In this postmodern world, where it is easier to go with the flow, it is important to follow our convictions, faith is not something that is studied, it is a way of life, we are not God, but his children. Therefore, we must behave as such, accepting and recognizing the mercy with which he shows us his love.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 17 million members worldwide served and ministered to leaders and members during the global COVID-19 Pandemic.
As this pandemic spread throughout the world, the Church in a historical event immediately canceled all meetings in the chapels, closed 168 Temples in the world, returned thousands of missionaries to their countries of origin and restricted other activities.
"The work continues," said Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles M. Russell Ballard, "The Lord has provided us with the technology for this time."
In the midst of the pandemic, thousands of young people accepted missionary calls, all received missionary training from home, virtual Missionary Training Center, and many received temporary reassignments. The Church cautiously and carefully enacted a gradual reopening of temples based on local circumstances and government restrictions; they also began construction of 21 new temples in 2020. Church leaders held two General Conferences broadcast around the world from Church headquarters in Utah; they reorganized stakes with the help of videoconferencing; they extended the call for new presidents of Missionary Training Centers, Presidents of Temples and Presidents of Mission; and they continued to speak publicly with the help of technology.
Church leaders also celebrated the bicentennial of the 200th Anniversary of the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, not with a grand celebration, but by inviting Latter-day Saints around the world to learn to better hear the voice of the Lord. and more frequently.
The Church has helped fund 168 projects in 46 countries to bless more than 116 million people. The Latter-day Saint Charities Humanitarian Organization currently provides financial support to leading global immunization partners to obtain and deliver vaccines, monitor disease, respond to outbreaks, train health workers, and develop elimination and eradication programs. The results include more immunized children and fewer lives lost from measles, rubella, maternal and neonatal tetanus, polio, diarrhea, pneumonia, and yellow fever.
Notable success stories of late include the elimination of disease throughout Africa. In 2019, Latter-day Saint Charities and partners like UNICEF USA and Kiwanis International helped eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Late last year, thanks to UNICEF and partners like Latter-day Saint Charities, Africa eradicated wild poliovirus. And in response to a measles epidemic in Chad. Central Africa In 2019, UNICEF and its partners helped vaccinate 653,535 children between the ages of six months and nine years over a period of one week.
"In word and deed, the Church has supported vaccines for generations," the leaders wrote in a statement. “As a prominent component of our humanitarian efforts, the Church has funded, distributed, and administered life-saving vaccines around the world. Vaccines have helped curb or eliminate devastating communicable diseases such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox, and measles. Vaccines administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life ”.
96-year-old prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, explained how the COVID-19 pandemic has become the largest humanitarian project in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, thanks to the generous sacrifice of members throughout the world.
“I have learned that these emotions of fear, isolation, and danger are best managed by being immersed in caring for others,” said President Nelson.
"With the approval of our doctor, my wife Wendy and I were vaccinated against COVID-19." "We are very grateful. We are grateful for the countless physicians, scientists, researchers, manufacturers, government leaders, and others who have done the hard work necessary to make this vaccine available. We have often prayed for this literal blessing from heaven. "
“As a former surgeon and medical researcher, I know something of the effort required to accomplish such a remarkable feat. Producing a safe and effective vaccine in less than a year is a miracle. I was a young surgeon when, “As a former surgeon and medical researcher, I know something of the effort required to accomplish such a remarkable feat. Producing a safe and effective vaccine in less than a year is a miracle. I was a young surgeon when, in 1953, Dr. Jonas Salk announced that he had developed a vaccine against the cruel and crippling disease of polio. Then I saw the dramatic impact that the vaccine had on eradicating polio, as the majority of people around the world were vaccinated."
President Nelson who was set apart on January 14, 2018, after serving 34 years in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He brought a lifetime of preparation to his new position. President Nelson, a world-renowned surgeon, has visited 133 countries, participated in the dedication of 31 of those countries, and opened doors for the Church in Eastern Europe and China. At Church headquarters, he has served as president of each of the three Church governance committees - the Missionary Executive Council, the Temple and Family History Executive Council, and the Priesthood and Family Executive Council.
Through the Church council system and with the full support of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he has also enacted multiple policy changes within the Church.
Under the direction of President Nelson, the Church adjusted the schedule of its Sunday meetings worldwide from 3 hours to just 2 hours to accommodate Church-supported, home-centered gospel study.
The prophet asked members in General Conference to use the full and correct name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In a landmark interview in Rome in March 2019, President Nelson called the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple "a watershed moment in the history of the Church." He added, “Things are going to move forward at a fast pace. The Church is going to have an unprecedented future, without equal. Now we are preparing ourselves for what awaits us”.
President Nelson said in the interview that he doesn't spend a lot of time looking back. "There are exciting things ahead," he explained. “This work is progressing at an accelerated rate. I can hardly wait to jump out of bed every morning and see what the day will bring."
In November 2020, he offered an amazing remedy one that "runs counter to our natural intuition" for everything that afflicts the world: gratitude.
“In my nine and a half decades of life, I have come to the conclusion that it is much better to count our blessings than to count our problems. Whatever our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a spiritual recipe with quick and lasting effect."
During this unprecedented year when practically every person in the world has suffered the effects of the global pandemic, “there is nothing more important we can do… than fix our focus on the Savior Jesus Christ and the gift of what His life really means. for each of us… ”, he said.
“From his example, He taught that we too can rise from the depths of our individual challenges, our sadness, weakness and worries, to reach the heights of our own glorious potential and divine destiny. All this is possible by virtue of His mercy and grace.
In early 2020, President Nelson twice invited Latter-day Saints and those of other faiths to fast and pray for “physical and spiritual healing” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the 1918 influenza pandemic, Church of Jesus Christ meetings were also canceled or postponed, people were encouraged to wear face masks, and many families suffered. "In 1918, the First Presidency designated a day of fasting and prayer for the members of the Church", the purpose was "to stop and quickly suppress by divine power the devastating scourge that is happening on the earth."
The First Presidency also urged Church members in 2021, as appropriate opportunities present themselves, to "be good citizens of the world and help quell the pandemic by protecting themselves and others through immunization."
Compilation of reports, editing of texts and statistics: Rubén Molina, interfaith journalist member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Buenos Aires, Argentina. May 2021.
Interfaith journalist member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.