News Story

Africa Mormon Helping Hands Celebrate Five Years by Volunteering

More than 120,000 hours of service were rendered in over 40 African countries, Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius in celebration of the 5th Annual All Africa Mormon Helping Hands day Saturday, 20 August 2011.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Nairobi (Kenya), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) to Maputo (Mozambique), Harare (Zimbabwe) to Accra (Ghana), Lusaka (Zambia) to Gaborone (Botswana) and Luanda (Angola) to Windhoek (Namibia) participated.

Elder Stephen Harms, a missionary for the Church, said, “Washing windows, weeding, planting vegetables, picking up trash and beautifying communities are ways we demonstrate our desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ. We try to serve as He did.”

He explained the service day included three objectives: “Build relationships with community leaders, strengthen and unite families and build a better community through service.”

Mormon Helping Hands is a worldwide program where Latter-day Saints reach out in their communities to give service and help those in need.

Latter-day Saints in the eastern Africa area of Bujumbura, Burundi, worked with a neighborhood association to clean a drainage ditch that had become overgrown with weeds. About 30 yellow-vested members and missionaries worked side by side with members of the community with “coup coups” (curved machetes) and rakes to clear the weeds and trash. At the end of the project, the manager of the neighborhood association thanked everyone for their efforts.

Near Cape Town in South Africa, Church congregations in Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Somerset West, Paarl, Guguletu, Meadowridge, Mowbray and Fish Hoek worked at the Beaconvale Community Fair Care Centre.

They trimmed trees, pulled weeds, cleared flower beds, cut long overgrown grass, washed windows and planted a vegetable garden. The Church donated compost as well as the carrot and mielie seeds as a way to help feed the center’s residents.

In Lubumbashi in the DR Congo, local television station NYOTA TV covered the All Africa Mormon Helping Hands day extensively and aired an interview with Gary L. Packer, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi Mission, more than 20 times. The story focused on Church doctrine, the 75th anniversary of the welfare program and the Mormon Helping Hands efforts. The announcer began each news broadcast with an introduction about the Church, describing it as a Christian religion.

In Johannesburg, the Randburg congregation tied blankets and then delivered them along with food to needy families at a preschool in the township of Diepsloot.

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