News, Announcements and Stories from the Sydney Australia Mortdale Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Helping Hands Service Day 2016

October marks the traditional time of the year that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia (over 146,000 members) set aside time to work on community projects as one body. As part of this initiative, members of the church were encouraged to seek out opportunities to partner with and help worthy endeavours in the community. On Saturday, 29th October over 120 members from the Sydney Australia Mortdale Stake (Diocese) of the church partnered with Belmore Boys High School Principal, Ms. Hala Ramadan, head teacher Mr. Omar Chahrouk and other teachers who attended on the day. These teachers regularly give of their own time outside of school hours to improve the school’s facilities. Through Canterbury Bulldogs first grade player, Will Hopoate, a member of Mortdale Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church group and school were introduced to each other. Bulldogs Community Manager Mr. Saree Boutros facilitated the meeting and came to support the project on the day. Preparation commenced and several projects requiring attention within the school were decided upon. Some materials were donated by retailers and sponsors along with a donation from the Church to purchase supplies. Mortdale Stake’s group was made up of a cross-section of different members from children as young as two, a team of tradespeople through to members in their eighties. A large contingent of volunteer full-time missionaries from the Church in the area also participated. The group reconstructed sheds, repainted walls and awnings, constructed garden beds and performed other tasks to improve and beautify the environment of Belmore Boys High School. Ms. Hala...

Gift Box Project 2015

The Stake Presidency of Sydney Australia Mortdale Stake hosted a reception for the members of the Stake and the representatives of St George Domestic Violence Action Group, Advance Diversity Services, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Arncliffe Public School and Community Hands and Feet in conjunction with “The Gift Box Project 2015”, an initiative to assist those who are experiencing trauma in the form of domestic violence and homelessness. The project involved inviting members of the Stake and their friends to fill boxes with selected items to be donated to hospitals, women’s refuges and other organisations for use by customers and their families needing basic necessities. At the beginning of the evening, the young men and women were at hand to receive boxes from those who attended and filled more boxes as there were also unboxed donations that were received. The boxes were then sorted according to target recipients. Over 600 gift boxes were assembled. The messages of those who spoke at the reception invoked love and concern for those who are in need. Ms. Antoinette Kesby a Social Worker gave an insight into the work they do as a front line service dealing with trauma caused by domestic violence, crisis experienced by refugees, children affected by violence, homelessness and other acute and emergency cases. In an interview with Ms Joanna IIlipolous, also a Social Worker, she said that they see 75,000 customers presenting or taken to the hospital each year. They provide customers with assistance during crisis and ongoing support in the community. Ms. Gaya Dharmagesan, who works as a Team Leader in the Settlement Program of the...

Helping Hands for Newborn Hands

Members of the Sydney Mortdale Stake, along with friends and family, gathered to assemble newborn packs for donation to the maternity wards of St. George and Sutherland hospitals. The service project is the second collaboration between the hospitals and Mortdale Stake, with the first being Relief Society’s making of hand-warmers for the hospital patients. This idea of assembling newborn packs was generated from discussions between Social Workers of the hospitals and members of the Public Affairs team of the Stake. Ironically, it was a roundtable discussion of women, including mothers with firsthand experiences of both the excitement and challenges of caring for a newborn. Ms Sinead Tierney, Team Leader at the Women’s and Children’s Health sector of St. George Hospital, commented, “Some mothers leave the hospital with nothing.” These heartbreaking words were echoed by other Social Workers who attended the discussion. 82 newborn packs were assembled on the night, each containing a combination of items including nappies, baby wipes, newborn bodysuits, singlets, baby shampoo, face towels and baby powder. Charlie Talivakaola, who attended the event, expressed, “It is not just about giving something to the babies. It is about welcoming and celebrating a new life, and showing support, encouragement and thanks to the mothers.” As friends and family continued to bring donations throughout the event and as boxes were packed, conversations were heard of many wanting to do another service project of the same nature in the near future....

