Global response for ‘Light the World’ service initiative
For the third year, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, together with others around the world, are participating in the “Light the World” service initiative. This year’s focus is divided into four weeks of service that emphasize helping the larger world, serving one’s community, strengthening one’s home and increasing devotion to one’s faith.
As with last year, vending “giving machines” are available for the public to purchase and donate predesignated items such as livestock/animals, water filters, eyeglasses or other needed items to people in need. One hundred percent of all donations go directly to partner charities for the purchased item or for items or services of greater need based on their discretion. The giving machines are located on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in Manila, Philippines; New York City; Gilbert, Arizona; and London, England.
“We are thrilled with the enthusiastic and generous response worldwide to the #LightTheWorld giving machines,” Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said. “In just a few weeks, these machines have generated 52,279 contributions, resulting in $1,332,128 in total donations to local and global charities.”
Some of the most popular items purchased this year include:
Livestock/animals (goats, cows, chickens): $517,023Meals: $207,974.86Sewing machines: $75,465Water bottles: $53,150Polio vaccines: $35,986
“The giving machines will remain open in each location through the end of December 2018. We are truly touched by the willingness of people to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ and make a difference this Christmas season,” Woodruff said.
Below is a summary of how Latter-day Saints and others are participating this Christmas season to be a light to the world.
The “Light the World” campaign kicked off in Kenya with a day of service on December 1. Some 75 Church members and friends gathered at the Upperhill Chapel to stuff donations — including books, toys and blankets — into gift bags for Kenyatta National Hospital. Latter-day Saints delivered the gift bags to children and their mothers in the hospital’s cancer ward.
In India more than 40 members of the Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Baha’i and Christian communities gathered on December 1 in Delhi to celebrate their friendship and their collective commitment to service.
“We look forward to getting together every year and value our association with [Latter-day Saints],” said Fazalur Rehman Qureshi, who feeds about 500 people a day for free at his restaurant in Old Delhi. “We have a common goal to serve others, and that is a powerful bond.”
In Granada, Spain, Latter-day Saints hosted a Christmas concert in their chapel. Some 700 people attended and donated more than 1,760 pounds (800 kilograms) of food. The mayor of Granada was also present and spoke of the importance of giving during the Christmas season.
The congregation in Cartagena, Spain, cleaned up plastics and waste on the coast of Cabo Cope in an event organized by the City Council through the Department of Environment.
In Guatemala, hundreds of missionaries took to the streets in service, wearing their red “Ilumina el Mundo” (Light the World) T-shirts. They cleaned streets and parks, sang Christmas carols, visited hospitals, spoke with the sick and shared messages of encouragement and hope.
In Australia, female Church members of the Newcastle, Australia, congregation filled 31 used handbags with women’s essentials and small gifts for homeless women.
“I recall shopping for some extra items, and as I was browsing the aisle for sale prices the hymn ‘Because I Have Been Given Much’ came clearly to the forefront of my thoughts,” said Natalie Latu. “In that moment I knew that what we had asked the sisters to sacrifice in time and money right before Christmas was the right thing to do. It has set off a pattern of service for me and opened up conversations regarding our service, both within and outside the home.”
The “Light the World” campaign took to the railway in the Philippines as the metro was transformed into a bright red reminder to “Light the World” this Christmas.
The outside of the train was wrapped in the “Light the World” logo, while the inside of the train was decorated with small reminders of the Savior. The handles inside the metro held red cards with service ideas such as “Surprise someone you know with a nice home-cooked meal.” Throughout December the train will carry over 100,000 passengers.
In Vina del Mar, Chile, the “Light the World” concert celebration has become a yearly tradition.
Every year, this concert is attended by local authorities, neighbors and members. This year the choir was also joined by a live symphonic orchestra. As songs of the season were performed, families and friends were able to gather together and discuss the Savior.
For more information visit www.lighttheworld.org.