The country of Malaysia consists of West Malaysia on the Malaysian peninsula, and East Malaysia, with the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the north side of the island of Borneo. Malaysia is unique in that there is little to fear from either earthquakes or storms. Even the devastating tsunami of December 2004 originating just west of Indonesia caused relatively minor damage and the loss of less than 60 lives. But there are ongoing needs in the country, and humanitarian aid missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have done much good in finding those needs and providing aid through The Church of Jesus Christ’s ongoing humanitarian efforts.
In early 2012 LDS senior Mormon missionaries, Kenneth and Gloria Larson, traveled to Tawau, Sabah, East Malaysia, where they have three current Humanitarian Projects. They are in the process of completing a vision project with the Rotary Club of Tawau, where they have distributed about 1500 pairs of eyeglasses to poor school children who live in villages in and around Tawau. They have also provided several pieces of new optical equipment which are portable and can be used for eye exams in these remote villages. They worked closely with Dr. Adjit who is the only ophthalmologist in the Tawau area, and a member of the Rotary Club, the partnering organization.
The Church of Jesus Christ is also working on a large water project with the Rotary Club of Tawau as its partner. This charitable project will supply clean water to a village of about 4,500 people. This village has a source of fresh spring water, but no way of supplying the village. The government built a small, unusable dam for them, but still no way of getting the water to the people. LDS Charities, in partnership with the Rotary Club, has built a bigger, better dam with two 10,000 liter storage tanks, a solar powered generator to pump the water to the storage tanks, and all new PVC pipes to take the water to the homes. The total cost for LDS Charities is $125,000-$150,000, all of it donated by caring Mormons and their friends of other faiths.
As part of the ongoing “wheel chair initiative” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, partnering in this case with Cheshire Homes and the Red Crescent Society, LDS Charities has donated 620 wheelchairs to Kota Kinabalu this year. Jennifer Liew of Cheshire Homes in Sabah has helped to distribute these chairs in Sandakan and Tawau. Red Crescent Society is helping to distribute these chairs in Tawau. The partnering local organizations must assure that recipients have been properly assessed for the correct size of the wheel chairs they receive, and are responsible to train recipients how to care for and use the chairs. For this, the partnering organizations receive training from LDS Humanitarian Aid missionaries.
An organization called Family Humanitarian Experience (Fhe) is serving hundreds of remote Q’eqchi’ villagers in the remote Polochic Valley of Guatemala and doing it right alongside their spouses and children.
FHe is a new 501(c)3 non-profit organization geared for LDS families who want to serve together and have spiritually uplifting experiences along the way. At the core of an FHe expedition are the training workshops which provide skills and knowledge to villages in the areas of medical and dental, economic development, and teacher training. There are also building projects and numerous cultural experiences that take place. 
Last summer seven FHe leaders joined with Singular Humanitarian and CHOICE Humanitarian to lay the groundwork for FHe’s expedition this July to Guatemala. CHOICE Humanitarian is a distinguished non-profit organization based in Salt Lake City with over 30 years of experience in sustainable village development. SHe is a sister organization to FHe for LDS single professionals that develops and provides curriculum and hands-on training to villages around the world in much the same way as FHe, focusing on the areas of business, healthcare, and education.
In July 2011 FHe and SHe worked together to train local volunteers to provide aid in Guatemalan villages. Aid includes the building of a hospital, enabling teachers to provide education, and health workers to provide care and instruction on sanitation and hygiene.
Families who serve with FHe will go home with deeper gratitude, a deeper love of mankind and for each other, and with the desire to not take anything for granted, especially relationships. This is the gift the Q’eqchi’ people give to us, the ability to love and live more deeply.”
FHe recently launched their website, www.familyhumanitarian.org, and will be closing registration soon for their expedition to Guatemala in early July 2012.
Earthquakes, a tsunami and massive flooding have combined to make 2011 the costliest year for natural disasters on record according to a recently released Welfare Services report of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). 
Disasters which occurred during the first half of the year caused $265 billion worth of damage. This broke the record set in 2005, the year that hurricane Katrina hit the southern states in America. The amount of damage caused by disasters in 2005 was approximately $220 billion. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami damage alone has been estimated at $235 billion.
