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Helping others yields rich blessings

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A woman and children are among thousands of Ethiopians assisted by Church humanitarian efforts.
Photo by Carolyn Sessions AllenWith Rotary Club logo in background President Thomas S. Monson addresses a district of the service organization in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES Calif. — A day before receiving a humanitarian award from Utah Rotarians President Thomas S. Monson spoke to a large gathering of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles about the ongoing cooperation between the Church and international humanitarian organizations. In his address at the Jan. 19 luncheon at the Wilshire Grand Hotel the Church leader highlighted the Churchs global tradition of helping those in need. (Please see article on page 3 reporting on the award presented to President Monson on Jan. 20.)
President Monson asked a familiar question first posed by Cain in the Old Testament: Am I my brothers keeper?
The answer to that vital question President Monson said is yes we are our brothers keepers.
God bless all who endeavor to be their brothers keeper who give to ameliorate suffering who strive with all that is good within them to make a better world President Monson said. Have you noticed that such individuals have a brighter smile? Their footsteps are more certain. They have an aura about them of contentment and satisfaction even dedication for one cannot participate in helping others without experiencing a rich blessing himself.
Rotary International follows the guiding principle of Service Above Self. Prompted by such a motto President Monson focused much of his address on the worldwide humanitarian service that has been provided by the Church — some of it as partners with Rotary.
President Monson spoke of the pivotal role tithing and fast offerings play in helping the poor and needy. The Church enlisted such charitable funds in the closing days of World War II. Europe lay devastated by hunger and disease. The people had given up hope. A call came for help — and the Church answered. Church President George Albert Smith met with U.S. President Harry S. Truman to secure permission to send aid to the starving people throughout Europe. President Truman supported President Smiths proposal then asked how long it would take to assemble and prepare the needed provisions for shipment.
President Smith responded President Truman the goods are all assembled. One nod from you and the trains will roll ships will sail and those supplies will be on their way. And so it happened. Supplies were delivered and distributed in Europe under the direction of Ezra Taft Benson then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
President Monson said he was in Zwickau Germany several years ago when an elderly gentleman approached him and said President Monson I want you to tell President Ezra Taft Benson that the food he brought after the war — food sent by the Church — kept me from starving. It gave me hope for the future.
The Church continued its practice of providing humanitarian aid when a massive undersea earthquake struck in 2004 off the coast of Sumatra generating tsunamis that claimed more than 200000 lives President Monson said. The Church immediately sent 102000 pounds of medical supplies over 40000 hygiene kits and 50000 body bags. Additional supplies and services were also provided including trauma counseling to survivors.
President Monson also spoke of Atmit a Church-produced easily-digestible foodstuff consisting of oats powdered milk sugar and fortified with vitamins and mineral supplements. Since 2003 more than 2000 tons of Atmit have been manufactured in Salt Lake City and sent to developing areas of the world plagued by malnourishment and starvation.
Hunger knows no ecclesiastical boundary President Monson said. We can provide hope we can preserve life. Rotary is part of that great pledge.
For nearly two decades he added the Church has partnered with Rotary International to help those in need. We have assisted Rotary through 48 separate projects. Our joint efforts have aided those in need throughout the world.
Since 1988 the Church has assisted Rotary with its PolioPlus program that endeavours to eliminate the dreaded disease President Monson said.
The Church has purchased sufficient polio serum to immunize hundreds of thousands of children and also has helped place gas and electric refrigerators in rural health outposts to keep vaccines viable until they are administered to children. We are blessed to have been able to participate with Rotary in this endeavor.
President Monson then spoke of the thousands who have been blessed by the Churchs international wheelchair program and other life-altering projects.
Between 1985 and 2006 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has participated in over 15000 humanitarian projects worldwide he said. We have served 163 countries.
By working together organizations can lift the level of life for many he said. Anything can be accomplished President Monson declared.
When we do so we eliminate the weakness of one person standing alone and substitute the strength of many serving together. While we may not be able to do everything we can and must do something. — Jason Swensen

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