Elder Kevin W. Pearson, president of the Pacific Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told guests at a dinner in Port Moresby that the Church was fully committed to working with others to strengthen the people of Papua New Guinea.
Dinner guests included the Hon. Kila Haoda MP, Governor of Central Province, and Mrs Haoda; Mr Tony Walwal, First Secretary to the Hon. Delilah Gore, Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Development; vice-chancellor of the Pacific Adventist University, Dr Ben Thomas; and other government, faith and community leaders.
Elder Pearson said that “educating the youth and young adults was one of [the Church’s] highest priorities” in Papua New Guinea.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is looking forward to building on our relationship with government and community leaders so we can further strengthen individuals, families and communities in Papua New Guinea,” he said.
Mr Tony WalWal, speaking on behalf of Minister Gore, provided a brief report regarding the Minister’s recent visit to Utah for the International Law and Religion Symposium held at Brigham Young University in October.
Quoting Minister Gore, Mr Walwal stated: “Churches have reached the areas where government services haven’t yet reached its people. As such, the Department of Youth, Religion and Community Development will work with churches to continue to deliver services. I also recommend that the Church assist our community by providing skilled volunteers to train our youth. Papua New Guinea needs skilled young people to build this nation.”
At the event, Robert Dudfield, Latter-day Saint director of public affairs for Australia and Papua New Guinea, announced the pending launch of a Mormon Newsroom website for Papua New Guinea.
“On the new Papua New Guinea Mormon Newsroom we will have local facts and statistics, news stories, videos and other content especially for the people of Papua New Guinea,” he said. “With this site we will also tell people around the world what our church members and our friends are doing to bless and strengthen individuals, families and communities.”
In recent years Latter-day Saints have worked with government departments, other churches and charities to support Papua New Guineans by distributing wheelchairs and other mobility aids; providing food, medicine and other supplies after Cholera epidemics and other emergencies; immunising children against Rubella and other diseases; and digitizing and preserving the nation’s vital records—among other initiatives.
There are over 23,000 Papua New Guinean Latter-day Saints who worship in 71 congregations across the nation. Hundreds of Church members have served or currently serve as missionaries at home or overseas.
Watch a video about a Papua New Guinean young man serving as a missionary in New Zealand.