In the 1800s many early converts to the Church traveled to Zion using money from the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The PEF fund used both church assets and private contributions to aid impoverished converts to the LDS faith when they moved to the Utah valleys. Many of my ancestors were poor and were blessed to use this money because of the sacrifice of others. As they came to Zion their testimonies were strengthened and they were able to receive their endowments in the temple - thus being blessed physically and spiritually.
Today we have the Perpetual Education Fund which gives qualified people an opportunity to gain an education in a skill which will help them qualify for a better job. We also have the Temple Patron’s Fund, which assists needy temple-worthy members to travel to the temple to receive their endowments and be sealed as families. By financially contributing, we not only help people physically, but also spiritually. And, contributing in these ways, even if our donation is small, helps significantly to building the kingdom of God.
|Elder Greg Coffey, age 7-1/2 years old, Oregon|
Now, here in Asia, Sister Coffey and I are Humanitarian missionaries in the Welfare Department, serving with Elder and Sister Johnson, Jaymi Wong, and Patrick Cheuk. Between us we coordinate humanitarian work in 14 Asian countries. We work with about 19 in-country senior couples. This is all made possible because of your donations, even the donations of 10 cents at a time.
Disciples of Jesus Christ follow His example and do what He would do. The apostle John recorded: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)
King and prophet Mosiah told the people in his day: “I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.” (Mosiah 4:26)
In 2003 the Church began four major humanitarian initiatives: neonatal resuscitation training, clean water, wheelchair distribution, and vision treatment. Today we also do Asthma training in China, immunizations in India, and food production in Mongolia. In addition, we do many local special needs projects. Here are some examples:
|Bags of emergency items for Pakistan and India flood victims|
LDS Charities, a local partner Aim4Faith, and the Lahore District of the Church in Pakistan combined together to package and distribute 700 family packs of food and hygiene. This project was led by the district president and the local Branch President. The process was long and tiring but the group was full of joy and gratitude knowing that they were doing what the Master would have done Himself.
We have a covenant responsibility and charge to care for the poor and needy and to relieve suffering. In D&C 38:35 it reads: “And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer.”
|Inspecting the water filters for earthquake victims in China. Notice the LDSC logo.|
President Heber J. Grant said: “The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves.” This principle also applies to our humanitarian work, which is mostly directed to those who are not members of our Church. At a wheelchair distribution in Butwal, Nepal, Elder and Sister Valentine
|Using wooden bar-bell objects on his hands to scoot|
to the wheelchair chair distribution
He received a tricycle wheelchair. There is something ennobling about restoring human dignity through a wheelchair. He thanked Elder and Sister Valentine over and over and over, because now he could get to the mosque where he could perform his duties as a holy man. Spiritual sustenance for the human soul is also a basic need.
Everyday newborn babies die in the first minute of life because medical personnel are untrained in how to help the new born babies breathe. The first minute, called the ‘Golden Moment’ is critical to their life. LDS Charities provides a neonatal resuscitation training program to doctors, nurses, and mid-wives in many counties in Asia. Elder Jeffery R. Holland said, “ I was traveling in a distant part of the world and one of the nurses told me the story of having had just in recent months that very
|Neo-Natal Resucitation Training in Nepal|
In Nepal, a recent 6-month monitoring report identified that the 100 plus people trained in March 2014 have now trained another 2000 medical professionals at their facilities. According to a government report 10,000 newborn babies’ lives have been saved because of this training in that one country alone.
President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said: “The real long term objective of the welfare plan is the building of character in the members of the Church, givers and receivers, rescuing all that is finest down deep inside of them, and bringing to flower and fruitage the latent richness of the spirit, which after all is the mission and purpose and reason for being of this Church.” (President J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871–1961), First Counselor in the First Presidency, in Glen L. Rudd, Pure Religion: The Story of Church Welfare Since 1930 (1995), 301.)
The welfare plan operates on basic principles - such as becoming self-reliant, caring for the poor and needy, and serving others. A recent vision training project in Vietnam these principles. LDS
|LDSC specialists demonstrate eye surgery techniques in Vietnam|
Mr. and Mrs. Du live in Gansu Province, China. Mrs. Du is 48 years old, and was injured in an accident and paralyzed from the waist down. Mrs. Du lays on her bed all day and crochets small hats, and sells them for 1 RMB, or about 16 US cents. Mr. Du is a farmer, growing wheat, corn and
|Mrs. Du in China, happy to have her first wheelchair|
When Elder and Sister Orvin presented her with her very 1st wheelchair she simply lit up with joy, happiness, and gratitude. Mr. Du then tenderly picked her up and put her in her new wheelchair, which was a cherished moment Elder and Sister Orvin will always remember.
Jesus said: “ 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
We all know the overwhelming feeling of goodness that comes to us as we help the poor and needy. My hope is that we will have the opportunity, every day, to reach out to help a needy soul. By so doing, we will save our own souls.
I testify that Jesus is the Messiah. He is the perfect example of serving the poor and needy - both of the body and of the spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.