Jesus holds a little boy in his lap.

I Was a Stranger: The Call for Relief

“Reaching out to others with love matters to the Lord.” This is why Latter-day Saint women announced a new refugee relief effort called “I Was a Stranger.” 

young boy reaching upwards toward a light with text that reads "Reaching out to others with love matters to the Lord." Linda K. Burton

photo by flickr user pawpaw67 / cc by-sa 2.0 / altered

“Have I done any good in the world today?” Thus began the General Women’s Session of the April 2016 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This self-reflective question fittingly framed the session’s conversation about what we can do as Latter-day Saint women to help our brothers and sisters who have found themselves as refugees, fleeing with hope for safety.

Sister Cheryl A. Esplin reminded us that “service doesn’t have to be big and grandiose to be meaningful.” Just as the Savior ministered to the one, we too can find one to serve. “He asks us,” she said, “to be His hands.” And his hands help the one.

We must also keep in mind, as Sister Neill F. Marriott explained, that “the first child of God we must build up in the restored gospel is ourselves.” Firmly planting ourselves in the gospel and learning how the Holy Ghost speaks to us individually augments our ability to serve. When we are grounded in the gospel, we serve more like the Savior does.

Adding to these messages, Sister Linda K. Burton reiterated Jesus Christ’s admonition to serve, especially in conjunction with the large numbers of refugees in the world today. She invited all to “ask . . . ‘What if their story were my story?’” and then do something about it. Sister Burton also announced the launch of the Church’s new relief effort “I Was a Stranger,” a tool intended to help sisters in the Church—according to their individual capacity, time, and resources—serve refugees in their communities. A letter written by the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary general presidents reminds us that “[helping refugees] is just one of many ways [sisters of all ages] can lift and bless those in need.”

Read the summaries from the General Women’s Session of the April 2016 general conference, including President Henry B. Eyring‘s address outlining three ways to walk in Jesus Christ’s footsteps.

Source: General Conference

—Carli Hanson, Mormon Insights

feature image courtesy of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints

Find more insights 

Visit the IWasAStranger.lds.org webpage to get ideas about how to serve refugees in your community.

Read a summary of Elder Patrick Kearon’s comments on the refugee situation.

Watch this video depicting how one woman served a “stranger” and changed both of their lives. This video was shown in the General Women’s Session of the April 2016 general conference.

Watch the Bible video depicting Christ’s “I was a stranger” sermon.

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4 Comments

  1. Loved these themes in General Conference! What a great day! 🙂

  2. Kjersten Johnson

    I was so touched by the calls to reach out to and serve refugees during this session of conference. Sometimes I’ve felt that the church hasn’t spoken much recently about the refugee crisis, and I was delighted and spiritually impacted at the recent developments that came forward about it.

  3. This is such an important topic and still very relevant today!

  4. I am so happy about the desire of Church members to help out refugees. Mormon history is full of moments when we, too, were refugees, so we as Church members should be particularly empathetic towards the plight of refugees.

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