stake. It was the first stake to be organized outside of North America and Hawaii. Similar progress was also being made in other parts of the Pacific. In March the first stake in Australia was created; in Samoa obtained its first stake; Tonga obtained its first stake in September ; and in March , the Tahiti Stake was organized.

There are now twenty-eight stakes in the South Pacific. Western and American Samoa are the first national-racial areas in the world to be totally included in stakes. One of the main factors in the development of stakes was the decision of mission presidents in all of these areas during the s to remove missionaries from branch and district positions so they could proselyte full-time.

As a result, the local members came forward and did the work, and the missionaries were free to seek new converts. The First Presidency of the Church and the General Authorities are greatly loved and revered by the peoples of the islands of the sea.

Travel to the South Pacific

The visits of members of the Twelve, such as Elder David O. McKay in and Elder George Albert Smith in , are still remembered as special and sacred occasions in the histories of these missions. New Caledonia Cruise Tips. Best Time to Cruise. South Pacific Cruise Packing List. Pictures From a Pacific Islands Cruise. By: Joanna Hall, Cruise Critic contributor. Adamstown Pitcairn Island. Bora Bora.

South Pacific islands, month by month

Champagne Bay Vanuatu. Christmas Island.