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Elder Rasband Becomes First Apostle to Visit Fijian Island During Pacific Ministry

by | Nov. 27, 2019

Mormon Life

One of the many responsibilities for members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when they go abroad on visits to other countries and continents is to minister to members and missionaries, attend stake conferences, give training to leaders and speak at various meetings and devotionals.

One of the highlights from Elder Ronald A. Rasband's visit to the Pacific consisted of meeting up with two of his grandsons who are currently in the mission field and spending quality time with them while performing basic missionary tasks. 

While in Melbourne, Australia, Elder Rasband and his wife, Melanie, had a chance to catch up with grandson Elder Jameson MacPherson of Draper, Utah. The Rasbands had the opportunity to join Elder MacPherson and his companion for their morning studies, district meeting, a teaching appointment, and devotional in the Mandarin branch where Elder MacPherson is currently serving. 

“Growing up being a grandson of Elder and Sister Rasband, you know what they are doing is important but rarely get a front-row seat of what their life is like—unless it’s general conference,” said Elder MacPherson. "It was a joy for me to show my grandparents the Chinese city branch and for me to introduce them to some my best friends found on the mission. Through their ministering, I was able to better focus my life upon the love I have for our Savior.”

While in another country in Suva, Fiji, Elder and Sister Rasband met up with the Elder Ammon MacPherson, another grandson who has been out in the mission field for a mere two months. The Rasbands had the chance to join him and his companion on a teach with a recent convert and his non-member family, an interview with the local newspaper, and another evening devotional in the ward where Elder MacPherson is serving.  

“Seeing and being with my grandparents brought forth more joy and encouragement than I can describe. Embracing their love and faith in me silenced all my fears—it helped me rise above my current discouragements. It inspired me to work harder so others may also be able to experience the joy of eternal families. I will forever be grateful for their visit and for the strength I discovered in their love.”

“[Spending time with our grandsons] was the icing on the cake,” Elder Rasband said. “It was a thrill to be with them.”

Elder and Sister Rasband were accompanied on their two-week voyage through the Pacific by Elder Ian S. Ardren and his wife, Paula, Elder K. Brent Nattress and his wife, Shawna, and Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita and his wife, Tazuko. Other Area Seventies also joined in on the journey at times throughout. 

After visiting established places of Zion, such as Hamilton and Auckland, New Zealand, Elder Rasband made his way to a small Fijian island, Taveuni, that had never before had an Apostle of the Lord visit their country. It was a last-second expedition after the measles outbreak spread across the Samoan islands, temporarily banning all public meetings. While in Taveuni, Elder Rasband encouraged those in attendance to build and raise up strong, "multi-generational families" by making and keeping sacred covenants and the commandments.

Elder and Sister Rasband's ministry consisted of leadership trainings, stake conference sessions, missionary meetings, and a young adult devotional. Wherever he and Sister Rasband went, they both tried to share the love of Christ and minister as He would if He were on Earth. 

“When President Monson ordained me an Apostle, he said, ‘You’re to be a special witness of the Lord at all times, in all places and in every circumstance,’ Elder Rasband said. “And on this trip, I felt that. I felt the Spirit of the Lord in every circumstance, and they were great gospel and Christ-centered opportunities to minister.”

For a more in-depth look at what the Rasbands accomplished while on their Pacific ministry, click here

Lead image from Intellectual, Inc.
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