News Release

Mormon Helping Hands Comes Alive in East London Communities!

From local orphanages, and the zoo to planting a garden, communities reaped the benefit of Africa’s Mormon Helping Hands day.

Five East London Wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints go to work serving their communties. From local orphanages and the zoo to planting a garden, communities reaped the benefit of Africa’s Mormon Helping Hands day.

East London First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints celebrated Mormon Helping Hands Day by repairing broken benches, fixing a porch, digging trenches for water, tiling the veranda, fixing electrical plugs, windows, gate security and providing and mounting water tanks to Green Sleeves orphanage. Members also organized the library, covered and repaired books and installed a TV with antenna. Together with those that work at the orphanage, many hours were spent sprucing up this structure to provide a safe and functional area for the children and staff.

At the end of the day, members held a party for the children by providing games and entertainment in their refurbished area.  The chairman of this project, Michael Van Nierkerk said, “I will never forget the appreciation of the facilities owner, because of our desire and actions to help them.”

Over 200 members of the East London 2nd and 3rd Wards joined together to provide much needed service at the East London Zoo. The Zoo needed help with a specific river area with a major litter problem creating unfavourable circumstances for the river and the zoo.  The Church members donned yellow Mormon Helping Hands T-shirts and vests, work shoes and rubber gloves, as they got to work cleaning the river area and other designated areas of the zoo. Stake President Duane Bell said that it is a pleasure to serve the community with other Church members, “We serve because the Savior also served.” He commented that because this project was such a huge success, it will be an on-going event throughout the whole year.

Emphasizing the Church’s interest in serving the community was Daniel Dempers who said that the Church members had the community’s interest at heart. “It’s good to see us all working together for the same purpose, to show that we are a church that also cares about the community.” Daniel also added that the project created an opportunity for members to be together outside church premises. “It’s all very exciting and gives us that extra bonding time with our fellow members,” he said.

A volunteer cleaner at the zoo, Chris Van Zyl, said that the Church made his job a lot easier. “It’s amazing that we had the Church to help us clean up. The place looks beautiful.” His words were echoed by zoo worker, Sydwell Mcimeli, who said that cleaning at the zoo is a lot of work and physically demanding. “The Church has done a fantastic job. Today was a blessing.”  When the members left, the zoo was clean and inviting for all visitors.

Mormon Helping Hands showed up at Vuthondaba Higher Primary School in Ginsberg Township as the King Williams Town members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spent the day creating a vegetable garden for the school. This was in support of the school nutrition program of the Provincial Government of Education. Members bought seedlings, and after working on the soil with picks and other garden tools, planted rows of vegetables. Looking over the garden, everyone agreed that it made them happy to know they were providing the students with fresh vegetables.

Queenstown Ward members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, On August 17th, donned their Mormon Helping Hands yellow vests and headed out to do a community gardening project in Ezibeleni. Ezibeleni is the largest township in the Queenstown area. The project was a "plant seeds and nurture them" project. Some members visited the site before hand to do some preparation work and plant 600 seedlings. In addition, 300 more seedlings were planted on August 17, and all were watered and weeded for two months. The result was a beautiful, well-ended garden that would positively impact this  community and  provide healthy fruits and vegetables for years to come.

Through this initiative, those who served had a change of understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it truly means to "lift hands that hang down."  The women that helped were all aged (the eldest being 91 years old). As members walked back to their cars, their yellow vests gleaming in the sun, it was their smiles that told the story of this service.

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