The humanitarian services arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”) offered help throughout the year. The LDS Church responded to 111 disasters in 50 countries, providing a total of $22 million in emergency aid and organizing thousands of volunteers through the Mormon Helping Hands program to assist those affected. In addition to natural disasters, east Africa experienced one of the worst droughts and famines in more than 60 years.
2012 is starting out to be another difficult year. The end of February and beginning of March yielded over 100 destructive tornadoes in the Midwest and southern U.S. states. The Church of Jesus Christ always has relief supplies standing at the ready to offer aid fast. Hygiene kits and other supplies were immediately shipped to stricken areas.
The Church of Jesus Christ participated in the following initiatives:
- After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, more than 250 tons of supplies were distributed during the first few months following the disaster, including food, water, blankets, bedding, hygiene supplies, clothing and fuel. Twenty-two thousand Church-sponsored volunteers have provided more than 175,000 hours of service in Japan to date. The Church of Jesus Christ continues to give aid in Japan.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded to the famine in east Africa by committing $2.25 million in support of relief efforts. The Church partnered with Islamic Relief, International Medical Corps, International Relief and Development and other organizations to provide food, clean water and medical supplies.
- After a rash of violent tornadoes in the United States, the Church of Jesus Christ provided relief in 8 states, with 5,000 Latter-day Saint volunteers helping with cleanup efforts.
- In response to flooding in Thailand, church members in Thailand assembled food kits, sanitation kits, blankets, clothes and other relief items for those affected by the floods.
- In response to Hurricane Irene in the U.S., the Church provided 120 tons of relief supplies and 50,000 hours of service from more than 7,000 Church volunteers and missionaries.
In late January 2012 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes erroneously called the “Mormon Church,” opened a huge bishop’s storehouse in West Salt Lake City, Utah, as reported in the Deseret News. A Bishop’s Storehouse is similar to a general store supplied with food and basic needs for the poor and needy members of the LDS Church. The Church of Jesus Christ has a remarkable welfare program based on self-reliance that has been studied and used as an example by leaders all over the world.
This new bishop’s storehouse has 570,391 square feet and will also be used as a staging point for humanitarian aid shipped out worldwide when disasters strike. The Church of Jesus Christ has its own farms, orchards, vineyards, dairies, and ranches, and canneries operated by Mormon volunteers. The products from these concerns stock the shelves of bishop’s storehouses around the world, and fill boxes that stand ready to ship out for humanitarian aid.
The new facility in Salt Lake City has the capacity to store 65,000 pallets of food and supplies. The building was constructed for a single purpose — to enable the bishops of the church to meet the needs of the poor and needy.
The massive structure replaces the previous Bishops’ Central Storehouse, located on 1600 Wallace Road, and was paid for with LDS Church fast offering funds, which are earmarked to help those in need.
Ground was broken on the facility May 18, 2010, and construction began in July of that year. The facility, completed Oct. 7, 2011, was dedicated by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the LDS Church’s First Presidency.
The facility will be the central hub of the Church of Jesus Christ’s welfare efforts.
The facility also includes Deseret Transportation — which utilizes 43 tractors and 98 trailers and logs about 3.5 million miles per year delivering goods to some 110 church storehouses across the United States and Canada.
The storehouse includes a bulk storage area, rack storage and 63,000 square feet of freezer and cooler space that is humidity-controlled. The storehouse and preparedness system of the LDS Church is so efficient, that supplies can go out during the first incoming emergency phone call and be gone before the parties hang up. For example,
After Hurricane Katrina struck the southern United States in 2005, the LDS church staged fully loaded semi-trucks from Texas to South Carolina. When the storm hit New Orleans, the emergency supplies were on site within 24 hours. Another 450 semi-trucks filled with food, water and other needed items were sent to the disaster zone from the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City in the weeks after the emergency.
Eight months after the earthquake and tsunami hit in Japan, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”) contributed donations to the fishermen of Kuji and the small village of Noda Mura in Japan.
