LDS Church aids in reconstruction of East Timor


    By Stephen Schwendiman

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated more than $76,000 in cash aid to recovering victims of civil war and flooding in East Timor.

    “We believe one of the best ways to serve God is to serve our fellow human beings, and we try to do our small part to alleviate suffering,” said Elder Victor Cave, counselor in the Australia/New Zealand Area Presidency, in a news release.

    “There is a natural relationship between the hardship and privation endured by the early Latter-day Saint pioneers and the challenges faced by today’s East Timorese,” Cave said.

    East Timor, located on the southeastern end of Indonesia, has been involved in civil wars for several years, said Randy Ripplinger, a spokesman for LDS Church Public Affairs.

    East Timor received more than $700,000 in supplies from the LDS Church earlier this year, the news release said.

    Ripplinger said the additional aid is coming from members of the LDS Church and the LDS Church farm in Australia.

    Local members of the LDS Church’s Relief Society also initiated clothing collections to be given to East Timor victims, Ripplinger said.

    Previous aid to East Timor came from the LDS Church in general, Ripplinger said.

    “The trend (in the world) is growing numbers of people living on meager sums,” said Mark Hodde, associate director of development for the International Orthodox Christian Charities. The IOCC is a global relief organization not affiliated with the LDS Church.

    Financial resources can be the most effective relief, Hodde said. Money is a flexible donation that the community can use to meet their needs, he said.

    Hodde said a good portion of the money the IOCC receives comes from religious people or those involved with the Orthodox Christian Church.

    Hodde said the IOCC, like most charitable organizations, works with local communities to assess needs.

    The LDS Church has humanitarian assistance projects initiated throughout the world, LDS Church Public Affairs said.

    Whether an area receives aid from the LDS Church is decided on a case-by-case basis, Ripplinger said.

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