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Australian Church Leader and Wife Called to Serve in the Marshall Islands


A senior leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife are about to leave their home in Melbourne to embark on an 18 month mission to the Marshall Islands.

Tony Dell currently serves as the Patriarch for the Gippsland region of the Church, however his new calling will take him and his wife Beverley across the Pacific to a nation of just over 53,000 people, significantly less than that of Gippsland.

While Tony jokes that Beverley has already served a mission by being married to him, they will be on their first official 18-month Church mission when they celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary later this year. They depart on 19 July for Majuro, Marshall Islands, where they will serve the Latter-day Saints there and teach the gospel to everyone they meet.

Among the Dells’ current challenges are learning Marshallese, the dos and don’ts of Marshallese culture, and the thought of leaving their beloved family and dogs in Australia, however, their faith in Jesus Christ generates their spirit of optimism.

“God is in command and always fulfils His promises,” says the couple.

Tony recalls that Beverley’s favourite scripture, Proverbs 3:5-6, was painted across the scroll behind the pulpit at the Salvation Army Church he used to attend. They both agree that this scripture is what their Marshall Islands mission means to them; these words will see them through any tough times:

‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’

Born in England, Tony and Beverley met in Auckland in 1975 after migrating to New Zealand in 1967 and 1973 respectively.

Previously a trumpeter in the Salvation Army and Household Cavalry, Tony recounts that notwithstanding the fact that he lived next door to exemplary Church members, what really attracted him to the Church was Beverley, who had converted earlier from Methodism.

Their marriage formed a blended family of four children, to which they added three more, including two adopted. They currently have 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild on the way.

How could moving to Australia in 1989 and raising multiple children together leave any time for Church voluntary service? Yet, apart from being stake patriarch for the past five years, Tony has served in a number of callings including bishop (twice), and on the stake (diocese) presidency and Beverley has served as gospel doctrine teacher, seminary and institute teacher, Young Women president, to name a few. Beverley also makes time to volunteer for 4Cs Food Bank, and Living and Learning Pakenham, working with migrants and refugees.

Following this pattern of service, the Dells are looking forward to serving the Marshallese people, an experience they know will change them and bless their family back in Australia.

To find out more about why members of the Church serve missions click here.

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