The fisherman in those cities were devastated when the tsunami destroyed almost all of their equipment. The Church donated “three trucks, 4,500 nets, 3,000 octopus cages and various other fishing supplies to the local fishermen’s cooperative” to the city of Kuji, and “trucks with refrigeration equipment and fish tanks, a fork lift, a large-volume digital scale and 70 large containers for hauling the day’s catch” in Noda Mura. In Kuji, the head of the fisherman’s co-op, Kenichiro Saikachi, thanked the Church saying, “For us who received the shock of this great disaster, the donation today from your church is a reassuring act of kindness.” This is a part of the ongoing effort of the Church in contributing to the welfare of those affected by the disaster in Japan. “Both the mayor and the head of the co-op were visibly moved by the help they had received from people they were not aware of before the earthquake and tsunami.”
To read the full story, please visit the official Mormon news website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Learn more about the Church humanitarian aid program.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”) is working together with other organizations, to assist in drought relief efforts in Africa. Millions are in need of assistance as the past several years have been harsh drought conditions. The Church partnering to provide water, hygiene kits, medical supplies, as well as medical training. the Church is also working on projects in the future that would help the people of Africa be more self-reliant. These projects include digging wells, installing pumps, and sanitizing water. This example of assistance given by the Church and other organizations, shows that there is a great need for additional Christ like assistance around the world.
With an estimated 13 million people in Eastern Africa in need of assistance, the conditions there being the driest recorded in the past 50 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is working with various other organizations to coordinate the distribution of aid in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda.
In Dadaab, Kenya, the world’s largest complex of refugee camps is already full, with an estimated half million people living there. Tens of thousands of people are living outside of the complex due to lack of space and supplies. In September, an average of 1,000 people arrived each day.
For a full report, please visit the official Mormon news website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”)
On April 8, 2011, representatives from four Southern California chapters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held an event to show appreciation for the Christ-like example shown by the Mormons towards Ahmadi Muslims over the years. In 2003, a fire at a Chino mosque deprived local Muslims of a place to worship. During the rebuilding phase from 2007 to 2009, the local Chino Mormon congregations opened their building to the Muslim group for their required weekly Sermon and Islamic Prayers every Friday, as well as other religious gatherings. The Mosque re-opened in October of 2009 to serve the 700 members of the Ahmadiyya community.
The event was held in the remodeled structure, the Tahrir Hall, and Indian food was served. A commemorative plaque was given to Mormon Chino Stake President Daniel Stevenson that contained a verse from the Muslim Holy Book, the Quran, which read:
“. . .And thou shalt assuredly find those who say, ‘We are Christians’ to be nearest to the believers in their love for God. That is because among them are savants and monks, and because they are not proud.” 
President Stevenson addressed the group, decrying the fact that as recently as May 28th of 2010 until Feb. 6th of this year, more than a hundred Ahmadi Muslims have been viciously murdered by Muslim extremists in Pakistan and Indonesia. He called on God to protect and provide for the persecuted members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community throughout the world. Speakers from the Mormon attendees and Muslim representatives stressed the similarities between Ahmadi Muslims and Mormons, including references to persecution. There was a question and answer period to increase understanding.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated desks and chairs to the Satupaitea District Primary School in Apia, Samoa. The Church also has donated other materials, including library books, reading books, texts books for English, Science and other subjects, reference books including encyclopedias, and self-filtering water bottles for students.
The school district was nominated to receive the aid by the Samoa Ministry of Education. Before the donation of desks and chairs, the children sat on mats on the floor. The new desks and chairs arrived from China needing assembly, which was accomplished by the LDS missionaries serving in the Savaii Central Missionary Zone – assisted by villagers.
President Laulu Mokesi Laulu of the Church’s Savaii South Stake spoke on behalf of the Church to formally present the assistance under the Church’s humanitarian aid programme.
“The Church’s assistance is given indiscriminately to those in need regardless of race, religion, and colour.”
It has been one year since the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti. Recovery has barely begun, set back by a serious cholera epidemic and non-existent government performance. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often the first on the ground and last to leave when natural disasters strike — relief work is still ongoing in southeast Asia many years after a tsunami took hundreds of thousands of lives. The Church is still providing relief in Haiti.
“We’re in as good or better of a place as any NGO,” said Lynn Samsel, the church’s director of humanitarian emergency response and community services. 
