News Release

Tongan Latter-day Saints Share Crops from Family Gardens with People of Vanuatu

Cassava grown in family gardens was recently sent by boat from the Royal Kingdom of Tonga to grateful Latter-day Saints and their neighbours in Vanuatu. 

Port Vila Church member, Lekulima Basil, witnessed the arrival of the containers of the root crop last week.

"The people gathered at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' chapel were in awe at the numerous bags of cassava they saw,” she said.

“Volunteers worked to divide and then deliver the cassava by trucks to families and friends within the Port Vila area.”

Latter-day Saint recipient, Marian Mahit, said, “I don’t think Vanuatu can receive something so big such as this. This to me shows the love, sacrifice and hard-work of our brothers and sisters in Tonga. I am just grateful.”

Another recipient, Libby Lani, said, “We are grateful to families in Tonga for their heart. The cassava is so sweet, sweet, sweet! We know that this has come with great thought and love.  Thank you to our Tongan brothers and sisters.” 

Obediah Massing said, “Our thank you's will not be enough. This cassava is a lot! But all we can do is say ‘Thank you.’”

Elder Lebens, a missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been helping the people of Vanuatu recover and rebuild since March's Cyclone Pam. 

He said, “We are impressed by the help of the Church members in other countries who send containers of food and clothing to Vanuatu.  We admire the people here who stay patient despite their broken houses and are grateful for every act of attentiveness or help.”

Lekulima Basil says “the cassava for many families means much in terms of saving more money and eating healthier meals. With the high price of food in the local market after Cyclone Pam, many have seen these donations as a ‘Bigfala blessing.'"

Celina Nicholas echoed the thoughts and feelings of others on the receiving end of the Tongan gift of cassava. “It’s like manna falling down from heaven."

This shipment arrives on the heels of another shipment of food donated by Latter-day Saints in Samoa.

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