Community Leaders Welcomed at Stake Conference

At our recent Stake Conference, members of the Mortdale Stake were pleased to have community leaders attend the Sunday General Session. The guests stayed for a luncheon after the conference. President Andrew Campbell, counsellor in the Stake Presidency, commented that he was delighted with the responses to the invitations to attend the Stake Conference. Those who attended were Mr David Coleman, Federal Member for Banks, and Mr Craig Kelly, Federal Member for Hughes. Apology was received from Mr Mark Coure, State Member for Oatley, who regrettably suffered from a bad cold on the day. Following the session of conference, a luncheon was held to provide an opportunity for the Bishops and their wives to meet with the community leaders. Mr Coleman and Mr Kelly also visited the Stake’s Family History Centre and the office of the Sydney South Mission. Mr Coleman spoke to the group at the luncheon on the importance of the family unit. He expressed his gratitude of being able to serve the community as a Member of Parliament, but he considered his most important role to be a husband and father. Mr Kelly echoed these sentiments and re-emphasized the significance of the family unit to the wellbeing of the community. The Members of Parliament and the Mortdale Stake share a common interest in community service efforts. Both Mr Coleman and Mr Kelly are involved in the redevelopment of the St. George and Sutherland hospitals. The women of Relief Society recently provided handwarmers for patients at these hospitals and Mortdale Stake is organising another community service event that will also focus around the needs of these hospitals.  ...

The Least of These

Forty teenagers from Bankstown chose to give up their football and social events to spend their Friday night visiting the homeless in the Sydney CBD on 18 July. The group of youth from the Bankstown 2nd Ward, joined by their parents and youth leaders, went to areas of Woolloomooloo to distribute food and clothing to the homeless. A member of the Bishopric, Lawrence Sasulu, commented, “We asked each youth to bring three cans of food and a blanket if they were able to. The youth ended up bringing much more and we filled a truckload.” The young woman leader, Foga’a Masoe, observed that the youth appeared to be nervous at first, because they did not know how to approach the people; however, after they past the first person, they were fine.” Indeed, Tyron Rio, one of the young men, said, “I learnt from the experience how to talk to people” and that he was “shocked to see that there was a kid just about my age.” Another young woman, Regina Brown, remarked, “And I complain that there are three pillows on my bed!” When asked to share one of his most memorial experiences, Lawrence recounted, “While Tyron and I were walking to give a blanket to a man, another man walked up and asked if he could have the blanket… …The man whom we were originally going to give the blanket to then said, ‘Give it to him, because I have something and he doesn’t have anything.” Lawrence was impressed by the generosity of this man who almost had nothing himself but was still willing to give. Foga’a also...

August Stake Conference

Sunday 24th August saw members of the Mortdale Stake attend their Stake Conference. Many said of the conference that they were impressed by the messages on forgiveness, service, family history and the importance of sharing the goodness of the gospel. Those who spoke at the conference included President Lionel Walters and Sister Marianne Walters of the Sydney Temple. President Walters reminded those in attendance that the temple celebrates its 30th anniversary in September. Sister Marieka Halls shared a message on the joys of marriage and parenthood. Despite the inevitable challenges that accompany her roles as wife and mother, she boldly stated that “I wouldn’t have it any other way” because of the long-term happiness that is received from fulfilling these roles. In attendance at the conference were Mr David Coleman, Federal Member for Banks and Mr Craig Kelly, Federal Member for Hughes. Mr Coleman commented that he was impressed by the testimonies and experiences that were shared by the young outgoing and recently returned missionaries. During the closing of the conference proceedings President Philip Barton spoke about forgiveness. Using the legal concept of ‘right to be forgotten’ as an analogy, he said that our mistakes also have a right to be forgotten. He invited those in attendance to forgive one another and not remind each other of past mistakes. He concluded, “We are a forgiving Church. We are a forgiving Stake. I hope that we are forgiving families.”    ...

