What are the first two commandments?
Jesus Christ was once asked by a man the question of “what’s the greatest commandment”. He taught and replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:38-40)
As Christians, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes referred to as Mormons) strive to follow Jesus Christ’s commandment to show love to our neighbors all around the world. For the Latter-day Saints, giving charitable and voluntary service is one of the best ways to show love to others. Inspired by scriptural admonitions to love and serve others (James 1:27; Alma 34:27–29), they find different ways to help their brothers and sisters who are in need, like giving counsels, educating them about Jesus Christ , rendering various services and many others.
How does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve others?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does a variety of services every year in helping and serving thousands of people around the globe. It has formed several organizations within the Church that specifically looks after the service and relief effort done by the Church. Some of the more popular and active organizations include the LDS Charities and the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center.
LDS Charities engages itself in various charitable programs with the desire to help people globally. Such programs are “built on being responsible for one’s actions, community support, independence, and continuous efforts to uplift lives”. One of these initiatives run by the LDS Charities is Benson Food , which focuses on “increased food security for people receiving help primarily by teaching them sustainable and economical practices “ like how to make and prepare food at home; ways to improve health and nutrition, and learning safe procedures in storing food. Benson Food operates in 12 countries and has served approximately 116,000 people in 2016.
The other programs under LDS Charities focus on other specific human concerns, where help is very much needed. To name a few: having clean water to drink; immediate global emergency response after the occurrence of natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons; giving assistance or even mediating during civil unrest or disorder; addressing famine or hunger due to food shortage; caring for mothers and newborn babies; giving aid to those with vision problems; and providing wheelchairs or any other devices that can help disabled individuals move freely and become mobile. LDS Charities have also partnered with willing organizations around the world, in the hope to reach as many people, and as well to best meet the local needs.
The Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center
In providing material help to those who needed it, the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center ships and gives a great number of basic necessities to people located in more than 50 countries. These include: approximately 8 million pounds of shoes and clothing, 300,000 hygiene and school kits, 12,000 blankets and bedcovers. Whenever possible, these humanitarian supplies are acquired just within the vicinity where it is needed, so as to ensure fast delivery and distribution.
In addition, trainings are held at the Humanitarian Center which last for 18 months. The trainings and workshops teach members of the community that can include refugees and immigrants, to believe in their selves and be self-reliant before they start work. Participants are given assistance by the center in finding jobs right after they have completed the training
Mormon Helping Hands
Aside from organizations, congregations and centers that deal with small service projects around the world, each member of Church lends his own hand by serving others through Mormon Helping Hands program. The Mormon Helping Hands volunteers can be recognized easily because they all wear similar yellow vests when they do community services and engage themselves in disaster relief operations. They don’t provide goods or funds, but they promise help through free labor service in needed times. The thousands of regular Church members who have spent time volunteering for Mormon Helping Hands projects testify that Latter-day Saints are Christians who contribute to the good of their communities.
What do Mormon missionaries do to serve others?
Devoting oneself to doing missionary works is a form of a loving, Christian service for many members of the Church. Many missionaries serve full-time proselyting missions, during which they spend much of their time preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Others serve Church-service missions. Missionaries walk the streets amidst the sun’s scorching heat, that is why Church-service missions are often an option for young people who are not able to go on proselyting missions because of physical, mental, or emotional challenges.
Members who have come of age retire and serve full-time on Church-service missions. They either act as individuals or couples who do various things just to give service in any way they can. They are also considered missionaries, with particular missions serving particular people. It’s worthwhile and inspiring to mention the services they give, like assisting in the recovery of people who are into addiction; manning bishops’ storehouses that give free food to those hungry; helping people get jobs through searching employment resources; gives counseling on how to attain harmony between the physical and spiritual aspect of a being, especially those who reside in stressful cities; and helping others through family history research or indexing historical records.
Why does it matter?
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of what true love and service means. He helped everyone without condition, hesitation and judgement. He didn’t look at a person’s background, color of skin or status, instead He let all people feel that they all deserve His charity, grace and undying love. He showed selfless love and compassion. This is what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aim to follow, to be Christ-like in servicing their fellow men.
Click here to learn more about the service efforts of the Church.
Visit justserve.org to find opportunities to serve through the different organizations in your community.