As Mother Nature displayed her vengeance and supremacy in recent years with terrible earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes, Latter-day Saints and other donors reached out to "bear . . . one another's burdens."
In his Saturday morning address, Presiding Bishop H. David Burton described the massive devastation of natural events, and the Church's timely humanitarian responses. These literally worldwide responses, which built bridges of friendship, were made possible though generous donations.
"To each of you whose tender hearts and helping hands have eased the burdens of so many, please accept our heartfelt gratitude," said Bishop Burton.
In Asia, in response to the tsunami, immediate assistance was provided to hospitals, first responders and communities in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. Longer-term projects followed to build permanent houses, restore hospitals and schools; fishing boats and sewing machines were supplied to help families return to self sufficiency in some areas.
Blankets, tents, hygiene kits, medical supplies, sleeping bags, coats and tarps were flown to 75,000 people, evacuees of earthquakes in Pakistan and India.
In Central American flooding, "Church members strapped supplies upon their backs and walked over flooded streams and treacherous terrain to bring relief to those in distress." In Africa, the Church and others joined to vaccinate millions of children to eradicate measles. Following hurricanes of the U.S. Southeast, "thousands of priesthood-directed volunteers were there each time a hurricane struck, providing the necessities to sustain life," said Bishop Burton.
He spoke of relief provided after mud slides in the Philippines, and told of providing wheelchairs, medical personnel who trained others in saving newborns' lives, counseling and the teaching of gardening methods.
"This modern-day humanitarian effort is a wonderful manifestation of the charity that burns within the souls of those whose hearts are tender and whose hands are ready to help. This selfless service truly demonstrates the pure love of Christ," he said.