Church News and Events

Elder F. Michael Watson Visits the Cook Islands

  • 26 January 2012

Latter-day Saint leaders with Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mr Henry Puna.

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands — Elder F. Michael Watson of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was warmly greeted by members of the Church as he visited the Cook Islands in January.  Elder Watson presided over the Cook Islands District Conference, which was held in Rarotonga at the Arorangi Branch chapel on 8 January 2012.

Elder Watson, who is also a member of Pacific Area Presidency, was accompanied by the Auckland New Zealand Mission President, Paul N. Lekias, and Papeete Tahiti Mission President, Benjamin Sinjoux. The leaders, in company with their wives were welcomed at the airport with beautiful leis and kisses on the cheek.  All visitors remarked on the friendliness of the Rarotongans and the beauty of the island.

Cook Islands District President, Danny Williams, was appreciative of the visit from Elder Watson, the mission presidents, and their wives.

“It is not often that the Cook Islands are privileged to host a General Authority,” he said.

During the Sunday conference session the congregation of over three hundred was treated to a spiritual feast as Elder and Sister Watson, President and Sister Sinjoux, and President and Sister Lekias each shared messages based on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The official purpose of the visit was to formally transfer the Church’s Cook Islands District from the Papeete Tahiti Mission to the jurisdiction of the Auckland New Zealand Mission. Since 2005, the Cook Islands District has been a part of the Papeete Tahiti Mission.

Elder Watson advised that the transfer was approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve and will be of great benefit to the members in the Cook Islands. This proposed change was unanimously sustained by the membership.

Following their arrival the visiting leaders, accompanied by President Danny Williams, met with the Prime Minister of the Cooks Islands, Mr Henry Puna at his office in Parliament.

Elder Watson explained to Prime Minister Puna the purpose of their visit.  He also noted the humanitarian aid which the Church has provided to the people of the Cook Islands.  As a token of respect, Elder Watson presented the Prime Minister with a gold medallion, which referenced a common doctrinal understanding, taken from the Biblical writings of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, about the importance of putting on the whole armour of God.

“This,” Elder Watson said, “had application for all, especially the young people of the world.”