News Release

Gippsland Lights the World with Clothing Donation to Marshall Islanders


Pakenham locals Tony and Beverley Dell recently left their home for an 18-month mission in the Marshall Islands. This month the members of their Stake (diocese) are sending a special Christmas delivery of clothing to the Dells’ new friends across the Pacific.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the Casey, Cardinia and Gippsland areas have been collecting clean clothes throughout November, which were recently packaged ready to ship to the Marshall Islands.

“Spring is the ideal time for a clean-out!” exclaimed Gippsland Stake (diocese) Relief Society President Luana Akaiti, who helped coordinate the effort.

The average salary in the Marshall Islands is $3 US per hour and the unemployment rate is high. Many Marshall Islanders cannot afford appropriate clothing.

For that reason, Robyn Larkin, wife of Marshall Islands Majuro Mission President John Larkin, extended the invitation to participate in a clothing donation service project. The message was communicated to Gippsland Stake President Graham Smith by the Dells.

Majuro is approximately 5,600 km from Pakenham; but, in this case, distance is no barrier to love. Gippsland Stake members have embraced the opportunity to serve their brothers and sisters on the typhoon belt border in eastern Micronesia.

Members of the Church assisted in the transport of clothing donations from congregations over a sizeable terrain: from suburban Cranbourne to as far southeast as rural Lakes Entrance.

Young people from the Pakenham area commented on the impact the donation has had on them.

“It makes me feel good to give some of my clothes to people who need them,” remarked Liahona Watson. “It’s good to do as Jesus would do.”

“I feel good giving part of my happiness away to make others happy,” said Lucy Moir.

With the theme of ‘Give as He Gave’ and Christmas in mind, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Light the World campaign, now in its third year, encourages members to emulate Jesus’ example by engaging in Worldwide Day of Ministering service projects to local or overseas communities.

“… when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” added Liahona’s twin sister, Shem’el Watson, quoting from memory the famous Mosiah 2:17 scripture in The Book of Mormon.

For more information how you can #LightTheWorld click here.

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