Blessed is he that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. (Psalm 41:1)
Once again the saints in the US have rallied to assist suffering brothers and sisters around the world. The Coronavirus pandemic that swept the world has had an impact on almost every nation on earth. Some have been devastated by the disease itself, but so many more have suffered from the effects of “lockdowns” and “stay at home” orders. It is likely we will never know the true extent of the death toll or of those who were actually afflicted with the disease. Nor will we be able, in most cases, to comprehend the extent of suffering that resulted from the response by various governments to the outbreak. Closing businesses and confining people to their homes, and restricting freedom of movement added to the misery of those who never had the disease. Starvation, untreated illnesses, and mental stress increased exponentially during the pandemic.
Saints in the US suffered in many ways. Hundreds of thousands contracted the disease and official statistics indicate that more than one hundred thousand US citizens died of the virus. Government restrictions caused the closing of hundreds of thousands of businesses resulting in the loss of more than 36 million jobs. The loss of business income and wages was in the hundreds of billions of dollars, doing serious damage to the US economy, which in turn had a great affect on the world economy.
In spite of the terrible impact of this disease, US citizens were not threatened with starvation, as the government, corporations and millions of individuals responded to the needs of their fellow citizens. With this intense effort in the US to provide for its own, it was amazing to see the response of saints in the US when the call for help went out from the Conference of Branches for our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. The response was swift and generous!
I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants (Mosiah 2:43).
When the US National Conference’s Disaster Response Team launched the Covid19 Relief effort, donations literally poured in from all across the country, even crossing some of those “lines” that tend, in other matters, to separate parts of the Restoration Branch movement.
The response was without regard of group or faction and the aid was distributed also without regard to group or faction.
The love and generosity of so many has had a marvelous impact on the lives of saints in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. That response is a living testimony, as “love” became more than a word, or a verbal expression, but it became an act of care, concern and compassion.
There is always some concern when giving/collecting and disbursing funds to people in far away places. Questions arise as to whether there is a real need, or whether the funds that are sent will be used properly or even misunderstood by those receiving.
From the Quorum of Restoration Apostles – “We do not believe that emergency aid creates, or is at the same level of risk to create financial dependence. In our view, emergency aid is different than chronic aid or a stipend or a systemic welfare system.
The teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25, through the parables there, teaches the principles of stewardship, accountability and the need to be productive in our stewardship. We also see that assistance to those who are needing comfort, food, clothing and shelter is expected of the disciples of Jesus.
We believe the COVID-19 Relief Fund is a proper response of the church to help its members. This is emergency care for those in acute need. It is a Good Samaritan-type of response. This is not welfare. This relief does not remove from our brothers and sisters the need to call on God and labor as they can for their own support.
The Saints are to be commended for their response to this worldwide need.”
Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:38).