Under the direction of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ First Presidency (the faith’s highest governing body), the Church is working with 75 organisations in 17 European countries to assist refugees. Elder Patrick Kearon, Europe Area President, has called on Mormons to minister to refugees and respond to their needs with Christlike love. Speaking in the Church’s worldwide General Conference, Elder Kearon highlighted the plight of an estimated 60 million refugees worldwide – one in every 122 humans, half of them children.
Elder Kearon said: “The Saviour knows how it feels to be a refugee – He was one. As a young child, Jesus and His family fled to Egypt to escape the murderous swords of Herod. And at various points in His ministry, He found Himself threatened and His life in danger, ultimately submitting to the designs of evil men who had plotted His death. Perhaps, then, it is all the more remarkable to us that He repeatedly taught us to love one another, to love as He loves, to love our neighbour as ourselves.”
“Across Europe specifically, I have seen many members of the Church who have experienced a joyful awakening and enriching of the soul as they have responded to that deep innate desire to reach out and serve those in such extreme need around them.” He added: “We must take a stand against intolerance and advocate respect and understanding across cultures and traditions.”
Elder Kearon concluded: “Being a refugee may be a defining moment in the lives of those who are refugees, but being a refugee does not define them. Like countless thousands before them, this will be a period – we hope a short period – in their lives….This moment does not define them, but our response will help define us.”