Comments about ‘LDS Church helps as Guatemalans bring water, education to their village’

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Published: Saturday, July 9 2011 5:00 p.m. MDT

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Ogden, UT

Always good to see the truely poor receive assistance.

I think America's "poor" need to look at the living conditions of these families in Guatemala and reassess whether or not America's poor really are all that bad off.

Bountiful, UT

I would love to read more heartwarming stories like this one. In a world of suffering, it's nice to know that we can make a difference in others' lives. One step at a time... Thank you for the story!

  • 6:52 p.m. July 9, 2011
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Logan, UT

Such good people just need a little help and they take off. I can't even imagine spending that much time to get water. We are so blessed here in America. Thank you for insight into these peoples lives.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

It's this level of poverty that leads to illegal immigrants coming across the border.
This is what I wish the young missionaries would be sent out to do. The world would be a better place and I would wager everything I own that the LDS church would win more converts than having missionaries just tract all day long.

Murray, UT

Great idea for a post doc in sociology, study this town for the next 5 years and chart changes to the "culture" of the town. Des News should hook up with this post doctoral student to report yearly on the progress, trial, etc, of this town that has been radically (or not so) changed. Let's get 'er done Des News.

Boise, ID

Thank you for this great story.

American Fork, UT

Great story. Always uplifting. Heartwarming. But, and there is always a but, it's aid with conditions.

Santa Ana, CA

@Hutterite- it is those very "conditions" which made the humanitarian projects successful. Unconditional handouts don't foster self sufficiency, but rather dependency. Surely you can see that.

Allen, TX

@ Mr. Bass;

Are you not aware of the thousands of humanitarian-only missionaries, and that the proselyting missionaries also have a mandatory service component? I bet you at least once a week the local proselyting missionaries are helping with this school.....

Castle Rock, CO

RE: Ernest T. Bass

The church's purpose isn't to simply gain converts, it's to bring souls to Jesus Christ. It's for individuals to repent of their sins and feel the sweet peace of forgiveness and hope that comes from following Jesus Christ.

The focus for the LDS church will never be simply to get people clean water (as good as an objective as that is). The objective will always be to help people become followers of Christ. President Benson said this statement:

"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature."

Missionaries will continue to bring people to Christ. The church as a whole will continue to bring people clean water. People coming to Christ will do more than a water program ever will. I converted as a poor teenager in a rural area, now I have attended graduate school. I have lived this exact principle.

Castle Rock, CO

RE: Ernest T. Bass

Also, mormon missionaries don't just tract all day long. In my mission we tracted from 9:30am-12:30pm five days a week. That was it, no more and no less. Tracting was simply the only way to reach some people. The rest of the day we would do service projects (lots of them and very frequently), we would visit struggling members, we would visit member's homes for dinner and speak with their friends. That is a small glimpse of the things we would do. Tracting was an essential, but small, part of the overall missionary efforts.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

How much more of these projects could they do with say, $4billion?

Pocatello, ID

This was inspirational! It just shows what happens when you "teach people correct principles and let them govern themselves". Putting the masses on welfare will only destroy ultimately not help.

Allen, TX

Ernest - Again, you just don't get it. Have you never heard the "teach a man to fish" analogy?

Throwing money at the problems NEVER helps in the long term. Ennabling people to find self worth by having them engage in and take ownership of the project, with financial and material help from outside sources makes a difference in their lives, their confidence level, and their desire to forge a better life for themselves, their families, their communities and their countries.

If the Church were doing this for PR, sure, they could write a big check that would make very little difference in the long run. But that's not what this is about. These peoples' lives are changed forever, and generations down the road will bless their involvement in building the water system and the school long after anyone remembers that the Church financed it.

Highland, UT

I saw this article and brushed it off as another feel-good piece. But as I skimmed its contents, I became fascinated with the Church's approach. The concepts of this project are so applicable to our own lives. I was intrigued by this comment of Don Clark: "We really did take a holistic approach to this. You can't solve a community's problems with a single project. You can't go in and build a school and leave town. We started with a water project, and we started with hygiene classes with the women, and we built from there." It's also interesting they started with the women. If you want to initiate positive change in a society, start with the women.

blue fish

@Ernest T Bass- I understand what you're saying. But, the objective of missionary work is to bring saving ordinances to people. The rest is a bonus.

Shelley, ID

Our missionaries in Miami came and read to the children at our elementary school, as their "service" time. The kids loved it, the teachers and parents appreciated it.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Many organizations have learned that you must have the community take ownership in projects such as those described in this story.

When an outside organization comes into a village and puts in a well and provides clean water, it lasts only until there is a breakdown in the equipment and that is the end.

When the community is involved and they provide labor and more importantly, leadership, the result is different. You set up a for profit water company where locals run the water company and they will have enough to pay for repairs when needed and the system becomes self sustaining. It can also work as a non-profit but they must charge a fee so the equipment can be maintained.

A little education can go a long way in these small communities.
Clean water, Washing hands, Washing food, Purifying water all translate to better health and greater productivity. You get much more work done when you are health than sick.

High productivity means wealth.
What a blessing both temporally and spiritually.

Cache, UT

@Hutterite- Sheesh. The Church can't do anything right, according to you. The glass IS half-full sometimes buddy.

Mchenry, IL

Of course handwashing wasn't done frequently. If you had to carry water and wood were such an effort you'd stop too.

The other problem is when you bring water and school structures to communities sometimes they become desired and a target. This is more the case in African nations. Every cure seems to have it's issues. But most of the day won't be wasted on water or wood. So someone has a lighter load.

I wish governments could do more to relocate people to an area that can receive infrastructure like water and heating source for cooking and education if they can't serve where they currently live.

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