When I think of the poor the words of the Savior to the rich young man come to my mind. The young man was trying keep all the commandments under the law of Moses and came to the Savior asking what else did he need to do? “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, one thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross & follow me.” (Mark 10: 21 in the Bible). What I gain from this scripture is the Savior loved this young man and was trying to help him understand how important it is to take care of the poor. That applies to all of us today. We are to be sensitive to the poor around us that struggle to sustain life and help the best we can. There are many honorable organizations whose mission is to take care of the poor and we can join or contribute to them.
Recent Experiences Carrying for the Poor Around the World
“The Kadado family who, for decades, owned three bakeries in Damascus, Syria. When war came, a blockade stopped food and supplies from reaching their part of the city. The Kadados began to starve. At the height of this desperate situation, Latter-day Saint Charities and some very courageous staff at Rahma Worldwide began serving a daily hot meal, along with milk for the little children. After a difficult time, the family began their life—as well as their bakery—once again in a new country. Recently, a box of cookies arrived at the Church offices with the following message: “For more than two months, we managed to get food from the Rahma–Latter-day Saint [Charities] kitchen. Without it we would [have] starve[d] to death. Please accept this … sample from my shop as a small token of thanks. I ask God the Almighty to bless you … in everything you do.”
South African COVID Relief
Sixteen-year-old Dieke Mphuti of Welkom, South Africa, lost her parents years ago, leaving her to care for three younger siblings on her own. It was always daunting for her to find enough food, but COVID supply shortages and quarantines made it almost impossible. They were often hungry, scraping by only with the generosity of neighbors.
On a sunny day in August 2020, Dieke was surprised by a knock at her door. She opened it to find two strangers—one a Church representative from the area office in Johannesburg and the other an official from South Africa’s Department of Social Development. The two organizations had teamed up to bring food to at-risk households. Relief washed over Dieke as she glimpsed the pile of cornmeal and other food staples, purchased with Church humanitarian funds. These would help her to sustain her family for several weeks until a government aid package could begin to take effect for her. Dieke’s story is one of thousands of such experiences taking place across the world during the COVID pandemic.
Afghan Relief at Ramstein
We have all seen recent images in the news: thousands of evacuees being flown from Afghanistan. Many arrived at air bases or other temporary locations in Qatar, the United States, Germany, and Spain before continuing to their final destinations. Their needs were immediate, and the Church responded with supplies and volunteers. At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the Church provided large donations of diapers, baby formula, food, and shoes.
Some of the church sisters noticed that many Afghan women were using their husband’s shirts to cover their heads because their traditional head coverings had been ripped off in the frenzy at the Kabul airport. In an act of friendship that crossed any religious or cultural boundaries, the sisters of the Ramstein First Ward (church) gathered to sew traditional Muslim clothing for Afghan women. Bethani Halls said, ‘We heard that women were in need of prayer garments, and we are sewing so that they can be [comfortable] for prayer.’
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once remarked: ‘Prayers are answered … most of the time … by God using other people.’ Well, I pray that He’ll use us. I pray that we’ll be the answer to people’s prayers.”
(Sharon Eubank “I Pray He’ll Use Us” Liahona Magazine, November 2021)
The Blessings of Helping the Poor
When we help one another we serve God. An ancient prophet taught, “…When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God…” (Mosiah 2: 17 p. 149 in the Book of Mormon)
We gain important blessings by helping the poor. We become less selfish. As we think of the problems of others, our own problems seem less serious. God has said that those who desire to someday live with Him must love and serve His children (Matthew 25: 34 – 40 in the Bible).