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.
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”)
Ben Markham is a Mormon and the founder of Empower Playgrounds. Markham has spent the last three years with school all over Ghana to help increase the learning potential of the students there. He does this by installing “whirls” or kid-driven merry-go-rounds, that generate electricity, thereby creating light for classrooms and gloomy dwellings. With light, the kids can see to study.
Recently, Playworld Systems has merged with Empower Playgrounds, and that has provided man-power and resources to move the projects further, faster.
Markham was serving a mission with his wife and noticed the lack of light in the meager classrooms, and that the children could not do homework, because there was no light in their homes. Now, more than 3,000 children and young adults have benefited from the whirl’s capacity to bring more than 45 hours of charged light. 
Empower is developing kits that can be assembled anywhere. The goal is soon to go global. The results for the children have been amazing, with greater progress than even Markham could have imagined. Many children have earned scholarships for high school education.
To learn more, visit
Amanda de Lange, an Afrikaner by birth and a Brigham Young University graduate (1996), taught English in a Taiwanese school, but she was tempted to accept a more lucrative position in South Korea. While she was struggling with her decision, she visited an orphanage in Xi’an, China. There, she saw hundreds of orphans, many infants, and some with serious medical difficulties that no one was able to solve, lacking the time and funds to give them good care. The Spirit spoke to Amanda, and she knew that saving these infants would be her life’s work. She turned down the opportunity to teach in Korea and petitioned the Chinese government for permission to start an infant care center associated with adoption agencies. Though she considered it impossible that permission would be granted to a westerner, Amanda’s petition was granted just four days after she submitted it.
Amanda began with six sick babies…
“My learning curve was enormous,” she says. “I was not medically or financially trained, and I didn’t know where to go and what to do in a foreign country. I was the only one there taking care of six babies, all under four months. I spent countless hours feeding, changing diapers, and doing laundry.” 
As she sought for help, she found medical teams that came to China. She now has a solid structure in place that includes a foundation, paid nannies, volunteers, and fund-raisers. While de Lange subsists on almost nothing, she considers her compensation great. She feels the hand of the Lord guiding her.
Recently, Amanda was awarded the Brigham Young University Humanitarian Award for her relentless work in building the Starfish Foster Home. Donations have come in to allow for a renovation to the home that Amanda built.
Following her creed—“I will make a difference to this baby”—de Lange has made a difference to more than 100 babies since the Chinese government gave her permission to operate a foster home nearly five years ago.  Many infants go to adoptive parents in the United States.
Sadly, in January 2012 Amanda was diagnosed with uterine cancer and she died July 14, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. Amanda was enveloped in love as she left., which is so fitting for a woman who selflessly shared her passion and energy, nurturing vulnerable orphans, restoring them to health, and preparing them for the loving arms of their new parents and forever families.
While she was in the hospital, Amanda reflected: “168 babies, nearly 250 surgeries, and 81 adoptions – that pretty much sums up my life!” There is so much humility in that one phrase – and even more impact. Eighty-one Starfish with their forever families, and so many more ready for their turn, thanks to Amanda and the incredible Starfish team and volunteers.
–This quote is from Dian Thomas, writing for Meridian Magazine.
Tyler DeLange, a life-long member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and an emergency room M.D., has not yet met the woman of his dreams. There are many activities for single adults in the Mormon Church, but service projects are the most worthwhile. DeLange decided to launch his own. Called Singular Humanitarian Experience, Dr. DeLange’s fledgling non-profit organization, attracts single Mormons to the third world to provide several kinds of service.
The organization’s first project was launched among the poor of Polochic Valley of Guatemala. The group built a brand new two room school. DeLange tended to the sick. The group dug the foundation for the area’s first hospital and helped to teach local villagers the basics of midwifery, dentistry and emergency medical care. Schoolteachers conducted development workshops for the area’s education professionals. Business specialists helped native women to design their own business plans.
The organization will next begin serving in Bolivia and Nepal. Young LDS singles from all over the world have flocked to sign up for the expeditions.
Elder Brent H. Nielson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Pacific Area Presidency visited New Zealand’s earthquake zone to view the impact of the recent 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Elder Nielsen checked on members of the Church affected by the quake, and then presented $180,000 from the Church to emergency mayoral funds in Selwyn, Waimakariri and Christchurch. “The money will be used to support relief efforts and restore services to the worst affected areas. Funds came from donations by Mormons in New Zealand and overseas.” 
Aftershocks were felt during Elder Nielson’s visit . Accompanied by local church leaders, he assessed damage in several areas. During the visits, the church leaders presented various mayors with “72-hour kits” and instructions for making them. The Church has a preparedness program wherein members are guided in building up a 3 month supply and then a 1 year’s supply of food, clothing, and fuel. Members are also encouraged and trained to create a 72-hour kit for each member of the family. Stored in backpacks and located in a handy place, 72-hour kits are meant for disasters such as the earthquake in New Zealand. If every man, woman, and child had one, many lives would be saved and the burden on first responders would decrease.
