Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Meeting Bruce Muir, director of Emergency Response

Wednesday, Dec 16 we met with Bruce Muir, head of Emergency Response for the church. 

He has been in Europe doing our job for the past two months, arranging Elder Ballard's visit and pushing forward ER projects. 

We learned that part of our job will be developing good relationships with new agencies who haven't worked with the church before. 

The Church is very serious about helping the refugees. The church has spent about $1 million a month this fall. 

Our job will be to wisely but quickly spend the money that the members have donated and relieve as much suffering as possible.

Interweave Solutions

On Tuesday, Dec 15, we met with Lynn and Dean Curtis, directors of Interweave Solutions, an NGO that produces materials teaching self-reliance 

. We were interested in considering some of their programs for refugee aid. Of most interest to me was the business literacy program: teaching literacy in a second language using materials that teach business terminology, ethics and local laws as the topic.

 LDS versions of Interweave publications are available FREE in many languages at in Provident Living. This is the new Chirch direction on self-reliance to supplement the PEF. 

you can download the manuals here :  Look on the righthand side for a list of the 33 languages the program is available in!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Humans of New York Refugee Stories

I love reading "Humans of New York."  Recently they have been posting refugee stories from all over Europe.  They have collected those stories all in one place:  enjoy

Helping Refugees in Utah

Description  :    Join us for a brief orientation on refugees and how you can help.

Refugee Orientation
WhenSat, November 21, 10am – 1pm
WhereUtah Refugee Education & Training Center, 250 West 3900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84107 (map)

Sandra Grant
ESEA Fiscal Compliance Specialist
Utah State Office of Education

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

LDS Church helping Refugees in Jordan

Church Supplies More than $1 Million in Aid to Jordanian Charity

Contributed By By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
  • 9 NOVEMBER 2012
Since it first began supplying hygiene kits to residents of transitional camps near the Syrian-Jordanian border in May, LDS Charities has continued to work with others to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. Here, Latter-day Saints are joined by members of the Greek Orthodox and Latin Catholic churches to assemble hygiene kits.


  • The Church is working with local and international relief organizations to evaluate needs and determine where its resources can do the greatest good.
  • Working with the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, Latter-day Saint Charities has focused relief efforts largely on the needs of women and children.
  • Local members have teamed with other religious groups, including members of the Greek Orthodox and Latin Catholic churches, to assemble supplies.
“The members are happy and proud to be able to help and assist in the relief efforts. … It creates a bond of brotherhood; it enlarges the vision of the members; it develops the feelings of love and hope. Humanitarian relief aid blesses the lives of those who give as much as those who receive.” —Karim Assouad, Amman Jordan District President
As tens of thousands of Syrian refugees flee their war-torn country and seek refuge in Jordan, the Church has answered a Jordanian charity’s call for additional assistance—providing more than $1 million in humanitarian aid and supplies with more en route or planned for the near future.
Working with the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, Latter-day Saint Charities has focused relief efforts largely on the needs of women and children, including infant formula, diapers, hygiene supplies, and school kits. The large majority of these supplies have been purchased locally in Jordan.
In addition, with the approach of the winter months, six containers of blankets, coats, and boots have been shipped to the country.
Elder Bruce D. Porter, a member of the Seventy who has responsibilities for the Church’s Middle East/Africa North Area, was recently in Amman and met with the prime minister, several cabinet ministers, and other Jordanian government officials. “They were all deeply moved by the willingness of the Church to assist in this effort,” he said.
Elder Porter emphasized that the Syrian civil war is an enormously complex and violent conflict. 
“It has divided almost the whole Middle East in terms of which side they favor,” he explained. “But Jordan is a very peaceful country; the people are peaceful. They are trying very hard to simply help the refugees without any political agenda. That is exactly what the Church is doing. We are just trying to help people who are suffering.”
“We’re working with local and international relief organizations to evaluate needs and determine where our resources can do the greatest good,” said Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities. “We are pleased that we can help when there are many in need of assistance.”  
Much of that aid is possible because LDS Charities received official registration in Jordan last year. In addition, Latter-day Saint Charities recently received recognition by the United Nations as a nongovernmental organization. “These recognitions were vital to helping us be a player in the relief effort,” said Elder Porter.
Sister Eubank said as the civil war unfolded in Syria, it became more difficult for people to stay there. As refugees moved across the border, they were absorbed into cities and towns, until they began to strain the country’s infrastructure.
In May, the Jordanian government started setting up the refugee camps. LDS Charities stepped in also, supplying hygiene kits to 2,500 residents of transitional camps near the Syrian-Jordanian border. Since that time, LDS Charities has continued to work with the council of relief organizations responding to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Working in coordination with the Jordanian government, full-time LDS humanitarian senior couples Jim and Karyn Anderson and Brent and Ruth Youngberg immediately started buying supplies to help alleviate the growing needs.
“LDS Charities has been a valued and trusted partner in assisting us to meet the needs of those coming in to Jordan seeking relief,” said Ayman R. Al-Mufleh, secretary general of the Hashemite Charity Organization. 
“This is a strong and important partnership, and we are grateful for it.”  
One thing that sets the Church apart from other humanitarian organizations is its ability to respond, with the help of humanitarian couples, to immediate humanitarian requests. “When we get a call for food kits or hygiene kits or gravel or baby formula, we can respond to that very quickly, sometimes in as short as 24 hours,” said Elder Anderson. “The Church’s ability to respond quickly to immediate needs has been very satisfying.”
Another benefit is local members who have teamed with other religious groups, including members of the Greek Orthodox and Latin Catholic churches, to assemble supplies.  
President Karim Assouad of the Church’s Amman Jordan District said this is not the first time local members in Jordan have been able to assist those in need.
“The members are happy and proud to be able to help and assist in the relief efforts,” he said. “I know they are grateful and thankful.”
He said it is very important to involve the local members in the Church’s relief efforts. “It creates a bond of brotherhood; it enlarges the vision of the members; it develops the feelings of love and hope. Humanitarian relief aid blesses the lives of those who give as much as those who receive.”
Lynn Samsel, director of Church Emergency Response, said the Syrian refugees in Jordan and other countries have literally had to flee their homes with the clothes on their backs. He noted that Church aid for the refugees is also being sent to other areas of the Middle East.
Sister Anderson said much of the aid focuses on “filling gaps” not being met by other humanitarian organizations.
For example, in Jordan the Church sent 40 truckloads of gravel to help control the blowing sand at a refugee camp located on the desert floor. The gravel also allows water from sudden storms to filter away from the tents.
She wanted members to know that Latter-day Saint donations are getting to where they need to be. “We personally oversee the distribution at the camp. … We see that the mother gets the diapers for her child.” 
Sister Youngberg called the work in the country a wonderful thing that is extending “good will and love to people who need help.”
While the Church is reaching out to Syrian refugees who need assistance, the organization has not forgotten about the Jordanian poor who need help and assistance in a country where unemployment is above 30 percent, said Elder Youngberg. Of the six containers en route to Jordan, one is earmarked for the poor in Jordan, he said.
Sister Anderson said those receiving the aid are grateful.
She recalled meeting a Syrian woman in a refugee camp. 
“She was bone thin; they have literally what they can carry. She noticed the logo on my blouse and looked at a box of supplies that had the same logo. She started to cry. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have words. It was very clear what she was saying. She hugged me and she kissed me and she was extremely grateful.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Europe Area sets up Three-Pronged approach to Refugee Crisis; No members harmed in Chilean earthquake

