News Release

Latter-day Saints Around the World: Country Newsroom Websites, November 12, 2020  

Latter-day Saints serve their communities in Germany, French Polynesia, Bolivia, the United States and Tahiti.

Newsroom features stories from its dozens of websites around the world to show what members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are doing to serve their communities. Today we feature news from Germany, French Polynesia, Bolivia, the United States and Tahiti.

Germany: Bedding from the Temple Guest House Warms Refugees

The Germany Newsroom (German) reported a unique donation from the Church’s temple in Frankfurt, Germany. The temple guest house donated 620 sets of bed linen, 436 fitted sheets and 173 towels to the Diakonisches Werk für Frankfurt and Offenbach, a refugee settlement in Friedrichsdorf, on October 12.

Many temples of the Church sit adjacent to large guest houses, which provide lodging for Latter-day Saints who travel long distances to worship. These guest houses, along with the temples, were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was important to us that the laundry should continue to be used instead of simply being thrown away,” said Jens Müller-Hopf, a temple administrator. “We are pleased that things will now be of use to people who have found refuge with their families in our region.”

Pacific: Latter-day Saint Charities Passes on the Vision of Technology to the Visually Impaired

Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, sent a donation of computers with built-in software for the blind to the Association of Blind and Visually Impaired People of French Polynesia, Voir Ensemble – Mata Hotu no Porinetia. The computers are equipped with advanced technology that creates artificial speech from any text. The computers were showcased at an open house as part of the inauguration of the association’s new facility in Papeete and in celebration of World Sight Day (October 8).

The Association of Blind and Visually Impaired People of French Polynesia has around 50 people who help the visually impaired with education and employment opportunities. The president of the association, Diego Tetihia, said, “I am grateful for the computers offered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thanks to its support, the association will now be able to teach the blind and visually impaired members how to use computers and software to increase their skill level and improve their employability.”

The Pacific Newsroom (English) notes the association could provide only braille training in its previous location. “In this new home, on top of gardening and cooking, our training will include genealogy and computing,” Tetihia said.

Bolivia: Latter-day Saint Youth Sow Life During Tree-Planting Campaign

On October 9, more than 120 young Latter-day Saints teamed up with the Helping Hands program to plant small trees throughout the city of La Paz, Bolivia, as part of the Siembra Vida (Sow Life) campaign. The young volunteers hailed from the Copacabana Stake (group of congregations) of the Church. According to the Bolivia Newsroom (Spanish), the president of the Municipal Council of La Paz, Andrea Cornejo, expressed gratitude to the participants. “Thank you to The Church of Jesus Christ. Thank you to the leaders of the Copacabana Stake. Thank you to all of you young people because today you have sown life,” she said. “What you have done today is very important because our country is going through difficult times and your contribution gives us hope.”

Bethel AME Church-Chico, CA
Youth from local congregations of the Church participate in efforts to restore the bell tower and steeple of the Bethel AME Church in for their neighbors in Chico, California.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

United States: Volunteers Restore Steeple and Bell Tower of 157-Year-Old Church

In October, 30 members of the Church from congregations in the Chico, California, area participated in a community day of service to restore the bell tower and steeple of the Bethel AME Church. This house of worship was built by Annie Bidwell in 1867 making it the oldest chapel in Chico. The building has undergone three building relocations over the years and eventually lost its bell tower and steeple in the1950s.

While leaders of the AME Church have always hoped to restore the tower and steeple, Pastor Loretta Dickerson-Smith says all the work being done is long overdue. “Nothing that we’re doing is on a wish list,” she said. “These were things that were needed; roofs [repaired], replacing wood that had dry-rotted, windows that needed replacement [and]foundation work. Without these needed repairs, quite possibly, the church could have gone into demise.”

“Church buildings are very important,” said Joann Madsen, a volunteer and leader of the women’s organization in the Chico Stake. “We need to help our friends get back into theirs.”

“For me this was a dream come true,” Dickerson-Smith added. “I have been blessed to be a part of this great restoration of this building, which is not just a restoration of the physical building but the restoration of our temple, where all of us of various faiths are coming together and taking part in this project.”

Tahiti Water System-Oct 2020
Latter-day Saint Charities assists in the construction of a new water distribution system in Mahaena, Tahiti, bringing running water for the first time to families living at the far end of the valley.2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Pacific: Upgrade to Water System Blesses Tahitians>

The community of Mahaena, Tahiti, has partnered with Latter-day Saint Charities to replace a 40-year-old water system. While the main lines are still intact, the new project aims to improve the distribution system and bring water to those who have unreliable access or have never received clean running water before.

“We are so appreciative of the partnership between the city and Latter-day Saint Charities,” said Abel Tehotu, mayor of Mahaena. “This project creates a real benefit to our community for both young families and longtime residents.” When the Pacific Newsroom (English) story was published in early October, work had been completed for 33 homes. At completion, more than 500 people will benefit from the project.

Bolivia: Medicine Donated to Elderly Patients with COVID-19

Elder Félix and Sister Isabel Céspedes de Berdeja, humanitarian aid missionaries for the Church, delivered 180 medicine kits to the San Ramón La Paz Residence for the Elderly on October 23. The Bolivia Newsroom (Spanish) lists pain medications, cough syrup and other over-the-counter medicine as part of the donation that will help treat mild symptoms of COVID-19. Juvenil Silva, pedagogical director of the residence, said, “We thank God first. This help will be very useful for our older adults, and we receive it with an open heart.”

Germany: Donation from Local Congregation Supports Homeless Facilities>

Church members from the Mainz Ward (congregation) in Germany delivered a donation worth 1,200 euros (just over US$1,400) of disinfectant, gloves and soap to the Pfarrer-Landvogt-Hilfe e.V. on October 13. Pfarrer-Landvogt-Hilfe e.V. manages a “tea room,” where hot meals, showers and laundry machines are available to the homeless. The Germany Newsroom (German) reports that the supplies will go a long way in keeping the facility clean for the 30 to 60 patrons they assist each day during the pandemic.

United States: Over 800 Boxes of Food Donated to Local Churches

On October 30, 19 pallets (roughly 870 boxes) of food donated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and North State Relief, a nonprofit organization, were delivered to the Greater St. Augustine Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California. Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LA5: The Rotary Club of Los Angeles and The Salvation Army, and California State Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer combined their faith and resources to distribute the items to families hit by the economic downturn.

“I’m so grateful for [the work] to make our community better,” said Dr. E. Wayne Gaddis Sr., pastor of the St. Augustine Missionary Baptist Church. “[We] will always be grateful, and we never shall forget what [has been done]. May God bless you and keep you as you work for our community.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.