Thousands Honor the Birth of Christ Through Unique Acts of Service

Thousands Honor the Birth of Christ Through Unique Acts of Service

The Light the World initiative encourages people to follow Christ’s example

News Release

In its second year, the Light the World campaign has inspired countless people around the world to help others this holiday season. The initiative, sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is based on the scripture in the Holy Bible, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). The purpose is to draw individuals and groups closer to Christ by serving as He served.

 

The 25 ways, 25 days service calendar has a new scripture every day meant for helping people reflect upon the different ways they can serve. Users have been sharing what they do on social media, using the hashtag #LightTheWorld.

Gary L. Crittenden, managing director of the Missionary Department, said, “We’re receiving inspiring reports from around the world that show involvement in the Light the World initiative, from youth groups in Colombia cleaning beaches, to lines of people waiting to contribute to the vending machines in Salt Lake City, to Primary children in Germany preparing and giving gifts to children in need. We’re so thrilled with the thousands of acts of Christ-centered service being offered around the world as we celebrate and remember the greatest gift ever given to the world, the birth of Jesus Christ.”

Adults, youth and even young children found ways that they could light the world, from large-scale group efforts to individual acts of selflessness.

In Ghana, members gathered with pastors from other churches, tribal leaders, government leaders and the mayor of Kumasi for a Christmas Choral Evening. Church and local choirs sang traditional hymns and African melodies.

Latter-day Saints in Fiji donated gifts to two children’s homes. The homes support the Church’s humanitarian, self-reliance and education efforts. Christine Volavola, who represented the service center, said, "It's a great feeling when we try to emulate our Savior! It feels sweeter when you give selflessly from your heart. That is what we are here to do — to be examples of our Savior, Jesus Christ."

Instead of gifts, 22-year-old Nemani Tuitubou in Fiji donated blood at a local hospital. He also used the time to share his feelings about Christ with the workers. "The attendant was curious about the program, so I showed her how she could download the #LightTheWorld site onto her phone," he said.

In Samoa, members took “Light the World” literally and installed a giant Christmas light display at a local government building. Members worked through the night to install the lights for the community lighting celebration.

In Colombia, dressed in the yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests, more than 100 youth cleaned up trash from local beaches.

In Germany, youth put together bags of baby supplies for refugees. They spent months gathering donated socks, toys and diapers.

In Australia, youth put together backpacks filled with basic necessities to give to the homeless. They came up with the idea, raised money throughout the year to purchase the items needed, then assembled the care packs and distributed them in December. “It was a sobering but also an uplifting experience for the youth and leaders alike as we presented the care backpacks to the less fortunate," said Chris Foster, bishop of the congregation.

Missionaries in Virginia set up a booth at a local shopping center and gave away free hot chocolate. They asked passersby “What does Christmas mean to you?” and “What gift will you give the Savior this Christmas?” They made a video highlighting some of the responses. In the video, Elder Jones said, “This season we’re giving back to the Savior by handing out hot chocolate and spreading the word of the gospel.”

In New York City on December 12, the Piano Guys held a concert streamed live on YouTube to bring awareness to the campaign. Other guests included David Archuleta, Peter Hollens, Nathan Pacheco, Dave and Claire Crosby, Tiffany Alvord, Taylor Davis and Lexi Walker.

One of the most unique components of the campaign is the first-ever service vending machines located on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Instead of purchasing items for yourself, do-gooders can donate money that will go to things like life-saving medicine, socks, clean water, eyeglasses, baby pacifiers and even goats and chickens. To date, there have been 23,899 transactions made with the vending machines, totaling $469,085 in donations.

The Church is using three videos to inspire participants to serve others. So far, these videos have totaled more than a combined 43.4 million views.

The Missionary Department of the Church sponsors the #LightTheWorld initiative and is pleased with the worldwide participation. They hope the campaign helps all participants to have a more meaningful Christmas because of the hundreds of thousands of simple acts of service.

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