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Pure religion: Battling measles

It is a disease dimly remembered by most Americans but in some areas of the world measles is deadly taking an estimated 500000 lives each year most of them children.
In 2003 the Church made a major commitment to the International Red Cross to provide funds and labor to help immunize a million children each year.
As part of that commitment Church Humanitarian Services asked Terry and Danne Morris of the Creekside Ward Alpine Utah West Stake to travel to Africa and help coordinate these measles vaccinations. Although Brother Morris a retired dentist had a medical background and although he and his wife had served a previous humanitarian mission in Indonesia they werent sure what they would do once they arrived in Africa. It wasnt long before they discovered they werent alone in their efforts.
Local members were organized and made a major effort going door to door to tell people about the opportunity to have their children vaccinated. In all more than 2000 members assisted in the campaign donating nearly 95000 hours of their time. They helped put up more than 70000 posters and distributed more than 200000 fliers.
A recent convert to the Church was a world champion kickboxer and a famous well-loved celebrity in Madagascar. He graciously agreed to do a TV spot with Primary children encouraging people to kick measles out of Africa. Another member of the Church wrote a song about getting children immunized; the song played day and night on local radio.
Its hard to tell who benefited the most Brother Morris said those who received the vaccinations or those who gave of themselves to serve others.
The Lyatuu family in Tanzania for example dedicated many hours to this effort. After Brother Lyatuu spent hours going door to door his wife who was not a member of the Church asked if she could help. Their 18-year old son also wanted to help. Each day he took a bus to the end of the line walked two hours to the vaccination station worked 10 hours assisting the medical specialists there then made the long trip home again.
At first we wondered what we could do to make a difference Brother Morris said but now we know that not only were many families spared the heartbreak of a dreaded disease but those who gave of themselves grew stronger as a result of their service.
— Neil K. Newell Welfare Services

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