Whether it was being kind to a sibling, helping with a chore around the house, or gathering canned goods for a food bank, more than 25,000 Primary children have responded to the challenge to “be the Savior’s hands” by giving service this year.
What started as a simple invitation to follow the counsel of President Thomas S. Monson when he said, “We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth,” has turned into a combined grand effort of Primary children around the world performing acts of service — large and small.
Beginning in January, the Friend and Liahona magazines invited children to find ways to give service and then report what they did by tracing their hands — in addition to writing the service they performed — on a piece of paper. Thousands of children responded and sent their “hands” to the magazines.
On Sept. 25 an exhibit of paper hands — titled “We Are His Hands” — opened in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The exhibit, located in the southeast corner of the lobby, shows colorful paper hands hanging on ribbons from the balcony while an exhibit wall showcases a few of the children who participated.
“I visit my sick papa everyday,” wrote one child. Another wrote, “I helped feed the animals without being asked.”
Although one hand — or simple act of service — on its own may seem small, the exhibit is meant to show how combining those simple efforts can make a big difference in families, neighborhoods and communities around the world. The exhibit even points out that if the hands submitted were placed next to each other, end to end, they would reach the same height as 56 Salt Lake Temples.
“It’s not even really about the numbers,” said Jan Pinborough, managing editor of the Friend. “Each one of those is so touching. I hope [visitors] realize not only what children can do but what they can do. We really do change the world one kindness at a time.”
Another inspiration for the campaign comes from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s conference address entitled, “You Are My Hands,” where he shared the story of a statue of Jesus Christ that was damaged in World War II. The hands of the statue of Christ were unable to be repaired. In response, a sign was added to the base of the statue stating, “You are my hands.”
This exhibit shows ways children are doing just that — acting as “His Hands” through service.
“My daddy just deployed so I am trying to help my mom a lot,” Kameron Hassell wrote on his paper hand. “I play with my baby brother when he cries and help my sister feel better when they get hurt. I took the trash out at night and it was scary but Heavenly Father helped me. I let my sister sleep in my bed when she is scared.”
Patrons visiting the exhibit are still able to fill out and submit a colorful hand to contribute to the campaign. The exhibit will run until Oct. 9.
[email protected] @marianne_holman