“I love the people of Samoa” - President Nelson says
The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, had a special request for the Samoa Observer when they touched down in Samoa on Saturday.
“Please convey our love and gratitude to the people of Samoa,” President Nelson told the Samoa Observer.
“I love the people of Samoa, and they love the church, they love the Lord and we wanted to come and have a connection, with me and my new calling.”
President Nelson and his wife, Wendy L. Nelson, are in the country for a day. Samoa is the second stop of their nine-day ministry visit to seven destinations in the Pacific – including Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and other neighbouring countries.
The President, who is accompanied by Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan, was greeted by thousands of church members who lined the streets from Faleolo to Apia to welcome their leader.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer during an exclusive interview, President Nelson described the welcome was “a once in a lifetime experience".
“I was with President Kimball in 1976 but he received a similar welcome. They declared a holiday and the people lined the streets for his entry and I never thought I would be the recipient of such a warm welcome,” he said.
This is not President Nelson’s first time in Samoa.
“I first came to Samoa in 1976; I have had many visits between then and now,” he said.
Sister Nelson has also been to Samoa before and she loves it.
“It has an ‘at home’ feeling,” she told the Samoa Observer.
“I am from a small town in Canada actually. We of course in Utah have lots of Samoan friends and I love the north shore of Oahu where there is lots of Samoans there. I love it here. We were here in 2014 and then we were here in 2007.”
President Nelson said the main message of his visit is quite simple.
“The main message everywhere we go is to come under Christ and receive his blessings in your life,” he said.
“Everyone has a choice, either to choose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ or to choose another path. As his disciple I invite people to come unto Christ because he will make life better for you.”
The Nelsons are here for a day. They met the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II.
President Russell M. Nelson is the 17th president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He is an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher.