Local residents take photos with service members from New Zealand and the United States following a religious service at the Ebenezer Oeba Church in Kupang, Indonesia. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Stephen Oleksiak)

KUPANG, Indonesia - Participants from Pacific Partnership (PP14) 2014 built community ties and made new friendships during a religious service at the Ebenezer Oeba Church in Kupang, May 29.

During PP14, teams on the ground work with multiple community groups and at the invitation of the church, PP14 leaders spoke of the unity and partnership between people of all backgrounds.

New Zealand Capt. David Lacey, a chaplain in the New Zealand Army, was asked to co-lead the service and said that it was a very unique experience.

"For me, the most remarkable thing about this is we can come together from three different countries in one church to share unity within our diversity," said Lacey. "There was lot of joy in it, judging from all the smiles and handshakes and photographs that were taken afterward."

This is the first time that the church has had guests from foreign nations speak. The church leaders were grateful and happy to welcome the team from PP14.

"Today I am very, very glad because now our church has had honorable participants from Pacific Partnership to join us for a service," said Rio Funggidae, a pastor at the church.

For Lacey, the chance for the Ebenezer Oeba Church to share this event with members of PP14 made a great experience and memory.

"This has been a very significant event for this church to be able to come together from three countries and share this experience," said Lacey.

Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.