The Pacific Area of the Church reached a major milestone June 15 when Elder Vaughn J Featherstone created the 100th stake in the area - another indication of the Church's growth occurring around the globe.
The Pacific Area - which includes Australia, New Zealand and numerous Pacific island countries such as Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and Fiji - also has five temples, 330,000 members, and 1,093 Church units, said Elder Featherstone of the Seventy and president of the Pacific Area.A congregation of 2,836 - 57 percent of the members in Suva - assembled at the Fiji LDS Technical College for the creation of the Suva North Fiji Stake and the division of the two existing stakes from which it was organized.
Elder Eugene E.F.W. Reid, Area Authority Seventy, conducted the conference.
Members in Fiji were thrilled to be part of the creation of the 100th stake in their area - especially during the year when they are celebrating the 1847 pioneers who sacrificed for the Church, said Elder Featherstone.
"On this sesquicentennial year, to create the 100th stake just thrilled us," he said. "The people were also thrilled. They were delighted and excited about it."
Elder Featherstone explained that the number of stakes in the Pacific Area has grown remarkably during the last three years from 67 to the present 100.
"In the next six months we will probably submit at least four more
stakesT for consideration," Elder Featherstone said. "We are experiencing wonderful growth."
Elder Featherstone also said he noticed a large number of youth attending the conference. "They are being trained to move into leadership positions," he noted. "They have wonderful faith."
Josefa Sokia, president of the new stake, said it is a small part of the wonderful things that will happen in his country in the future.
"The goal is to someday have a temple in Fiji," said Pres. Sokia. "We know we cannot have that if we don't have a sufficient number of stakes. By lifting the spiritual maturity of the members we will come to the position where the house of the Lord can be built on our shores."
Pres. Sokia said there is a lot of commitment by the members to get things moving toward that objective. "There is excitement and looking forward. The new stake is another step toward our goal."