News Release

Mormon Missionaries Help Rebuild Catholic School After Fiji Cyclone

Cyclone Winston was the strongest storm to hit Fiji in recorded history. Many schools were damaged and destroyed and several remain closed awaiting repair. In Taveuni, young missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) volunteered to help rebuild the Navakawau Catholic School.

Missionaries Riley Jones, Luke DeBaltzo, and Micah Amisone of the USA, with Wame Vitiaria of Fiji, and Jim Roberts of Australia are dressed every day in white shirts and ties.

But for the past month they have been seen all around the island of Taveuni Fiji dressed in their "grubbies."  They are spending most of their waking hours assisting the victims of TC Winston.

One of their projects is helping to rebuild a set of classrooms of a Catholic school that had the roof lifted off by the cyclone. 

By gathering the original trusses that were strewn around the area, and under the direction of a local Rotary club volunteer, Mr. Koroca, the missionaries were able to reinstall the roof. 

The Navakawau Catholic School administrators were very pleased to have the assistance. They have resumed classes where possible, though they are still working on parts of the school. Kindergarten will not be starting for a while, since that building was severely damaged. 

Mormon missionaries are typically some of the first responders when a natural disaster occurs in their locality.

They are young men and women in their late teens and early twenties who have dedicated themselves to serving an 18 to 24 month mission wherever they are assigned by Church leaders.

Their desire is to follow Jesus Christ and to demonstrate it by teaching about Him and serving their fellowmen. They are having ample opportunity to do that on Taveuni Island. 

Photo credits: Karen Vermeeren

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