WELLINGTON, New Zealand (ABC4 News) – President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Russell M. Nelson met with New Zealand’s prime minister Monday, calling her a “real leader.”
“It’s an unlikely scenario—a young mother leading a great nation, a peacemaker, a policymaker, consensus giver. We’re very impressed with her. She’ll have a great future,” Nelson said of prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who is a former Latter-day Saint herself.
Nelson also expressed condolences to the prime minister following the March shooting at a Christchurch mosque, in which 49 people lost their lives.
“We will be making contributions to those mosques to help them repair from their damages,” said Pres. Nelson.
“We’re clearly sensitive to what happened there, and our hearts were broken when we heard about the tragedy that took place and the loss of life, and so the Church is reaching out … to lend a hand, to be there for our brothers and sisters who are another ethnicity and another religious group,” said Pacific Area President Elder O. Vincent Haleck.
President Nelson is midway through a nine-day journey ministering in the South Pacific; by the end of the trip, he will have visited seven countries.
Nelson also addressed diversity during his meeting with the prime minister, who has been in office since October 2017.
“We have that problem in all countries of the world—how people can have different points of view and yet learn to live in love with one another,” Nelson said. He also spoke to a crowd at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.
Church officials said Monday Nelson’s wife, Wendy, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Susan, are traveling with him.
New Zealand is home to nearly 115,000 Latter-day Saints. Specifics about donations to be made in the wake of the mosque shooting were not available Monday.