News Release

Sending Love and Relief to Drought-Stricken Farmers and Their Families

Australian volunteers get organised to make a difference

Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met at the Church’s Ipswich Australia West Stake Centre in Brassall on 10 November to assemble gift packs for farming families doing it tough in the state’s drought-stricken west.


Joining the local volunteers were visiting leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Elder Ian S. Ardern of the Seventy and First Counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency, and his wife Paula Ardern; Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, and her husband Robert Jones; Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women General President, and her husband Derek Cordon.

Queensland Latter-day Saint leaders Elder Carl R. Maurer and Mark McNamee, were also among those who lent a hand assembling the relief packs.

Senator for Queensland in the Australian Senate, Amanda Stoker, also attended the service activity.


The program was conducted by the Church’s young women president for the Ipswich Australia West Stake, Sister Juliet Stevens.

Teenagers and primary children assembled “gift wallets” for families that included food, fuel and other vouchers, as well as hand-written and drawn messages of love and support from children.

Elder Ardern told the volunteers: “Even though you are giving money to the farmers, the greatest thing that you have given today is yourselves. Giving your time to make these gift wallets tells the farmers and their families that others care for them and that they are not alone in their plight.”


“I salute the parents and leaders, in supporting these children and young women—their tomorrow is our future,” he added.

“What a privilege it is to look into your beautiful faces,” said Sister Jones, who is the president of the Church’s organisation for children.

“It’s like a dream seeing you all, and to meet with you, and to hear of the great need of the farmers, it is so humbling. It is wonderful to see you so anxiously wanting to do some good.”

Sister Jones continued: “The Saviour set the example and showed us the way. He lives. We feel at home here. You young people, you are the Light of the World, He has touched each of you.”

Sister Cordon, who leads the Church’s worldwide organisation for young women aged 12 to 17, said, “I was overwhelmed when I saw that video of the farmers’ plight, and your offering of your beautiful notes, homemade cards and the wallets. They will lift people and help lift the hands that hang low.”


She said she was delighted with their faith and action and said it had strengthened her faith. The volunteers were doing this service project for others, “but have done it for the Saviour,” she said.

“You are making a difference in the world; you have opened your hearts for someone else.”

Senator Amanda Stoker, a special guest on the day, said, “It’s the first time I’ve been to your church and observed you to be so giving. We are all called on as part of the Christian community to show love, and the best way to show love is to give.”


“I get to serve all of you as Senator and it’s really special and a big job. I believe that when I am serving the people of Queensland it is a reflection of how God serves us. Congratulations on your decision to give to lift up others.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serves communities across the world in many ways, including through members and others making donations to the Church’s humanitarian fund.
LDS Charities is the Church’s main humanitarian arm, which is funded by these donations and can do its work by virtue of full-time missionaries’ voluntary service and the help of local Church members in their own communities.
“We saw the need in our state’s western communities,” Elder Maurer said, “and we worked together with our friends in LDS Charities to make a plan, and now to carry it out.”
“We couldn’t do this project, and do other work like this around the world, without the generous donations of individuals to the Church’s humanitarian fund, and without the selfless, Christ-like service of volunteers.”

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