New Zealand labour missionaries built the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, Church College of New Zealand and many other buildings in Temple View and other parts of the country in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. These men and women, and their families, sacrificed a great deal over extended periods of time as they worked together on a variety of construction sites.
A group of labour missionaries and their descendants gathered in Temple View last November.
Elder David J. Thomson, an Area Seventy, shared with the group a number of faith-promoting experiences resulting from service and how the spirit of service, so well exemplified by New Zealand’s labour missionaries, has blessed his life.
“I am not a descendant of a labour missionary, but I am a beneficiary of their service, as are each one of us,” Elder Thomson said.
Elder Thomson continued by encouraging those in attendance to follow the Saviour as recorded in John chapter 21. He counselled all “to cast their nets of service on the side the Lord directs” and promised that as they do so, their efforts will be blessed with success.
Eddie Owen, the first baby born in the labour missionary camp, remembered the love of service instilled in him and his friends by their labour missionary parents.
Barry Williams spoke of his journey to become a labour missionary and how, after getting over the shock of earning only $1 per week, he stayed on his mission and the right path because of the righteous influence of his labour missionary companions.
Wendy Biesinger-Thacker, the youngest daughter of George and Audrey Biesinger and one of five Biesinger children born in Temple View, told of her parents’ hearts filled with love for their work and how “they came, they served, and they loved,” and the labour missionaries loved them right back. Wendy’s father, George R. Biesinger, supervised the Church’s building programme throughout the South Pacific.
The event was organised by the newly formed Labour Missionary Legacy Trust and took place at the Kai Hall, Temple View.
One of the organisers, John Campbell, said the mission of the trust is to “honour our past and shape our future.”