Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are a compassionate and service oriented people. Whenever a need arises, they are always ready and willing to render any assistance necessary. One way in which members are able to provide community service and disaster relief for those in need is through a Church priesthood-directed program known as Mormon Helping Hands. According to the official website for Mormon Helping Hands:
The program provides priesthood leaders with an optional service opportunity for Church members and helps establish the name and reputation of the Church. It is a proven means of helping dispel stereotypes often held about the Church, showing that Latter-day Saints are Christians who contribute to the good of their communities.
Successful projects have been conducted throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific, and the United States. The objectives of the program are five-fold: (1) help the needy and improve communities, (2) strengthen Church members, (3) share the gospel indirectly, (4) build relationships with opinion leaders, and (5) enhance the reputation of the Church.
Appreciation and Recognition of Service
The service that the Mormon Helping Hands render does not go unnoticed. They do not receive any monetary compensation. However, their lives are richly blessed from knowing that they touch the lives of those for whom the service is given in both small and oftentimes grandiose ways.
Recently, Mayor Annise Parker called upon local Mormon missionaries and the Mormon Helping Hands to assist in disaster relief following major flooding that occurred on Memorial Day. In appreciation for that service, on 24 June 2015, at a Houston City Council Meeting, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recognized as the leading contributor of volunteers and time. Mayor Parker commented, “The response from the Latter-day Saints was so overwhelming and so immediate that it really set the standard.”
On that day a proclamation was enacted declaring 24 June 2015 as Mormon Helping Hands Day. The proclamation read in part:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ dedicated disaster response team Mormon Helping Hands organized over 560 volunteers who have served more than 14,000 hours to help Houstonians clean up and recover from the Memorial Day flood.
The City of Houston commends and appreciates Mormon Helping Hands for its volunteer efforts as part of the S.A.V.E. Houston initiative. Their selfless dedication toward ensuring Houston’s resilience in the face of natural disaster truly encompasses the compassionate spirit of Houston.
The proclamation was accepted by Elder Daniel W. Jones, an Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ, representing the 180-plus LDS congregations throughout the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast Region. In his remarks to the members of the city council, he stated, “We are grateful for the privilege of showing our faith by the works that we do.” He then presented Mayor Parker with the June 7th edition of the Church News, which featured a photo of her and a story about the city/missionary combined efforts.
One of the council members, Dwight Boykins of District D, exclaimed, “To the youngsters in the yellow shirts — just know for certain your work doesn’t go in vain. We see you guys on weekends, we see you doing work all around the city. Just prepare yourselves for the future because God has big plans for you.”
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.