Port Vila Vanuatu Temple
On 4 October 2020, during the 190th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to construct a temple in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The Pacific nation of Vanuatu is made up of roughly 80 islands spanning a distancing of 800 miles (1,300 kilometers). Port Vila, located on the island of Efate, is the country's capital and economic center. There are more than 10,000 Latter-day Saints in Vanuatu organized into one stake and three districts. Missionary work began in 1975, shortly after several Latter-day Saint families moved from Tonga to Vanuatu in the early 1970s.
The Port Vila Vanuatu Temple will be the first temple built in Vanuatu and the third built in Melanesia, following the Suva Fiji Temple (2000) and the Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple (announced).
On 19 May 2021, it was announced that the Port Vila Vanuatu Temple will be built on a 1.62-acre site located at Blacksands Crossroads, on the site of the Blacksands meetinghouse in Port Vila, Vanuatu, near the Port Vila International Airport. Also on 19 May 2021, an official exterior rendering was released for the Port Vila Vanuatu Temple.
Plans for the Port Vila Vanuatu Temple call for a single-story building of approximately 10,000 square feet with a single spire. An ancillary building will also be constructed, which will include an arrival center, patron housing, and a distribution center. The temple will have one instruction room, one sealing room, and one baptistry.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the groundbreaking date for the Port Vila Vanuatu Temple would be held on Saturday, March 4, 2023. However, a state of emergency was declared in Vanuatu following damage caused by the severe tropical cyclone Judy and the bearing down of a second cyclone, Kevin. Consequently, the groundbreaking was postponed.
On April 8, 2023, Elder K. Brett Nattress, General Authority Seventy and President of the Pacific Area, presided at the ceremony. He extended Church President, Russell M. Nelson’s, love and greetings in his message to the people: “We love you. We thank you. We need you.” Elder Nattress added, “We need you to be faithful, to live the commandments of God and be good neighbours and friends.”
He read a verse from the Book of Mormon: “Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?" (2 Nephi 29:7).
“The Vanuatu temple is evidence of God’s promise,” Elder Nattress said. “God remembers His children.”
As authorized by President Nelson, Elder Nattress dedicated the site for the building of the temple.