charity never faileth

I have worked as a volunteer for many humanitarian organizations - Habitat for Humanity, Action Against Hunger, AIDS foundations, orphanages. I have an innate (and perhaps oversized) passion for global humanitarian work. Its kind of a harsh realization I went on Semester at Sea ten years ago, but I did a lot of humanitarian work during that semester:
Where's Waldo Shesh?
Working at the Aids Foundation - women weaving a tapestry for Boston College. Art to save the lives of women from AIDS! Tapestries! Speaks to my deepest self!
I met so many beautiful people.
A friend took this picture - makes me laugh, wearing my Guster and Me t-shirt.
Building a house for Habitat for Humanity
Wow. I was really tan.
Still seriously disappointed there is no Pineapple Fanta stateside.
Classic me - white blouse, pink skirt, reading a used book.

I had a lot of satisfaction from my experiences in Africa, and in many ways my heart is still there. Even though I deeply care about global needs, I cannot physically do much about it right now - my hands (feet, arms, brain) are all tied up in child-rearing. Which brings me to the point of this post - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does incredible work around the world. Wherever there is a crisis, the Church is there. We do not only help members of the faith, but anyone who needs it. The best part of it is how it truly lives 1 Corinthians 13:4 "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
Thousands of member give up their time, comfort and energy to serve humanitarian missions. I love stories of how members use their expertise to help people across the globe - whether it is BYU professors who teach Palestinians how to best farm their land, neonatalogists who teach neonatal resuscitation in third-world countries, or couples who teach personal finance to families. You won't hear about these stories in General Conference, or in news organizations. They appear in small snippets at the end of the Ensign, on Mormon Radio, or just from talking to people.
I have a lot of organizations to compare it to, and no one does humanitarian work better than the LDS church. From the organization of resources to the execution of projects, it is absolutely remarkable. It is Christian in every meaning of the word. 

There are many things about Mormon culture that drive me batty. Not so much the carrots and jell-o, the overuse of the word 'opportunity,' or the zany testimony meanings part of the culture, I think that is actually pretty charming. Its the narrow-mindedness, the freaky-uber-right-wing-conservatism-as-doctrine nonsense, the occasionally overbearing patriarchy and the homophobic part of the culture that sometimes makes me wonder why I am a part of an organization that can rub me the wrong way.

But if I were shopping for religions, the first criteria I would judge them by is global humanitarian outreach, and no one does it better than my Church. The system of Fast Offerings is incredible, tithing money truly reaches those in need, and I have a testimony of how the Church helps the needy. I will always be a part of that. I can fast one meal every month, and know someone received the food they needed more than I do. 

In short, the most important humanitarian work I have done is through the Church. I believe in its efforts, and I am proud to be a part of it.

1 comment:

  1. So beautifully said. Thanks for this important reminder.