News Story

Real Missionaries Give Real Service at Auckland City Mission

"Serving others is why we are here"

“They are here for a higher cause,” says Wilf Holt, team leader for the crew who serves the homeless at Auckland's Haeata Community Centre.  

He was speaking about a group of young missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who come faithfully to serve every Tuesday and Thursday. 

“I really suspect they enjoy being here, doing what they do, and if it pleases God at the same time, hey, that’s a winner."

      

The Centre serves breakfast and lunch to as many as 200 people every day.

The missionaries love serving at the kitchen. In fact, on Thursday the 8th of August, the missionaries broke into song as they served.

One of the missionaries, Sister Lisia Ika, who is from the United States and of Tongan descent, said, “It’s not really like serving the homeless, it’s like serving our brothers and sisters. Being able to know that we are all children of God. It’s just a great experience and it brings warmth to all of us.”

The Church’s New Zealand Auckland Mission sends a group of six missionaries every Tuesday and Thursday to help with preparing, serving and cleaning up after lunch at the Haeta Community Centre.

Elder Mason Fakahua, a young missionary from the United states, also of Tongan descent, said, “Serving here in the Auckland City Mission is amazing. The people are just wonderful. It’s always amazing to see their smiles...we love the people.”

 

The Centre is part of the Auckland City Mission which also provides medical services, crisis care, homeless outreach and detox services. 

Anne Lawson, volunteer coordinator at the Auckland City Mission, is responsible for organizing and scheduling volunteers to help with the meal service. 

Speaking of the missionaries, she said, “They’re a wonderful group of people. They bring a lively and jovial difference to the service at lunchtime and it’s greatly appreciated by the homeless community.” 

Lawson notes that the mission wants to make sure that volunteers bring warmth, empathy and compassion, to give back and want to help others. 

She says these missionaries "absolutely do” manifest those traits.  “They want to help, they want to be here."

When asked about what it means to him to serve at the Centre, Elder Norman Uili, from Samoa, said, “It's something beautiful to me. It’s a great opportunity to help others. That’s one of the reasons I am here, to reach out to our brothers and sisters.”  

Wilf Holt says they could not manage without the missionaries. “We really scored the jackpot here because not only do they turn up every Tuesday, every Thursday, they are great, they really are!”

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