Friday, August 19, 2011

LDS service in Latin America

In Seamay, Guatemala:
A retired civil engineer, Elder Curtiss supervised the construction of a water tank that helped bring water into the homes of the 2,000 villagers, who had never had running water in their homes [right]. In the meantime, he and his wife taught sanitation classes at the Church and helped begin construction on a new school that will soon have a library and a computer lab. While the Church paid for the water tank and facilitated construction of the school, the villagers did the labor themselves, which Elder Curtiss says helped them feel ownership of the changes occurring in their village.
In Brazil during an LDS national day of service, July 31:

More than 6,000 volunteers were mobilized to fight against dengue fever, a virus-based disease spread by mosquitoes, through a door-to-door education campaign. In Santa Catarina, near the Brazilian coast, volunteers gathered nearly 17 tons of food to be used by institutions for needy families.
Mormon Helping Hands volunteers also facilitated the donation of blood to local blood banks. Other projects included cleaning beaches, marshes, parks and public squares and the distribution of newborn kits for hospitals.
The LDS Africa day of service will be August 31, as we learned while meeting with the saints in Abuja. In Abuja they will be repairing a local school. I'm not yet sure what we in Yola will be doing because we only just got here.

I was also touched by this story of an LDS reporter who went to Tonga and found everything chaotic and not according to plan. She was advised that while there, many things would not go "right," but that she would find unexpected treasures that delight, comfort, and enable her to do what needed to be done.

As was evident in the Tonga airport, things in that island nation did not go as she expected they should. She did not have a telephone or Internet connection in her room. The building had no food services. The refrigerator across the hall started beeping at 3 a.m. — every night — and never stopped. And there were few road signs and no fast food restaurants in the country.
But — thanks to sweet direction from a faithful temple president — she found things far greater. Church members hung bananas outside her room. They helped her use a computer at the Church's administrative offices on the campus of the LDS high school. And they invited her into their homes for dinner.
Such a story sounds much more familiar than it did a few weeks ago.

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