The Church has authorized the construction of a “bishop’s storehouse” in Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince. Though the Church has approved a ground-breaking for the building, Haitian government approval is still pending. Bishop’s storehouses have a supply of foodstuffs, clothing, and other necessities provided through the charity of the members of the Church. When people are in need, they may apply to the bishop of the local congregation. With the help of congregation leaders, the needy assess their needs and fill out an order form to be filled at the storehouse.
“Fast offerings” are used to finance charity for the poor who are members of the Church. Members fast for two meals on one Sunday each month, and then they donate the monetary value of the meals to the Church for the care of the poor. In Haiti, bishops of congregations are now obtaining supplies locally with the use of fast offerings.
The Church has also been trying to build temporary shelters, but only 10-15% of the rubble from the quake has been cleared. Because so many people died, and so many records were destroyed, it is often difficult to determine ownership of usable land.
The Church has been striving to rehabilitate its own members on the island. Three hundred fifty-six have been placed in jobs and 296 in self-employment. Business partnerships are continuing as others are being trained in new and much-needed skills, such as welding and construction. The Church is also investigating the possibility of creating church schools, since the infrastructure, including the education of children, crumbled along with homes and schools. In the meantime, the church has distributed thousands of school kits and has helped fund some training of new teachers in Haiti.
Clean water has been an important issue, brought to the eyes of the developed world by news of the outbreak of cholera. LDS humanitarian shipments have included shipping large water systems, water-filtration bottles and bags, soap and treatment products and prevention/education materials and supplies. The Church is also fine-tuning its medical aid response by studying the effectiveness of the original medical teams sent over immediately after the earthquake. The Church is learning which medical supplies are most needed, and how to coordinate staff pulled together from various locations.
LDS humanitarian aid to Haiti has included the following:
FOOD/WATER: 1 million pounds, 13 pallets of kitchen/cooking sets, 16,000 water-filtration bottles
MEDICAL: 25 pallets of medical supplies, 110,000 hygiene kits, 4,300 first-aid kits
SHELTER: 3,000 tents, 4,000 tarps
BEDDING: 13,000 blankets, 600 quilts, 48 cots,
COMFORT/CARE: 9,400 newborn kits, two pallets of toys
EDUCATION: 800 school kits
And later, specifically for cholera response, the LDS Church sent:
MEDICAL: five large medical tents
WATER: three large water-purification systems; 8,500 water-filtration bottles, with 5,000 extra filters; water-filtration bags and extra filters; water-filtration pumps and extra filters
HYGIENE: 390 cases of hand soap, 17,000 hygiene kits
EDUCATION: Cholera-education kits with instructions in French and Haitian Creole
In the United States, just one child of 20,000 is born without pigmentation, a condition called albinism. But in Kenya, the percentage is much higher due to intermarriage. The condition is caused by a recessive gene; one recessive gene from the father, and one from the mother, and an albino child is born. Some Africans believe that there is magic in the body parts of albinos, so there is an active black market for them (bringing $10,000 per child, and putting albino children at great risk).
Jami Quesenberry was a 47-year-old Mormon mother and homemaker who joined a charitable expedition to Kenya to help build schools. While there, she saw a native mother with an albino child. The child was in need of medical care because of her condition, plus ways to be protected from both violence and from the sun. Quesenberry’s heart was touched, but she didn’t know what she could do to help. Some months later, Koins for Kenya asked her to manage another expedition. Remembering the mother and child, she heard that Hussein Lumbambo, was starting a school for albino children in Kinandaongo, a safe school with a high-walled dormitory for the students. There had been a benefactor, but money had run out.
Quesenberry and her family went through their substantial amount of “stuff” and had a garage sale. She is looking for other ways to raise funds. There are probably 100 other albino children in the surrounding area. The mother she had seen actually had two. The father divorced her and chased her and the children with a machete. They had found refuge behind the walls of the school grounds. Word about the school and the protection it provides is getting around, and more children are being brought there. Koins for Kenya is seeking personal sponsors for the children.
Bret Van Leeuwen, an Alpine businessman and founder of Koins for Kenya, said the school for albino children is purposefully located in a village that’s not easily accessible. He said when the school opens in January, he expects 80 children but is prepared for 100.