President and Sister Dunn

Sunday, December 25, 2016

In Memoriam: Elder Latu

In Memoriam: Elder Nofo-I-Lelenga Latu (1997-2016) - The outpouring of love and prayers for our dear companion and friend, Elder Latu—who died in a tragic car accident on Thursday—has been overwhelming and so appreciated. It has also been a genuine godsend to our missionaries who have been understandably devastated by this tragedy. Elder Latu was a phenomenal, consecrated missionary who inspired and lifted all he came in contact with. Every day and in every way he was all about doing the work of the Lord. He truly gave "the last full measure of devotion." And his radiance and effervescent spirit will be sorely missed. His unflinching commitment to his God and his religion can be best stated with the words of another similarly committed young person, Joan of Arc: “Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it…and then it’s gone. But to surrender who you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying – even more terrible than dying young.” Elder Latu certainly gave his life for what he believed in. And his stellar example will continue to inspire and lift us as we mourn together and work through this painful event. It will no doubt also help us as we collectively rise from our sadness and become even more committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ—which gives us the the clarity and certainty of knowing that Elder Latu's spirit indeed lives on. I will never forget the day we met Elder Latu and first saw his ever-present smile on a bright and beautiful morning this past August at the mission home in South Africa. Nor can I ever forget the stirring tribute to him yesterday morning, on Christmas Eve, where every missionary in Johannesburg gathered to reflect on Elder Latu's life, and on the 100-day reading of the Book of Mormon which culminated that same morning. As our missionaries bowed their heads in tribute, Elder Latu's companion, Elder Andrews, holds up Elder Latu's Book of Mormon,flanked by Elder Eatough (left) and Elder Droubay (right), who were all miraculously unhurt in the accident. Elder Latu's last journal entry in this study book reads, "I am so grateful for the joy I find in this work." Please join us as we continue to pray for Elder Latu's family in New Zealand, and for the missionaries who mourn our loss yet celebrate his remarkable life here in South Africa. ‘Oku ou ‘ofa ‘ia koe, Elder Latu.

 Elder Latu was trained by Elder Benson (above) and served in the village of KaNymazane. This picture captures his energy and positive outlook on all that he was sent here to do!
More information coming as we plan for a mission memorial!


  1. Our family is mourning Elder Latu's passing along with the wonderful missionaries in the SAJoburg Mission. Our prayers are with you, and especially his family, as you heal and "press forward with hope in Jesus Christ." Surely there will be miracles take place in the hearts of the good people in your mission. We know the veil is very thin and Elder Latu's influence will be felt. With our sincerest love, Kerry & Eunice & Taft Asay

  2. Awe Sister Dunn... what an awesome tribute! I was in tears, the last photo is VERY SIMILAR to one of our son Connor's photo in Taiwan where he passed away in August 2014 while serving in the Taiwan Taipei Mission... I KNOW how much Elder Latu loved the people he was serving!!!! The outstretched arms are the same evidence shown by Connor in his photo in Taiwan. As I told your husband on his Facebook post... your missionaries will be stronger and more valiant as they follow the Savior and Elder Latu's example... we witnessed that with the missionaries in Taiwan. I promise, they will be stronger... Hugs!!