More than 15,000 Church members completed about 125 Helping Hands Projects in the Africa Southeast Area on the Church's Pan-Africa service day Saturday, Sept. 20.
Meanwhile, about 100 members of the Ile-Ife Nigeria District completed more than 400 man-hours of service to their communities.
The Pan-Africa "helping hands projects" covered 30 countries on the continent with more than 75,000 people working on more than 200 projects designed for "Bringing Relief and Building Hope," the service day's theme.
Members in the Africa Southeast Area mobilized into volunteer work groups from Uganda to Cape Town, South Africa, and from Namibia to Mozambique and Mauritius.
Dozens of housing projects were completed, homes for the elderly and the disabled were cleaned and painted, care stations for abused women and children were made more efficient and roofing and plumbing assignments were completed by skilled workers with years of experience.
Also, parks for children were revitalized, orphanages were cleaned and painted, wheelchairs were supplied to the needy and gardens were planted and watered as thousands of members worked tirelessly to do for others what they could not do for themselves.
Bishop Kevin de Kock of the Florida Ward, Soweto South Africa Stake, said, "Serving others helps to bring out the very best in all people and doing these annual charitable projects helps make our Church more united in our love of the Savior."
Russell Caine of Mauritius said, "These projects bring the communities and the local officials into a personal relationship with the Church as they see our members working on all these projects without pay and acknowledge the fact that the projects are completed with no cost to the receivers."
Florencia Mondlane of Mozambique said, "We had over 600 members participate in our four large projects and it was just wonderful."
Ellen Malinga, owner of the Braamfisher Home for Disabled Orphans in Soweto, told Elder F. Michael Watson of the Seventy and counselor in the Africa Southeast Area presidency, "This was one of the kindest acts of charity I have ever witnessed. I am so grateful for the wonderful members."
Meanwhile, in the Ile-Ife Nigeria District, members of the Iremo, Eleyele 1st, and Eleyele 2nd branches started gathering at 6:45 a.m. ready to serve at the Ile-Ife High Court. Informed that the planned project had been canceled, they moved on to "Plan B" at a park that was part of a major transportation hub. With the approval of transportation officials, members went to work weeding, sweeping and cleaning, including a public rest room.
And when a mosque was discovered inside the park, approval was obtained to remove weeds and clean around it. Members were also permitted to go inside to clean the floor. A representative from the mosque expressed appreciation for the service Church members did.
As the branch's project moved on to cleaning a major roadway, a passer-by stopped and helped for a short time.