Since moving to this area, I have felt sad about the condition of our hospital. The roof is broken, the paint is the same that was applied when it was first built many years ago, the mattresses are very old as are the towels and linen.
In January 2019 I decided that something needed to be done. I went to the hospital and spoke to some members of the management staff. I asked if there was any way that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could help. They told me that another organisation had donated some paint but there was no one to do the painting.
Painting the hospital seemed like a wonderful way to serve in our community but when I checked the paint there was nowhere near enough to cover the whole hospital. I made some calculations and concluded that we would need another 80 litres of paint.
At our Friday night branch presidency meeting I asked my branch president if we could paint the hospital as a service activity and if we would be able to donate some more paint. He was very supportive and said that we would be able to donate an extra 10 litres, which was wonderful but still not enough.
As we planned the activity, I realised the district of Tanna has eight branches; and the hospital services the whole of the district, not just our branch. Lenakel is the smallest branch in the district, if we were able to donate 10 litres, perhaps each of the other branches could do the same. If each branch donated 10 litres that would be the 80 litres we needed.
The next Monday was the district meeting with all the branch presidents. I shared with them my plan for the hospital. Each one decided to get on board and donate 10 litres of paint as well as some members from each branch to do the painting.
On the 6th of April 2019 we painted the hospital. What started out as a small branch service project turned into a huge district-wide event.
Before we started, we asked the manager of the hospital to say a few words. There were tears in his eyes as he expressed his awe and appreciation for our service. All the hospital employees and patients said that this was the first time they’d seen a Church do service on such a large scale.
Since that service project on 6th April, our missionaries have baptised more than 50 people into our branch. We may never know what effect our acts of service may have in the lives of others; not only those we serve, but also those who are watching.