“Conference in Fiji,” Ensign, Apr. 1976, 77
Conference in Fiji
SUVA, Fiji—If the excitement of planning and preparing for the area conference here had not been enough, the Saints were overjoyed when they had the opportunity of meeting with President Spencer W. Kimball and the General Authorities who accompanied him.
The Brethren’s visit to Fiji was quite brief, but in less than six hours they attended a press conference, a buffet reception, a cultural program, and a general conference session before resting overnight and flying to Tonga the next day.
Although the time the Brethren spent here seemed short, the spirit of their visit will long remain with the Saints here. Some 800 attended the conference, some traveling from as far away as New Caledonia, a sea and land voyage of 734 miles, from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, and from various parts of the Fiji Islands.
At the press conference, President Kimball explained the purpose of the Church and the purpose of holding the conference in Fiji.
The cultural program began with a traditional Fiji welcome, the presentation of the Tabua (sperm whale tooth), which is presented only on special occasions to dignitaries or special guests to the islands. This was followed by another traditional rite, the presentation of the Yaqona Kava. The cultural program included songs and dances of the Indian, Rotuman, New Caledonian, Gilbert and Ellician, and Fijian island groups, all indicative of the multinational nature of the Fiji Suva Mission.
The highlight of the day was the spiritual uplift that the Saints received at the general session. President Tanner gave the opening address and he admonished the Saints to be upright in all their dealings. Elder Haight emphasized the responsibility of Church members to get involved in the work of the Lord by doing better, and by lengthening their stride as President Kimball has admonished. He also stressed the need for family unity and for conducting family home evening where the members of the family can teach and share the gospel one with another.
Elder Simpson said that real, eternal truth is needed in the world today and that when President Kimball speaks, he speaks not just to Latter-day Saints, but to all peoples. Elder Robert D. Hales said that if we listen to President Kimball, we can set the course that we should be following and not be swayed by the course that others would have us follow.
President Kimball brought the session to a close by urging the Saints to share the gospel with others. The true gospel can be right here in Fiji, he said, indicating that there is no need to look for it in Palestine or in any other part of the world. President Kimball said that we must live by the commandments and the other guidelines that we have been given so that we can lay aside worldly things, come to Christ, love one another, and work together to build the kingdom.
The spirit of his message was fervently echoed by the Saints as they sang “The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning!”
Although the day was warm and very humid, President Kimball reassured the Saints here of his love by taking the time to meet with them, shaking their hands, and stopping to visit with even the small children in the congregation.