Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Helping Hands...A Mormon service project.

"Charity is work of the heart.

The Savior said that “the great commandment in the law” is “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:36–37). When we love the Lord with all our mind, soul, and heart, we love others....

...And Charity abounds."

Jody and I participated in what turned out to be a very special church service project recently.  It is what is referred to in the Mormon faith as a bi-stake church service project.  This essentially means that several of our congregations across the region come together in a joint effort to provide relief and service to those in need.  It was held at one of our local Colonias near the Texas-Mexico border.  You can learn more about Texas Colonias here.  We have over 400 Colonias along the Mexico border just here in our area here in South Texas.  These communities are predominately lower-socioeconiomic and therefore the residents often find themselves in great need of assistance.  They are usually lacking in sewer systems, so they must rely on inadequate water supply.  The homes are mostly piecemeal'd together with whatever materials they can find---rarely are they built by professional builders.   

Our assignment for this particular service project was to help clean up and beautify the neighborhood.  We were scheduled to work from 7:30AM thru 11:30AM on a Saturday, so we had to rise early to make the 30 minute drive over to the colonia.   We were blessed to have really nice weather on the day of our service project, and I must say, when we pulled into the colonia and when we saw how many of our church members had turned out to help (something like 600 members were there) I got a little emotional.  Everyone had smiles on their faces (both young and old) and they were sincerely eager to get to work and serve.  I was truly humbled as I watched so many church friends come together and work so hard to help the people of this small community.  It was pretty amazing how much we were able to accomplish in the 4 hours we were there.  

This gentleman came out of his home and was very concerned that many of our volunteers did not have work gloves---he gave Jody a stack of gloves and asked him to pass them out.   He expressed his sincere gratitude to us for all our hard work.  It was particularly humbling that he was so concerned for us and our well-being and yet his house was not in the best condition as you can see below....

The local press was there....

The county commissioner gave a small press conference at the end of the service project and thanked our volunteers for all the hard work.

A few of the Young Women from our ward...

Hanging out with some friends from church after the project....

After all the hard work, there was pizza for the volunteers....

As we climbed back into our truck to leave-- we were hot, sweaty, covered in dirt, and flat out exhausted, but our hearts were overflowing with a deep sense of gratitude and love for the people we had served this day and for the friends we had worked along side to accomplish this huge project.  

We left physically tired, but spiritually charged.

This experience was a tender reminder for me of how true charity and a sincere love of the Savior draws human beings closer transcends all social and economic barriers and allows us to see past one another's differences.  I am truly grateful that we had this opportunity to serve the people of this community in this way.  As I watched both the young and old working side by side to make a difference and experienced the humble expressions of gratitude displayed by the community residents, I felt the Spirit so strongly I had to wipe away tears on more than one occasion.

Yes, charity is without question a work of the heart.  



  1. Thank you for sharing! I love to see how the Lord uses us to help Him bless the lives of all his children. I'm reminded of the widow's mite with the gentleman who gave all he had (the gloves) to help further the work. I am spiritually uplifted.

  2. Your pictures are so moving...It's wonderful to see that Helping Hands are everywhere in the world. Thank you for sharing

  3. This is beautiful. Kindness always wins.


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