News Story

Long Weekend of Service Lifts Spirits and Blesses Communities

Several hundred young Mormon Queenslanders recently experienced first-hand how serving others in need can take many forms and that such efforts are always deeply rewarding.

The young people took part in a long weekend of community service that included the assembly of personal care kits for children entering foster care, helping individuals with disabilities, and cleaning up a beach.

On Friday evening, 4 October 2013, over 2,000 personal care kits were assembled for Project Love and Care, a charity that supports children entering foster care.

Ann George, the founder of the charity, said, “These kits provide the children with something they can hold onto and call their own, and gives them the essentials they are without.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints funded the purchase of the contents of the kits.

Councillor Kim Marx of the Brisbane City Council and Councillor Paul Tully, Ipswich City Council, attended the activity and expressed their appreciation for the service provided by the young Latter-day Saints.

Oliver Munro, 22, said, “No-one was sitting back—all you saw was hard work, and everyone felt the joy that comes from giving service."

The following day the young adults travelled to Arundel Park Riding for Disabled on the Gold Coast.  Arundel Park is a not-for-profit community organisation that provides equestrian activities for people with a disability.  The organisation is run entirely by volunteers.

The young adults erected new fences, weeded, mulched, and painted several buildings.

Leone Gye-Collishaw, president of the charity, said, “Have you noticed our new murals, fencing repairs and general clean-up?  We are so impressed with the contribution of time and effort in repairs and maintenance from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Councillor Margaret Grummit, Gold Coast City Council, enjoyed seeing the young people involved in these activities.  Ms Grummit said, “I want to thank all the young people for their extensive and beneficial work.”

Alyssa Pauga, 20, one of the participants, said, “It felt good to just see everyone getting involved in service and to be enjoying it. I think we were all pleasantly surprised by how much fun we could have when serving.”

After a full day at Arundel Park, the young people had time to go home and clean up before they headed to the Latter-day Saints' Nerang Chapel for a bush dance— with fiddles, line-dancing, and great food.

Sunday offered a day of spiritual reflection after two days of service.  Participants had the opportunity to connect what they had been doing with what the gospel and the Saviour teach about charitable service.

Dressed in Sunday best, the young adults met for church services and also a musical fireside.  Church leader, Elder Keith P. Walker, addressed the young people.  He encouraged them to continually seek for opportunities to reach out to their neighbours.

“Continue to dedicate your lives to the Lord and build His kingdom through these righteous acts of service,” he said.

Caramia Soloai-Skelton, 22, said, “Sunday was my favourite part of the weekend.  I think some of us who have grown up in the Church, don’t fully appreciate the opportunities we have for giving service.”

She added, “The pure testimonies of the recent converts who shared their love of service and how the gospel has changed their lives, strengthened my own testimony, helping me appreciate what I’ve taken for granted.  It has inspired me to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Nele Faave, 23, was similarly touched.  “It was a really warm, welcoming environment, enabling us to feel the spirit not only through music, but also amidst many personal experiences in giving service,” she said.

The conference concluded on Monday at Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast.  The young people spent the morning ridding the beach of rubbish and weeds before enjoying a BBQ lunch and sports.

“It was a truly amazing weekend, not easily forgotten," Ben Munro said. "It was a privilege indeed to be able to go and serve, giving back to the community.”

"When I serve others I feel a sense of peace.  The opportunity to give service over the long weekend has brightened my faith and blessed the lives of others.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.