“Combating the Life-Shorteners,” Ensign, Dec. 1975, 24
Welfare Services missionaries weren’t specifically planned for Lamanites, but thirty-one out of the thirty-six missions where they serve are Lamanite. The sense of commitment and dedication runs high.
The goal of Welfare Services is to assist members in achieving physical and mental health, economic stability, self-respect, self-reliance, and righteousness. This is carried out largely through health, agriculture, and other Welfare Services missionaries. They work with local priesthood leaders in assisting members with health education, food storage, gardening, vocational counseling, and other related areas. Although their activity centers on Church members, the proselyting effort is very often benefited in indirect ways.
Welfare Services missionaries are constantly reporting on the exciting results of their work. The Samoa Apia Mission reports that the number of home gardens trebled between the first and second visits. At a seminar on alcoholism in San Marcos, Guatemala, the building was “packed to capacity” with approximately 400 people, nearly all men and nearly all nonmembers. The Peru Lima Welfare Services missionaries report numerous firesides on home storage, response to natural disasters, Red Cross first aid, budgeting, and home nursing; speakers have been community as well as Church resource people.
Many of the mission priesthood leaders are calling local members to serve as stake and district health missionaries. One stake in the Peru Lima Mission called twenty-two, then another thirty-two. The full-time missionaries report, “It’s not ‘our program’ now, it’s theirs—it’s Welfare Services.”
Welfare Services coordinates with local resources whenever possible. From the Arizona Holbrook Mission comes the report that “work with the Navajo Office of Economic Opportunity is probably the most exciting thing we have done so far.”
There are currently about 250 Welfare Services missionaries; about 500 are expected to be serving by 1980. Their mission will be to strengthen the priesthood holders in meeting the temporal needs of Saints in these areas.