Restoration and Church History
Establishing the Church in Kiritimati

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Establishing the Church in Kiritimati

Timei and Timi Kaitaua, alumni of Moroni High School, were living in Hawaii when they decided to move with their five young daughters to Kiritimati, where Timi had been raised. Concerned over the prospect of living somewhere with no Church presence, they contacted mission president H. Ross Workman. Prior to their move, President Workman visited them, gave Timei a blessing, and instructed him to gather all the information he could about the Saints already living on the island. Soon after arriving in Kiritimati, Timei reported back to Workman that he had identified more than 40 Church members living on the island and urged him to organize a branch.

In response, President Workman talked with government officials and scheduled a trip to Kiritimati. On May 18, 1999, a large group gathered to welcome Workman to the island. Over the next few days, Workman became acquainted with the members. One man showed him a well-worn Book of Mormon he had received many years earlier while attending Moroni High School. Nearly every Monday for seven years, he and his family had studied the book during family home evening. They were living the Word of Wisdom and had prayed for the day the Church would come to Kiritimati. That Sunday, a branch was organized in the village of London with Timei Kaitaua as president.

In the years since the branch was organized, the Church has been a blessing to many families in Kiritimati. Peter and Christina Edwards, whose children had joined the Church while attending Moroni High School, did not belong to the Church when missionaries arrived in Kiritimati. After repeated invitations to learn about the gospel, Christina began meeting with the missionaries and was baptized in 2001. Peter noticed a transformation in her: she was less stressed, more loving, and was starting to overcome her smoking habit. Peter followed the example of his wife and children and was baptized the next year. As a united family in the Church, they enjoyed holding family home evenings and preparing to be sealed in the temple as a family.