News Release

Leaders of Worldwide Women and Children Organisations to Visit South Pacific

Two senior leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Linda K. Burton and Rosemary M. Wixom, will visit New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa later this month.

Linda Burton is the general president of the Latter-day Saints' Relief Society organisation, one of the oldest and largest women's organisations in the world.

The Relief Society was organised in the United States in 1842.  There are now an estimated six million women in local Relief Societies in every Latter-day Saint congregation worldwide.

According to Mormon Newsroom, "The Relief Society is for women ages 18 and over whose purpose is to provide support for the temporal and spiritual needs of all women in the Church, as well as others who are in need."

Rosemary Wixom is the general president of the Church's Primary organisation, which serves approximately one million Latter-day Saint children in countries around the world.

"Primary," as described at the Mormon Newsroom website, "is designed to supplement the religious instruction given by parents. Children meet during Mormon worship services each Sunday to discuss Church doctrine, participate in learning activities and sing songs."

"Children of all ages have the opportunity to participate in these meetings by giving prayers, reading scriptures and giving talks on gospel subjects."

During their visit to the South Pacific, Sisters Burton and Wixom will visit with the Church's Area Presidency, Elder James J.Hamula, Elder Kevin W.Pearson and Elder F. Michael Watson.

They will also meet with members and missionaries of the Church, as well as community leaders.

One person they are planning to meet while in New Zealand is 100-year-old Ailsa Coutts, a member of a Relief Society in Auckland.

Sister Wixom will visit teachers and children at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate Junior School, and then meet with Latter-day Saint parents and children at the Church's Tamaki Stake Centre.

While in Tonga Sisters Burton and Wixom will visit with faculty and students at the Church's Liahona High School.

In Samoa, the visitors will meet with Church and community leaders, as well as members of the Church. They will also meet families who are rebuilding their homes and livelihoods since last December's Cyclone Evan.

In American Samoa Sisters Burton and Wixom will participate in a hand-over ceremony as mammography equipment donated by the Church is given to a Pago Pago medical centre.

"We are delighted that Sister Burton and Sister Wixom are coming to visit with us," said the Church's Pacific Area President, Elder James J. Hamula.

"We look forward to learning from them, as we meet with Latter-day Saints and our friends in other faiths," he said.

"Their ministries are focused on teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and on improving the lives of women, children and their families.  We anticipate that there will be discussions on how we can improve education, health and self-reliance outcomes for all of the people of the Pacific."

Elder Hamula added: "Wherever we have faithful Latter-day Saints in villages and towns, we have Relief Societies.  And where we have Relief Societies, we see desperately needed relief being offered to children, women and their families.  Love, faith and service, as the Saviour taught and showed, are at the core of the work of the Relief Society and the Primary

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