News Story

A Helping Hand, a Friend, and a Purpose

How The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and The Salvation Army Work Together in Huonville, Tasmania.


It was just before Christmas 2018 and Chris Walker, from the Huonville Salvation Army, was attempting to organise a Community Christmas lunch all on her own. Laura Watson, knowing the great service of “the Salvos”—asked, “Is there anything we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can do to help you help the community?”

As the Church’s organisation for women provided food for the occasion and volunteers to help on the day, Chris said, “I’m so impressed, and so happy to work beside anyone who cares for the community.”

Further support was provided when Daryl Watson, Laura’s husband, coordinated with the men from church to help people move, mow lawns, or make needed trips to specialists.

This began a series of service, friendship, and cooperation between the Latter-day Saints and the Salvation Army in Huonville which continues today. The women volunteer Thursday mornings for the Salvos’ “Drop-in Centre” initiative, stocking the freezer they donated with meals and cupcakes. Laura makes soups and sausage rolls. Donations and food drive are made throughout the year and at Christmas.


Chris’s energy and ability to help the community in so many ways encouraged Laura to continue volunteering. The two became the best of friends with their similar attitudes, humour, and love for interfaith relations. Their different religions knew no barrier to their friendship. Chris said, “We all serve one God.”

The Goddards, a Latter-day Saint missionary couple, also came to help the Salvation Army during the 2019 bush fires. They fed all the evacuated Tasmanians, developing trust with them.

When the Goddards returned home to the middle of outback Western Australia with no mobile reception, a frightened woman whom they previously helped was very ill and tried calling them the night before she died. Miraculously, her call got through. The Goddards spoke to her for over an hour and helped to ease her fear of what she would find on the other side. They had no cellular reception before or after this call.

When Laura Watson had a family tragedy, her Salvation Army friend, Chris Walker, was walking through New York at the time and just happened to look up and see a Church of Jesus Christ chapel. Feeling prompted to go inside, she asked for something to console her friend and decided on a Book of Mormon, saying, "Well, she might already have one, but she needs another one." This thoughtful gesture became a treasured gift.


“Interfaith service is so loving and accepting of others’ journeys, because we are all God’s children,” Laura says. “With the diversity of people that come in for help, some are religious, others are not. It is just so natural for religion to come up in conversations. No one takes offence. We accept each other’s ideas and opinions. We pray with and for each other, each acting as voice.”

Volunteering has taught Laura “not to judge others, as the people that you least expect can surprise you by their insight and spiritual connection to Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to have this shared connection.”

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