Following Christ’s Example: Caring for Those in Need
March 2023

“Following Christ’s Example: Caring for Those in Need,” Liahona, Mar. 2023.

Following Christ’s Example: Caring for Those in Need

From food production to emergency response to ministering, there are many ways we can show love to our neighbors.

Jesus healing a blind man

I Will Believe, by Liz Lemon Swindle, may not be copied

As followers of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strive to live the two great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor (see Matthew 22:37–39). Following these two great commandments and the example of Jesus Christ is what guides the Church and its members to care for those in need.

So just how does the Church help to care for those in need? And how can members take part in this great work?

Ways to Help

As Church members, we try to find those in need and give help to all of God’s children no matter their race, nationality, or religion.

We care for those in need in many ways, including:

  • Fasting and the use of fast offerings.

  • Ministering to each other.

  • Self-reliance programs.

  • Global food, education, clean water, and health-care programs.

  • Emergency response.

  • Volunteer projects in the community.

While some humanitarian efforts of the Church are large in scale, even small efforts can collectively make a big impact. Here are some examples of how Church members help those in need.

people playing a board game together

Beginning in February 2022, Latter-day Saints in Poland helped refugees with transportation, food, and shelter.

Ministering amid Conflict

RaeAnn and Sterling Jarvis—Church members in Warsaw, Poland—didn’t know what to expect when they chose to host refugees in their home. But they were willing to help in any way they could.

Soon after conflict began in Europe, a Ukrainian family of five arrived at their door at 1:00 a.m. They had traveled almost 500 miles (800 km) to find safety. The Jarvises welcomed Maryna and Serhii Bovt and their three children into their home. Over time they developed a real love and concern for the Bovt family. “When you share love, it grows,” Maryna said of the Jarvises’ example of service. “It makes us closer to each other and to the Lord.”

As Church members, we strive to follow the Savior’s example by ministering to those around us. People do not have to be fleeing war or persecution to need help. Every act of kindness on our part—no matter how small—can impact someone’s life for good.

Community of Sharing

At the Church-owned Laie Hawaii Crops Farm, over 310 families grow crops to support their households. On their 1.25-acre plots, these families grow taro, tapioca, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, guava, and other island crops.

The farm is managed by a missionary couple and receives support from other missionaries and members. These volunteers help clear land, prepare soil for planting, and teach basic farming skills.

Because of these missionaries, members, and volunteers, many people who need food in Hawaii are better able to support themselves when jobs are scarce. The community is stronger when people work together to care for the farm and share what they grow.

Church humanitarian projects help provide food security, education, clean water, and health-care services for millions of people worldwide. The Church also offers many resources to enhance self-reliance, including bishops’ storehouses, employment centers, Deseret Industries stores, Family Services counseling, self-reliance courses, and Church-owned farms and orchards like the Laie Hawaii Crops Farm. These projects are often aided by members and missionaries, whose selfless donations of time, talents, and other resources make a huge difference to those in need.

An Act of Friendship

In 2021, about 200 Church members answered a call for help. They went to centers in Germany, the United States, and other places to help process about 55,000 refugees from Afghanistan.

Many volunteers served at these centers for two or three weeks, and some stayed even longer. Church members met the urgent needs of those seeking refuge by providing food, clothes, and other supplies.

Relief Society sisters in Germany noticed that some Afghan women were using their husbands’ shirts to cover their heads instead of their traditional head coverings, which had been lost or damaged in the madness at the airport. These Relief Society sisters gathered to sew traditional Muslim clothing for these women in need—showing kindness and respect for others, putting aside their difference of beliefs.

Sister Sharon Eubank, director of Latter-day Saint Charities, said, “Our individual efforts don’t necessarily require money or faraway locations; they do require the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a willing heart to say to the Lord, ‘Here am I; send me’ [Isaiah 6:8].”1

The desire to serve when disasters strike is why the Church is often one of the first groups to respond—both with temporary relief and long-term help. The work of Church members and missionaries helps those in need to feel safe, receive physical and mental care, and feel the love of God through the kindness of others.

Christ with healed leper

Where Are the Nine? by Liz Lemon Swindle, may not be copied

Called to the Work 

Doctrine and Covenants 4:3 says, “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.” With all that the Church does, there are many ways to serve.

Many of the Church’s organized efforts to help those in need are only possible with the service of missionaries and members. Not everyone is able to take in a refugee family, provide for the physical needs of others, or drop everything to help in a disaster. But every person has a part to play, and every person’s contribution is felt and valued.

One of the most important ways members give to this work is through fast offerings and humanitarian donations. These sacred donations are used to help those most in need and make a profound impact on the lives of those who are helped. Church members can serve humanitarian missions, facilitate self-reliance courses, and volunteer at a bishops’ storehouse and at Deseret Industries stores. You can also care for those in need through local service, blood donations, ministering assignments, prayer, and more.

We are all called to the work. We are called to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to love God and love our neighbor. All we need is a willing heart.