Relief Society Conference 2014

A huge thank you to all those who attended our RS Conference on Saturday Afternoon.  More than 160 sisters and Young Women were in attendance. There was so much on display to teach and inspire. Thanks to all the stall holders for their time and effort in making the hall a centre of sharing and learning. Thank you also to Alan, Emily, Margaret and Rebecca for the wonderful classes run throughout the day to strengthen families and individuals.  They were enjoyed by all in attendance. The Cafe was a ‘Wow’ moment as we entered the recreation hall, and our Young Women were tireless as they stood and served the most delicious food. Sister Ellen Route, who I think could be the most senior sister in our Stake made the day special by sharing her 95th Birthday with us. Family History Consultants helped members identify Green arrows, and print FOR forms in preparation for the Stake Baptism Day, this coming Saturday. Even our Choir practice for Stake Conference was the best we have had. 180 hand held heat bags were completed, and both St. George and Sutherland Hospitals will be grateful recipients of these. Our theme, ‘By Small and Simple Things are Great Things Brought to Pass’ certainly was attested to, by the participation of everyone and the many little things things everyone learned. We love you all so much, Joy, Jessie and Denise (Mortdale Stake Relief Society Presidency)   see more photos below:...

Stepping Up: An Interfaith Event to Reach Out to our Cambodian Neighbours

By Angelina Dyceuco President Dieter F Uchdorf of the First Presidency declared: “We honor and respect sincere souls from all religions, no matter where or when they lived, who have loved God… We lift our voices in gratitude for their selflessness and courage. We embrace them as brothers and sisters, children of our Heavenly Father.” The Sydney Mortdale Stake held a service project aimed to foster interfaith relations between differing religious traditions. Sharing a mutual concern for the needs of the community, the members of the Stake collaborated with representatives from the Muslim, Jewish and Catholic communities. Those who attended were involved in making tug ropes for animals in a local animal shelter. There was also a great support towards donations of children’s socks and underwear to be sent to an orphanage in Siam Reap. The ‘Stepping Out Program’ not only provides food and clothing to those who have been orphaned but also protection and education for a number of children and youth. Mr Jihad Dib, the principal of Punchbowl Boys’ High School (with 70% Arabic speaking students) and Commissioner to the NSW Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW, addressed those who attended. His message contributed to the spirit of the evening as he commented, “Always treat people with dignity and respect whoever they are”. President Philip Barton echoed the message of unity by commenting that our identity as neighbours, and brothers and sisters, outweighs our individual differences. Photos (below) by Daniela Jackson A display of photographs of the Cambodian children became a bridge of understanding between the givers and receivers. President Andrew Campbell, 1st Counsellor in the...

Plant it Forward

Our Stake Goal is for all members to become temple submitters for at least one person – meaning that each member submits at least one name and performs these ordinances in the temple. On the weekend, Mortdale Stake launched the Temple and Family History focus for 2014. Based on the idea to Pay it Forward  (describing when the recipient of a good deed repays it to another instead of to the original benefactor), the Stake has come up with the idea to Plant it Forward.  Each member is encouraged (with the help of the Family History Consultants) to seek out the name of one deceased ancestor, and prepare that person’s name for Temple Ordinances.  They are then encouraged to Plant it Forward, and help another person do the same. Watch the video to find out a little bit more about this project. We know that as we do this, our hearts will be turned to our fathers, and that we will feel the spirit of this great work.            ...

Upcoming interfaith event, “STEP UP for STEP OUT”

Please join us at our interfaith event, STEP UP for STEP OUT, co-organised with the Jewish Board of Deputies and Columban Mission Institute. It will be held at Mortdale chapel on Saturday 21 June. The program is as follows: 7:00pm – Arrive, welcome and mingle over the making of simple blankets for a local animal shelter 7:45 – 8:00pm – Get-to-know-you games 8:00 – 8:45pm – Sharing of music, stories, and more, by representatives from different faiths, including our own YSAs who performed at the Extravaganza and Derek Godinet singing his song on Family and Harmony 8:45pm onwards – Photos, desserts, mingle. All are welcome. If you would like to make a donation of underwear to the Cambodian orphanage, please indicate in your RSVP to lds.publicrelations.mortdale@gmail.com. You will then be supplied with a name, photo and clothes size of a...