I was raised on a farm. I've lived on a farm all my life. I think the best thing my parents taught me was to work hard. Carol is the same way. She was taught to work hard by her parents. About 25 years ago, Carol and I both lost our job at the same time. We were without a job for a while, and it took us a while to find another job. And the Church really helped us out. The people were kind. They made me feel good even though I needed to take help, which was something that was hard for me. I think the miracle of the welfare system of the Church is that it's not a system that's set up where just a few people provide a great deal. It is people from all over the world donating a small amount every month. Once a month, millions of members all around the world fast. The money that we did not spend for those two meals that we fast, that money is given to the welfare system of the Church in the form of fast offerings. Those fast offerings are used to help the members of the Church and nonmembers also around the world. No matter how poor we would be, we can always give a fast offering. Basically, it comes down to this. Are you willing to give up two meals so that someone else can eat? I think that most people are willing to do that. I'm not a rich guy, but I consider it a privilege that I have the means to pay fast offerings. [SPEAKING SPANISH] I don't have much money, but for the love of the Lord, I give my offering. When I give my offering, I feel great joy. A sacred stewardship of all the bishops throughout the world is to use those fast offerings as they're directed by their Savior to help the needy and the poor. The Church's welfare system is not complicated. It concentrates on assisting individuals by having another individual who cares about them deeply determining with them what are their real needs and how can they best receive this assistance. One of the greatest opportunities I've had to serve in the Church is to be a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And for me, the opportunity to serve, and that word service, really resonates. Jesus taught that we should take care of the poor and the needy. And as a bishop, I have one of the important responsibilities to go out and seek out the poor and the needy. The miracle of what happens here is that thousands of unskilled, untrained volunteers miraculously finish the job here. And we're able to send hundreds of tons of raisins to go to help feed the poor and needy all over the world. We have our own milk plant. We make our own butter and cheese. Stews, chili, tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, all in canneries done by volunteers. The Church has its welfare system set up so that we grow raisins here, somebody else grows apples, somebody else grows peaches, somebody else wheat, dairy, beef. And we have our own internal welfare system that if some of our members are out of a job or need help, they can go to the bishop. And he will help them with food and whatever. And he'll ask them to come out and work at my farm. So it's kind of a "pay it forward" type of system. We provide assistance with food. But then we also go beyond that, and we provide monetary assistance, employment services, adoption services, addiction recovery, and marriage and family counseling.
In Ghana and many places around the world, we do not have a bishops' storehouse. And so we use fast offering funds of the Church to purchase food and other things that the members may need. Since my husband died, the branch president told me that he will feed me if I'm suffering. I have become happy because of that. [SPEAKING KOREAN] We use the fast-offering funds that are collected locally from the members of the Church and use them to buy food or purchase other items that can help those who are in need.
Millions of people donating a small amount each month can be used to create miracles all around the world. They asked the Savior, "What's the greatest commandment in the law?" And He says, "Love God and love your neighbor." And it's through the Church welfare system that we're actually able to do both, because as we serve each other, we're really just serving the Lord. And that's what I think is the beauty of the system, is that now that we're on our feet again, we're looking for opportunities to try to help others as well. Twenty-five years ago, we received some food and commodities from the Church. It took us a while to find another job, and the welfare program of the Church really helped us out. It's a privilege and an honor to be able to participate. Now I'm able to do more because of the gratitude I felt when we were receiving help. I have a testimony that the welfare system is inspired of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I'm happy to be able to serve with Him and to do the things that He's asked me to do.