Church Assisting during Refugee Crisis; No Members Harmed in Chile Quake

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
  • 30 SEPTEMBER 2015

The initial phase of the Church’s humanitarian response to the refugee crisis is being executed in three ways. Meanwhile, no members were harmed during the recent Chilean earthquake. 


  • The First Presidency has approved a three-pronged humanitarian project in response to the movement of refugees in Europe.
  • No members were harmed during the Chilean earthquake September 16.
Church assisting during refugee crisis
The First Presidency has approved a three-pronged humanitarian project in response to what has been called the largest movement of refugees on the European continent since World War II.
Nearly half a million migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe this year, according to the United Nations High Commission to Refugees. Most of the refugees hail from areas in the Middle East ravaged by war and civil conflict.
The initial phase of the Church’s humanitarian response to the refugee crisis is being executed in three ways, said LDS humanitarian response manager Jeff Foy.
1. The Church is partnering with various international humanitarian organizations to deliver resources needed to meet the immediate needs of refugees impacted by the crisis.
2. The Europe Area Presidency is forming an advisory council made up of business and community leaders from nations across the Continent. The council will serve under the direction of the Area Presidency and identify and report on refugee needs as they develop.
“The advisory council will be made up of Church members and others who are not members of the Church,” said Brother Foy.
3. The Church is setting aside resources for European wards and stakes to support projects in individual communities.
Brother Foy said Church welfare officials would continue to monitor the refugee situation in Europe and implement future projects as needed.
No members harmed in Chilean earthquake
Meanwhile, no members or missionaries were harmed in a massive September 16 earthquake that claimed 11 lives and caused significant damage in coastal towns in north-central Chile.
The magnitude 8.3 quake reportedly rumbled for more than three minutes and could be felt across the country.
“The earthquake did not have a large impact on Church members,” said Brother Foy.
Two member homes were left uninhabitable. Meanwhile, the earthquake toppled the steeple of the Salamanca Branch, Illapel Chile District, meetinghouse. The structural damage was cosmetic, and members are continuing to use the Salamanca building.
Brother Foy said welfare officials would continue to monitor the recovery effort in Chile. Local priesthood leaders have utilized fast offerings to help impacted members with food and other immediate needs.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

LDS Aid to Refugees in Europe

This is from the Mormon Newsroom.  There were 3 embedded videos.  Go there to watch the videos.

