New Mission President Ministers to Humble, Devoted Church Members

News Release
 

The faith and devotion of countless members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was demonstrated recently during a visit by their new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Finau and Lucy Hafoka, to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG).  President Hafoka was recently called and set apart to preside, as of 1 July 2018, over the PNG Port Moresby Mission of The Church. The Hafokas' purpose in making their first trip to this part of the Western Province of PNG was to minister to the members of The Church, as well as to the young missionaries serving in these remote branches and villages of their mission.

Making their first official visit to this area, President and Sister Hafoka were honored as they flew into the village of Kamusi. Members of the Kamusi Branch (congregation) crowded around the fence at the airstrip and presented the Hafokas and their guests with leis. In spite of an ensuing heavy deluge of rain, the local Church members carried their guests' luggage and protected them from the elements with umbrellas.

It was a long walk over a muddy road to the small chapel in Kamusi, but a large group gathered at the chapel to hear the words of President Hafoka and to meet his lovely wife, Sister Lucy Hafoka. 

President Hafoka told the people that President Russell M. Nelson (the Church's worldwide leader) had given him a personal message to give to the good people of Papua New Guinea. That message was to tell them that President Nelson loves them, and is mindful of them.  

The Hafokas were escorted by the assembled group over to the nearby Bamu River and the Church-owned boat, the Liahona, to travel by river to their next destination. The Kamusi Branch members lined the riverbank, waving and blowing kisses as the Liahona moved away from the shore on its way to Emeti.

At the next stop, the Emeti Branch members likewise crowded by the shore to welcome their new mission president. They happily escorted him and his wife through their village of Emeti to their small chapel where they gathered for a devotional. Here again, in this remote village setting, President Hafoka taught the people of Emeti.

The Emeti Branch members presented the Hafokas and their entourage with a beautiful meal that they had prepared for this special occasion. All present ate together, and both sides felt a friendship and love for each other.  

The final stop for the Hafokas was Balimo, where eight missionaries gathered for instruction from their leaders. After the conference, the Hafokas walked to the site where the members of the Church meet in Balimo for their Sunday services. They met church members along the way, as well as the next day before departing.  As church members gathered to meet them, Sister Hafoka passed out candy and biscuits, while President Hafoka visited with members, getting to know them and assessing their needs. The people felt they had truly been ministered to in a loving way.

After the trip Lucy Hafoka expressed, "It was a humbling experience for me to meet them. They are very humble, loving and teachable people."

Pres. Hafoka reflected on this sweet experience and said, "These people are so poor in terms of material things, but they are blessed with the restored Gospel, and they exercise their faith by paying their tithes and offerings."

The ministering of the Hafoka's to remote areas of their mission has given them a sweet perspective concerning the kind and tender people they serve in Papua New Guinea.

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