The timing of the New Zealand earthquake was fortuitious.
“…300 general practitioners were in town for a medical conference and the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams from around the country were also in Christchurch to practice for an emergency just like the earthquake. Ten people had been trapped in earthquake damaged buildings but they were rescued within hours by the USAR.”
However, much of the damage is hidden and is just now being discovered.
The two facts most people know about Mongolia are that the weather is brutal and the people are nomadic. The temperatures on the plains dip below zero every winter, and then there’s the wind chill. The last thing people think of when they think about Mongolia is gardening. But for the past two years, Deseret International Charities has partnered with all of the Mormon wards (congregations) and branches (even smaller congregations) in Mongolia to provide seeds, tools, gardening manuals and training to members of the Church in their local units. More than 400 LDS families throughout Mongolia are participating in the garden project. 
One member expressed gratitude for the seed potatoes, tools and gardening manual she received from the Church/DIC’s Garden Project. For many Mongolian gardeners, watering has been a challenges. Some have shallow wells, but others haul water for their gardens. Still, the abundance of produce has increased the health of the participants.
“Sister Javzandulam’s garden is her only source of income. She said, “Planting is easy, but selling is hard.” She rents a truck to transport her produce to the big city of Ulaanbaatar so she can sell produce there. In order to store her remaining produce, she dug a large hole in the ground on her property. Last winter, she placed the produce and hold-over seeds in the hole and erected a ger (yurt) over it. This served as a root cellar and kept her produce and seeds from freezing. In addition to a garden of vegetables, Javzandulam planted beautiful flowers to adorn her home. Her dedication to her garden sets a great example for her friends of the benefits of home gardening.”
Some gardeners have erected greenhouses with plastic walls. Others have built fences to keep out livestock. Others have learned to collect and recycle rainwater. Some have created gardens in grow-boxes, while others furrow the ground or create hills for vegetables. Lush, large gardens have been a blessing for all the participants in the project.
Ryan Wilcox is a loving father and caring pediatrician. He helps to run a Level II Newborn Intensive Care Unit in American Fork, Utah, and his wife, Gretchen, is a nurse who specializes in labor and delivery. Dr. Wilcox is also a private-practice pediatrician. Together, Wilcox and his wife are humanitarian aid missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They specialize in teaching neonatal resuscitation to doctors and nurses in Brazil and Africa.
They had finished delivering a training course in Brazil, when they had a special experience: “I had a doctor come up to me at the end of the week crying and basically just told me, ‘Last week we watched a baby die at our clinic because we didn’t have the proper equipment, and now thanks to the church, I’m never going to have to sit there and watch another baby die,’” Wilcox said. 
The Wilcox’ leave their two daughters at home during their two-week service abroad. They go out three times each year. Their daughters, however, now have a better understanding of the service their parents render, since Dr. Wilcox has been featured in one of the Church’s “I’m a Mormon” ad spots shown in 9 U.S. cities in 2010.
“Wilcox said one of his biggest hopes is that his portion of the ad campaign clears the air about the service the church provides. ‘It doesn’t matter what nationality you are, what religion you are,’ Wilcox said. ‘Doing Christlike service is regardless of any nationality, financial status or anything like that, and Mormons are truly Christians who serve and help those around them.’”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is providing approximately 400,000 pounds of supplies to support relief efforts in flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan. These supplies include food items (rice, beans, Atmit and powdered milk), hygiene kits, handmade quilts and medical supplies. 
Islamic Relief USA will handle shipping and on-the-ground distribution. According to the United Nations, there are more than 8 million people in immediate need of urgent care in Pakistan. Millions of people are displaced, their homes destroyed; they are hungry and in need of medical supplies and hygiene kits. The U.N. calls the floods one of the worst humanitarian disasters in U.N. history. Hospitals and clinics have been destroyed along with people’s homes.
Handmade quilts are provided to LDS Humanitarian Aid efforts by members of the Mormon Church. The Church provides the specifications for quilts of different sizes, including baby quilts. Some members create quilts at home according to the specifications and do so on an ongoing basis. Other members, especially under the auspices of the Relief Society, gather together at meeting houses to work on quilting projects for charity and disaster relief. Members donate the materials and perform the labor of love. Extra effort is invested in making the quilts as beautiful as they are functional.
Update — September 16, 2010
The Daily Times (“A New Voice for Pakistan”) Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, flew to Salt Lake City, Utah, to meet with LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson and to deliver a personal thank-you for the $3 million worth of aid provided to Pakistan for relief efforts after the devastating flood. Ambassador Haqqani praised the work of the Church in support of suffering humanity as an inspiring example for others. The Pakistani diplomat said, “It (aid for flood victims) symbolises the fact that the people of all faiths can work together and need to strengthen each other in times of humanitarian crisis.” He emphasized that, “Of the 20 million affected, eight million are children, and 800,000 to a million are expecting mothers.” He also issued a plea for donations to the people of Utah and the U.S.