The Pacific Area Presidency has invited local members to join in a national fast due to drought and more than 100 wildfires burning in the area.
“With all that is unfolding in much of Australia, we invite the Australian Saints to unite with one another and the Pacific Area Presidency on the first Fast Sunday in January, 2020 (5 January) and dedicate a portion of their fast to petition the Lord for relief from the bushfires and drought conditions,” read the news release on the Australia Newsroom page.
The Church has donated funds to help with the state of drought and fire in the area. Local members have also donated hours of service, and Welfare and Self-Reliance teams have been aiding and giving guidance to Church leaders in the area.
“Please know the prayers of the Area Presidency have been, and will continue on behalf of your nation during this challenging time,” the news release stated.
According to Associated Press, 15 people have died due to the wildfires and more than 175 homes have been destroyed as of January 1.
Elder Leetham, a missionary from Pleasant Grove, Utah, serving in Narooma, Australia, shared pictures with his parents of the wildfires.
“This was a no-filter picture,” his mom, Shannon Leetham, told KSL News. “It was an actual picture of what the sky looked like. He said he has never seen blood-red sky like that before. He said it was an eerie feeling.”
A #PleasantGrove teenager serving a church mission in #Australia sent these photos to his parents. He has been evacuated from the town he was staying in. We're talking to his parents and will have this story tonight on @KSL5TV at 10. #ksltv pic.twitter.com/5NJKW2xodq— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) January 2, 2020
Elder Leetham and his companion have been transferred from Narooma to Sydney due to the high smoke in the area, according to KSL News.
The Pacific Area Presidency also noted in their request for a national fast that Church members who wish to help with emergency relief efforts may contribute to the Church's Humanitarian Aid Fund. Find additional information here.