News Release

Missionaries Give Aid to Fire Victims Near Cape Town

On New Year’s Day, 2013, a tragic fire destroyed 678 homes in the Khayalitsha Township near Cape Town.  During the week leading up to the greatest charitable act the world has ever known – the crucifixion of the Savior Jesus Christ – twelve full time missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons, put word into action by volunteering to assist in building permanent houses for the victims of the fire.  They wanted to emulate Christ by “Walking the Walk.”

The missionaries, called Elders, are young and strong.  With shovels and picks they dug through layers of trash and broken cement chunks to prepare 5m x 3m forms for permanent cement pads of twelve new houses.  Clad in yellow “Mormon Helping Hands” vests, they dug 40cm trenches in the former junk pile field, soon to be the new neighbourhood for thousands of displaced families.

After the trenches were dug, the forms were built; foundations of sand were carefully laid and smoothed to receive the top layer of 10 – 15cm of concrete.   The preparing of the pad surfaces for the cement has been the object of long delays for homes being finished for recipients presently displaced and living in the O.R. Tambo Community Hall, as well as other places in Khayalitsha.  This volunteer effort of preparing the pads by the missionaries will dramatically speed up the effort to restore the normal family function for the displaced families.

The missionaries are part of the South Africa Cape Town Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Cape Town Zone is lead by Elder Dallin Horen and Michael Knight, who charitably volunteered to rally all missionaries in their zone to assist in the building of permanent houses for the victims.

Sister Susan Roberts, a full-time Senior Missionary commented, “When I see the blisters on those willing young Men’s hands, I truly see Christian acts and love at work.  They are building firm foundations of homes for others they don’t even know, and are also building a firm foundation for their own lives simultaneously without realizing it is happening as they serve.”  

After the project was finished on Thursday, 27 March, the Missionaries gathered in O.R. Tambo Community Hall to have a prayer with the children, mothers, fathers, mamas and papas who are displaced.  The comments and prayers uttered were of thankfulness to our Savior Jesus Christ, and for a brighter future and hope through hard work and supporting each other through community service and neighbourly love.

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