Dear 5th Ward Members:
In the past 50 years, the U.S. and non-government organizations have spent over 1 trillion dollars in African aid. One might think this would have lifted Africa and blessed their lives, but the opposite effect is true. The contributed money has created a sort of welfare state wherein many have become dependent on the free ride and it has weakened the nation. It is very much like a parent who keeps bailing their adult child out of trouble only to find the child is incapable of standing on their own. The Church is very aware of this problem and you might say it is hyper-sensitive to not further enable the people of this country. Our leaders have cautioned us over and over not to invite our friends at home to send shoes or clothing or cash – even though their intentions are most noble.
As RaNae and I have seen the extreme poverty here, and gotten up close to circumstances such as our friends who are victims of human trafficking, we can see the possible negative affect of throwing money at the problem. While donating cash to such organizations as Set Her Free Foundation or Mpendo Packer can do some good, the only genuine relief that will last is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need more missionaries, not cash. Just yesterday our mission president was bemoaning the fact that he desperately needs more senior missionaries who are willing to come here and serve. We are losing several senior couples in the next few months with only a few coming to replace them. His concern is alarming.
If there is any way our ward could sponsor one or more couples who are in good health but may not have the resources to serve in Africa, that would be a humanitarian effort well worth pursuing. We need people with testimonies, not white shirts. While sending re-usable sanitary pads for girls in school would be great, that will not solve the real problem. Taking the slums out of the people who will then take themselves out of the slums is far more effective than serving the people in the slums. (Ezra Taft Benson 1979)
Please know of our absolute love for these beautiful people. The things we have seen and done in only one month seem like a year of experience. Senior couples, please come join us here in Uganda. Youth, please continue to set your powerful example of preparation and willingness to serve. There is no doubt that this Gospel is the greatest aid we can give to Africa. Send missionaries, not money. And hurry!
Our sincere love to you all, with a fiery testimony of Jesus Christ and His miraculous plan of happiness.