KURIVA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA—The enthusiastic branch here of about seventy-five members began some three years ago when twenty-nine villagers were baptized the same day—the first converts in the area.
Papua New Guinea is a country of six hundred islands off the coast of Australia. The Kuriva village is about sixty-five kilometers from the capital city of Port Moresby.
Until September 1986 no one in Kuriva had heard of the Church. That’s when John Oii, a member living in Port Moresby, bore his testimony at his son’s funeral in Kuriva.
Members of the village were so impressed, they asked that the missionaries be sent. They quickly established Sunday services and began paying tithing. Even before their baptisms, they had constructed a small chapel with a palm-frond roof.
Traditionally, the villagers share everything. For example, even non-Latter-day Saints contributed to buy shoes for a local young man preparing for a mission.
The Kuriva Saints form a part of a growing church membership in Papua New Guinea, now about 2,300 strong, who hope to someday have a stake, a mission, and a temple.
SAN ANDRES, PERU—When a group of young men from the four branches of the Church here won their area soccer championship, it brought recognition to the Church and opened doors to preaching the gospel.
The Latter-day Saint team called itself “Moroni’s Strong and Mighty.” At first, no one expected them to win even one game against any of the other fifteen teams in the tournament, some of which were professional. But the Latter-day Saints kept winning. They won the final game 2-0.
The team attributed its success to preparation and to living the Word of Wisdom. When the championship trophy was awarded, the team captain bore his testimony on television. Later, the Church held a successful open house in San Andrés that was attended by enthusiastic residents.
Jorge Panduro, a member of the winning team, said it was a good chance or the Church to receive recognition. “It was satisfying to see the Church held up as a standard to be admired by those who are not members,” he said.
One man taking tickets at the gate said he wanted to receive the missionary discussions. He commented, “As I saw all those people cheering and talking and having fun—and no one smoking or drinking—I decided to learn more about the Church.”
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL—Elder and Sister Helvio and Laura Bertoli of São Paulo are currently serving their fourth mission in the São Paulo Temple. They were among the first workers there when the temple was dedicated in 1978. Since then, they have served one mission as managers of temple housing and two other missions as temple workers. They are remembered by temple patrons for their untiring, good-humored service. The couple feels that their experience has been so rewarding that they really can’t call it a “sacrifice,” but instead a great privilege and blessing in their lives.