Something that leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as “the Mormons“) have stressed throughout the last century is the need to be prepared for disasters or other unforeseen events. Not only do we need to have our own homes and affairs in order, but we also need to be prepared to help others in need. Two stories recently in the news shows this counsel put into action.
In Ghana, a country in Africa, twenty-eight missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently visited two orphanages in Accra and brought food and gifts for the children. As reported on allafrica.com, the children performed songs and dances for the missionaries, and two of the missionaries performed a Polynesian dance for the children. The mission president told the children about the birth of Jesus Christ.
The food and gifts were provided by the Church, and included bags with school supplies and two books for each child. These bags had been put together and filled earlier by volunteers, with the intention of distributing them to children who needed them. Reports such as these remind us of our responsibilities to help those in need; there are so many people in the world who can use our help. For information on how you can assist LDS Humanitarian Services in helping people in need throughout the world, including making school kits for children like these, visit www.lds.org/humanitarianservices . Instructions for making the school kits can be found by clicking on the link for “How Can I Help?” at the left sidebar. From there, click on “Make humanitarian aid kits.”
Across the globe in Lehi, Utah, another emergency plan was called into action earlier this month. LDS meetinghouses – as well as meetinghouses of other faiths – are sometimes used as shelters in times of natural disasters when people are evacuated from their homes. A nasty snowstorm that ripped through Utah County in February did not create a need for evacuation, but did leave some motorists and school children stranded after several roads were closed. Several local Church leaders made their meetinghouses available for stranded individuals as they waited out the storm. Local police were also involved in the efforts to provide safe places for these individuals.
“Church buildings are ideal for this type of situation,” Larry Johnson of Saratoga Springs said to the Deseret Morning News. “They have great facilities – bathrooms, a gymnasium, little rooms where you can turn on a video.” He spent that evening looking after individuals who took refuge in his local chapel. The Relief Society (Church women’s organization) provided hot chocolate and snacks.
Local Church leaders credit their congregations’ emergency preparedness plans. With plans in place for how members of each congregation will mobilize in the event of a disaster, it was relatively simple to bring those plans into action when they were needed.
Both of these examples remind us of the importance of having plans and resources available in times of need. Preparing ahead could make all the difference in the world to us later on.