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.
Mr. David Coleman meeting with Ward leaders
Reception held after Stake Conference meetings
Mr. Craig Kelly meeting with children at the reception
L Mr David Coleman, MP (Federal Member for Banks), M Philip Barton (Mortdale Stake President), R Mr Craig Kelly, MP (Federal Member for Hughes)
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 recalled, “When we gave the sleeping bag to ‘Trevor,’ he had tears in his eyes as he told us that he’s been after one of these for a long time. The young man with me then asked if he could give Trevor our whole bag of food.”
Foga’a elaborated that, after the youth had distributed all the food and blankets, they started giving their own jumpers, scarves, beanies, snacks and bags. When they had nothing left to give, the youth simply wanted to talk to the people.
According to Lawrence, the group of youth was able to go up to anyone and everyone by the end of the activity. He said, “The youth were so engaged in the activity, they did not realize that they had not eaten dinner; yet, none of them complained or asked to stop at McDonalds on the way back.”
The leaders commented that they had never seen the youth return from a youth activity in such a quiet and humble manner.
Lawrence concluded, “The youth were grateful for their own families and were humble about where they come from. This was an opportunity to create awareness among the young people of others in the community who may be in need of their help and comfort.”
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.”