Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do Unto Others

From the Little Big Book of Comfort Food

When George Albert Smith was the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during World War II, he encouraged Church members to continue to donate work, food, and clothing to help feed and clothe others. Even during rationing and personal hardship contributions were generous.

The war left many people starving in Europe. In 1945 donations were already being sent from Utah through the regular mail to the country's former enemies in Germany. Only small packages were accepted and the cost was prohibitive. President Smith decided to go to the president of the United States and ask how the Church could send food and clothing to these desperate people.

He finally received a twenty-minute interview with U.S. President Harry S. Truman on November 3, 1945. Later, Smith described the interview at the White House:

“I have just come to ascertain from you, Mr. President, what your attitude will be if the Latter-day Saints are prepared to ship food and clothing and bedding to Europe."

He smiled and looked at me, and said, "Well, what do you want to ship it over there for? Their money isn’t any good."

I said, "We don’t want their money."

He looked at me and asked, "You don’t mean you are going to give it to them?"

I said, "Of course, we would give it to them. They are our brothers and sisters and are in distress. God has blessed us with a surplus, and we will be glad to send it if we can have the co-operation of the government."

Then President Truman said, "You are on the right track,” and added, "we will be glad to help you in any way."

George Albert Smith opened the way for hundreds of thousands of pounds of relief supplies to be delivered to people in Austria and Germany who were the worst affected by the devastation of the war.

"The miracle is this--the more we share, the more we have."
---Leonard Nimoy

I experienced a little miracle one Sunday morning that proved this saying true.

Our church's youth group collected food, and met in a downtown park to serve breakfast to homeless people who gathered there. I was one of the adult leaders. Buffet tables were set up and our kids stood behind the tables fixing scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and potatoes, while a long line of hungry folks filled their plates.

I stood at the last table with two 12-year-old girls, pouring milk into cups. We had a number of gallon jugs under the table, but we were worried when we noticed how quickly we emptied the bottles. There was still an endless line when we reached for the last three bottles. By then we knew we'd run out before everyone got some, so one of the girls took cups of milk to some of the children.

Stacy (Morrison) and I kept pouring the milk. She opened a new package of paper cups, and we kept pouring . . . and pouring. It didn't run out! Stacy said, "I can't believe that we still have milk left." Then we started counting. Two half-empty gallons of milk filled almost 100 cups, and we still had milk when the last of the people filed past! It was like participating when Jesus fed the 5,000.

I had this experience about 18 years ago, but I'll never forget it.
It taught me that the Lord will take our meager offering, and make it enough.


Gordita said...

I'm a fan of your blog, but have been content to just lurk until now. I have to thank you for sharing this! I feel warm reading it, and know that our efforts to do are strengthened from above.

Heed said...

Mom, I think it was Holly... remember she had another little sister named ... man, I can't remember their last names. But I know who you're talking about. That is a great lesson.

gab said...

Love the picture! Love the stories! Love this whole post!

Sheri said...

This is so cool! Wonderful story. What a great lesson.

pete said...

woah. quotes from spock!

Tori, Jessie, Ria, Kat, and Tea. Who is next? said...

Thank you SO for sharing this lovely testimony of God's provisions! It's SO pertinent.