2017 has brought a long and devastating chain of natural disasters, particularly to the western hemisphere. Lives have been lost and many more individuals and families are trying to return to the life they had before their world changed completely.
As nations have struggled to rebuild, reconstruct, and repair the damage caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms, and other calamities, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received enormous donations of both money and time in order to provide help.
On the Mormon Newsroom website, it was recorded, “Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé noted that ‘in September, members donated over 1 million hours of service in the U.S. alone […] Donations to the Humanitarian Aid Fund in September were more than four times the monthly average.’ Such donations,” they write, “enable the Church and its partners to respond quickly and efficiently to disasters throughout the world.”
The Church has been working for global welfare since the end of World War II—when it would send clothing, supplies, food and other items to aid citizens of European countries. In 1978, an Emergency Response committee was formed. And in 1985, the Church Humanitarian Services program began. These programs have improved the lives of countless people, emulating the example of a Savior who came to “succor his people.”
President Eyring, in a public statement, exclaimed, “In the midst of this suffering, people throughout the world have rallied to come to the aid of their brothers and sisters.” On behalf of the First Presidency of the Church, he thanked all who have and continue to give so generously of their time and money to help those in need.
President Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, also made a profound statement concerning the recent catastrophes. “The Church is really not so much about an organization. The Church is much more about you, about every individual member. That makes all the difference,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency. “Your work, your service, your love, your kindness to God and your fellowmen is a reflection of what the Church is all about.”
While visiting citizens of California, where many were affected by recent wildfires, Elder Rasband said, “We’re only a few weeks beyond this disaster, and from my experience, whether ministering to those who have lost loved ones or lost property, the days get harder the farther we get away from the event,” during a special meeting at the Santa Rosa Stake Center Friday night, October 27, 2017.
“I pray the Lord will bless you to know you’re not alone,” he told the congregation. “Not only are you surrounded by those who love you here, [but] that you might know that literally the whole Church is praying for you.”
With so many tragedies occurring around the world, the First Presidency invites all to keep an eye of faith and to rely on the tender mercies of the Lord, to see “the light even in the darkness” (President Eyring).
Those who wish to assist with the Church’s relief efforts are invited to find ways to serve in their communities or donate to the Humanitarian Aid Fund. Opportunities for local service can be found on justserve.org. To learn more about the Church’s efforts, visit ldscharities.org and mormonnewsroom.org.