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Impactful service

With the recent Mormon Helping Hands project going continent-wide in Africa (see pages 4 and 5) members of the Church have demonstrated that out of small things proceedeth that which is great (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33).
Photo courtesy Brazil Area public affairsElder Charles Didier Brazil Area president paints a wall Sep. 7 Brazils Independence Day as part of countrywide event to rebuild 284 schools.
Those familiar bibs with the Mormon Helping Hands logo on the front and the official Church name on the back have become a common sight during service and relief efforts all over the world from Brazil to the United States to Peru Japan and Tasmania.
President Claudio R. M. Costa of the Presidency of the Seventy said The Lord has ordained us to love one another and I believe Helping Hands is one way God has given us to keep the commandment to love one another.
President Costa remembers first hearing about Mormon Helping Hands when he was president for the then-Brazil North Area. He said members in Argentina were the first to come up with the idea to title their service efforts under one recognizable name. They shared the idea with Church leaders in Brazil who would later adopt the same strategy in coordinating future service efforts.
It was amazing he said. In the first project in Recife we had the mayor participate. After the activity he came to our home for dinner. Mayors dont usually have dinner with religious people.
This was around the time the Recife temple was under construction and he said You are going to dedicate your temple. I will fix all the streets around your temple. He did and it was very good for the temple.
Nei Garcia of Church public affairs in Brazil said The image of the Church has been strengthened in each of the cities where we coordinate projects.
As an example on Sept. 7 during Brazils Independence Day nearly 60000 members gathered to repair 284 public schools in more than 150 cities. The all-day event had members repairing faulty sinks replacing doors painting walls and repairing windows as well as fixing electrical and plumbing problems.
Brother Garcia said Because of this our area president Elder Charles Didier had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Education for all of Brazil. It was a wonderful occurrence. Elder Didier had the chance to present the Church; it was very good.
He said before Brazilian members would coordinate service projects in the community each time under a different name. For the members these projects were great but they were a bit confusing for those outside of the Church because they would think that each project was done by a different church. Each project the Church was creating entirely new materials new shirts and this wasnt very efficient. Argentina had it right when they created one main name and logo.
Since then the idea has spread to other parts of the world where members have taken part in beautifying their city streets creating hygiene and newborn kits rebuilding schools and responding within hours of a natural disaster all under the banner of Mormon Helping Hands.
E-mail to: cmorales@desnews.com

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