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Family occasion the biggest one yet for sisters and mum

A family occasion

It was a family occasion they won’t forget anytime soon.

Sisters Yasmin Sadler, Ysatis Leafa and Mum Soraya Barker were one of the 200 Hamilton Saints who performed at the cultural celebration on Friday night.

The trio has spent 30 years of their life in temple view and have performed on numerous occasions for weddings, funerals and even performing at the closing of Church College.

But Friday night’s performance might have just been their biggest yet, performing in front of 1000 guests including President Henry B. Eyring and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The video of the event has also been viewed by thousands of people throughout the world.

“It was special because I was making history with my family,” Yasmin, 26, said.

“As well as to be in front of President Eyring. It was amazing, he was smiling hard out. He was happy as! It just felt warm seeing him there. I felt so close to my Heavenly Father and my Saviour.”

The cultural celebrations were held on the eve of the dedication and opening of four renovated buildings in Temple View which includes the Matthew Cowley Pacific Church History Centre and the completion of the new  David O. McKay Stake and Cultural Events Centre.

“it was really emotional for me,” Ysatis, 24, said.

“We all went to Church College and it brought back memories of our school. It was lovely for President Eyring to be there. It made it even more emotional.”

First counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, Bishop Dean M. Davies and the Pacific Area Presidency — Elders O. Vincent Haleck, S. Gifford Nielsen and Craig A. Cardon, General Authority Seventies were also in attendance.

Music runs in the Barker family’s genes. Dad Gary usually performs with the family but was given babysitting duties for the night. Mum Soraya plays the piano and performs in a band. She also helped write the finale song for the event.

'The Korowai O Rawiri,' or 'The Cloak of David,' was inspired by the prayer offered by President David O. McKay to dedicate the temple in 1958.

Yasmin and Ysatis Leafa are proud to be Maori. They speak fluent te reo Māori and hope President Eyring was able to feel their love for their culture.

“I love performing with my mum and my sister,” Ysatis said.

“For me, Church always comes first but I hope President Eyring was able to see how we fit our Maori culture into the gospel.  And I  hope everyone enjoyed it and felt the spirit. I sure did.”

The Maori culture was not the only culture on display that night. There were also Samoan, Tongan, Hawaii and Cook Island performances.

Elder Andersen spoke to the audience, on behalf of President Eyring. He said they would never forget being there.

 “We are thankful for this most unique and special place upon this earth and we leave our blessing upon you and upon this special place. The great spirit of the past — of the school and the labor missionaries and all the good that’s found before you — will bring to you and bring to those who live in this area, a spirit of the holy house of the Lord.”