Mormons Stepping Up Aid to Refugees
Mormons in Europe, supported by church headquarters in the United States, are stepping up their aid to refugees fleeing to Europe.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – the official name for the “Mormons” – has been providing aid to refugees in the Middle East for more than a decade, providing hundreds of thousands of blankets, clothes, emergency medical supplies, food, and other resources to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria.

Elder Patrick Kearon, who along with his two counselors, oversees half a million members of the Church in Europe, said in response to the crisis in Europe the Church has made an additional commitment of €4.6 million (US $5 million) to immediately help displaced families, with more to come.
"We continue to be moved, like so many others, by the stories and images of those struggling for basic necessities of food, water, and temporary shelter,” he said. “They have lost so much."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will direct some of the funds to established non-governmental Agencies (NGOs) including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNICEF, Catholic Charities, International Medical Corps, and Physicians for Human Rights. Other funds will be channeled through local municipalities and national government agencies involved in assisting refugees.
“The Church has helped, and will continue to help those who remain displaced and homeless in conflict zones or in neighboring countries where they have fled,” said Sharon Eubank, the director of the Church’s Humanitarian Services.
Since 1985, the Church has provided relief and development projects for humanitarian purposes without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients.Together with so many others across Europe, individual Mormon congregations are also responding to the invitation to assist in the refugee crisis, Elder Kearon said.In Scotland, more than 2,000 people have joined forces to send clothing, blankets, and other needed supplies to those fleeing across borders. Coordinated by the Dumfries and Galloway Refugee Action charity group, Latter-day Saints joined with others by dropping off much needed supplies to a local Mormon church, one of 30 local collection sites.
In Germany, several Munich congregations joined together to assist a local refugee shelter by constructing an interior wall, sorting donated clothing, and by providing 170 packages of hygiene products, cereal bars, drawing utensils and cuddly toys. The Darmstadt congregation is cooperating with several local charities throughout the year to help facilitate donations of clothing, furniture and other goods to refugees.

Scottish Aid to Syrian Refugees


Scottish Aid to Refugees

Members link with local group to offer help to Europe refugees

The plight of refugees struggling to get to a country where they can live in peace is well known throughout the world but after seeing the recent refugees across Europe Moxie DePaulitte from the charity group, ‘Dumfries and Galloway Refugee Action’, decided to help alleviate their suffering. Bishop Goodare of the Dumfries congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Edinburgh, Scotland gave permission for the church building to be used as a collection hub for donations for refugees.
“Moxie DePaulitte started this project on Facebook and within 48 hours 2,000 people had signed up to offer help and give donations. This was not a church initiative. Several of our church members wanted to help in whatever way they could,” he remarked.
Within four days of the plea for donations, hundreds of bags of clothing, camping equipment, toiletries and sleeping mats arrived at the church. Food items were donated by local supermarkets.
That was just the start of an avalanche of goodwill. During the time that the church was open for donations, members and non members worked side by side sorting clothing. Parents brought their children to help in this community service project. Church youth assisted in sorting clothing and bagging items. LDS missionaries also helped in this endeavour. The youth slipped “love notes” into the pockets of clothing as they bagged the items. The notes contained words of encouragement and love to the unknown recipients.
One local food outlet sent pizzas and chips for lunch for all of the volunteers. It was greatly appreciated by everyone. Local supermarkets donated food items to the service project. What started with one collection hub has grown into 22 hubs and more may be set up.
One child commented, “I just see the faces of the people when they open the boxes.”  A lady volunteer spoke of being hugged by other volunteers and “was so glad to be part of a church that opens its doors when help is required.”
Another declared, “It was faith promoting.”
A local woman’s desire has resulted in many volunteers from around Dumfries and Galloway coming together and establishing the start-up of collection hubs housing thousands of donations.  The local council has offered the group two depots for storage and is committed to helping in any way they can. Negotiations with local haulage firms are also underway. The first loads of donations are expected to leave the area shortly for the Syrian refugees in Calais where they are desperately needed to alleviate the suffering and distress of refugees. Church and community were united in providing compassionate service to Syrian refugees.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Humanitarian Videos

One of the couples that we worked with in Romania, Elder and Sister Dodge, sent us these links to some new church videos about the Humanitarian work they have been doing.  You will see the Dodges a couple of times in the videos.  You will also get a good sense of the needs of the various organizations we have partnered with.

In his email to us, Elder Martin Dodge wrote this: "They  [the videos] tell their story much better than we are able to, so I have recorded below the links to these.  We think there may be one or two more in the future, but are not sure.  The last four all deal with aspects of a charity called “Hope for Health” who have worked with those affected by HIV/AIDS for over 20 years, each with a bit of a different perspective. 

These only refer to a few of our partners in Romania.  There are many more we worked with who are equally giving and needed.  There is so much need there, but fortunately there are wonderful caring people to help meet some of that need.  We feel privileged to partner with so many great organizations who are working to help those in need.

If you go to , you will find a whole video library of LDS Humanitarian work worldwide