Sunday newspapers in a number of Australian states featured a multi-page story on Elder Will Hopoate, a rugby league star who postponed his career and a $1.8 million dollar contract to serve a mission in Brisbane. Although the article is biographical in nature, it describes in detail what it means to be a Mormon missionary as well as a member of the Church.
According to journalist, Jordan Baker, fellow members of Sydney’s Mormon community watched young William Hopoate grow up and they knew what a fine young man he was.
Now, Jordan says, there is no doubt the Queensland chapter of the church is thrilled with its recruit, and not just for publicity reasons. Elder Hopoate is an excellent missionary; he is enthusiastic, hardworking, disciplined. He already has been taken off daily door-knocking duties and promoted to be a mentor of other missionaries.
Sue Owen, the Church’s Queensland director of public affairs, worked with Jordan Baker in the development of the article. “Occasionally, journalists may inadvertently misrepresent those young men and women who serve missions for the Church,” said Mrs Owen. “However, this article is one of the most realistic and accurate portrayals of the daily life of those who give two years of their lives to help others in missionary service.
Sue says Jordan Baker is a master at writing biographical articles on prominent people. These have included Queensland premier, Anna Bligh, and magazine editor, Ita Buttrose, amongst many others. “I really feel she captured the essence of Elder Hopoate and the person he is.”
While the story is certainly about one young member of the Church, “it is a powerful example to our young men and women of the way sacrifice for the Lord can return many personal blessings to each of us,” says Sue.
Read the full article, ‘Former NRL star Will Hopoate's Mormon mission the latest step in the life of a fine young man’, in The Sunday Telegraph.
Jordan Baker, The Sunday Telegraph