Church News and Events

Building Community Spirit in Papua New Guinea

  • 8 November 2012

Villagers from Papua New Guinea’s Karu area recently attended a baptismal service.  Image courtesy of Public Affairs Library

American couple Larry and Colleen Clark met and married while they were studying at Brigham Young University Hawaii in the “1960’s.” 

Fast forward to today, they are enjoying a unique life in the remote area of Karu, in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea.  For over twenty years they have called Papua New Guinea home. They own a cocoa and copra plantation.  Their son Shane runs a surf resort on the plantation.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints they associate often with the handful of other Mormons in the villages of the Karu area (seven to be exact), and with their other neighbours.

Recently the Clarks hosted a community activity day in the village of Kanam, with a pot luck meal and volleyball.  Mrs Clark taught those interested in cooking, how to prepare a banana cake in a tin over a fire.  

Over 80 villagers participated, and many friendships were strengthened.  The next day 17 non-Mormon villagers decided to attend the Latter-day Saint worship service with the Clarks and other local Church members. 

“Many of the village members were involved in the activity and found that working together in a simple activity can be fun and flavourful.  Community togetherness is alive and well in Karu, Papua New Guinea,” Larry Clark says. 

In 2008, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson, encouraged members of the Church “wherever they may be, to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere.”