A cold August Saturday, what better way to keep warm than to work hard in the service of others? That’s what 60 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tembisa, greater Johannesburg, found themselves doing this annual Mormon Helping Hands event on August 18th. 73 members of the Church in Centurion were busy with another project the same day as they participated in the Helping Hands Day.
Tembisa volunteers focused their service on Bulamahlo Home and Day Care Centre. "The orphanage (in Tembisa) needed new doors and painting, as well as clean-up and repair," said Bishop Obed Nkambule, the local leader of the Church. "The real gift we gave was love and hope," he added. "The doors and paint and labour are just symbols of our love; we too are blessed in providing helping hands to those in need in our community."
"This is such great fun," said Tlalefang Kgosiemang, a local member with paint covered face and hands, "we do it as part of our Christian belief - to love God and our neighbour. You can see in the children's faces how happy they are to feel such care."
The members of the Church in Centurion chose to provide service to Kariake Centre in Centurion. "Our hands are small," said Juandre De Wet, a young teenager working at the event, "but these hands are ours to give, especially if it will lift another on their way." Pastor Walter and his wife help individuals at the Centre who have often run out of options in life and are homeless and often hopeless. David de Beer, the event organiser said, "The centre puts needy individuals back on their feet, and gives them hope, and a way out." The group cleaned carpets and painted, as well as planted a vegetable garden and other plants at the centre.
These members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were joined by over 100,000 other volunteers across Africa the same day. The symbol of Helping Hands is two hands helping each other. The Church has over 150 congregations in South Africa and over 14 million members worldwide. Mormon Helping Hands initiatives also provide emergency relief when needed. This was demonstrated in the relief provided in the devastating floods earlier this month in the Philippines.