News Release

Australian Missionary Safe after Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

"He is where he needs to be," says Heather Bardzinski, mother of Mormon missionary, Elder Stephen Bardzinski, who serves in the Japan Nagoya mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"We were holding our breath until we heard word about Stephen after the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Within twenty-four hours the bishop of our ward (congregation) and the Japan mission office gave word to us that he was safe."

Stephen's fraternal twin brother, Ben, is serving a mission in Ecuador at the same time as Stephen. "They are being looked after," their mother said. "I wouldn't want to hold them back from being where they need to be."

Elder Bardzinski told his family by email that several of the missionaries from Tokoyo were now in his mission. He also mentioned that there were no transfers planned for the next three months.

After the experiences of fellow mission leaders regarding the Brisbane floods and the Christchurch earthquake, Japan mission authorities were well prepared to account for their own missionaries. This took place within hours. Parents were then notified that their children had been located and were being cared for. Many times the missionaries were put right to work in the trenches, rebuilding the area where they were previously teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is Elder Bardzinski's third time to Nagoya. His first was through a scholarship he acquired through a school exchange programme. He loved the country so much that he worked and saved for the funds to sightsee for a month on a second trip.

"Later, when he opened his mission papers his face went white. He seemed shocked to realize that he would be able to live for two years in the same area in Japan that he had grown to love," his mother said.

Elder Bardzinski's friend from a neighbouring congregation in Hoppers Crossing, David Goddridge, is also serving his mission in Japan. He is safe in Kobe.

To read the Wyndham Weekly news report on Elder Bardzinski fulfilling his dream, click here.


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