One Latter-day Saint apostle has first-hand experience with the plight of Ukrainian refugees.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was only 4 years old when his father was drafted into the German army and his mother decided to move their family out of Czechoslovakia in search of safety.
They were forced to move again seven years later. The church leader can still remember the feeling of fear and hunger. “It is not something one easily forgets,” he wrote.
Elder Uchtdorf reflected on his experience as a refugee in Europe during World War II in a March 30 Facebook post.
“I am absolutely heartbroken to see the terrible and frightening conditions among so many of those who are seeking refuge from war and violence. I can’t help but be reminded of my experience as a refugee in Europe during World War II,” he wrote. “While I pray for all of those who have been forced out of their homes in search of peace in other nations — I especially pray for the children.”
Elder Uchtdorf talked about his refugee experience in greater detail on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 2014. He keeps a piece of the Berlin Wall in his office, the Deseret News reported.
In his Facebook post, Elder Uchtdorf encouraged people to find healing and peace through Jesus Christ and urged everyone to find an opportunity to help others.
“Please find an opportunity to help those in need — even if all you can do is pray and fast in behalf of those who struggle,” he wrote. “Small acts of kindness mean everything to those who have lost so much.”
Why the Church of Jesus Christ donated $4 million more
Elder Uchtdorf’s social media post comes less than a week after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated an additional $4 million to humanitarian efforts in Europe.
The church first made a similar contribution on March 14.
The latest $4 million donation will support seven projects:
- Food for food hubs in Europe. The food will be picked up and delivered to those in need within Ukraine.
- Project HOPE’s efforts to provide refugees with first aid, medication, hygiene supplies, infant care kits, shelter and trauma counseling.
- International Medical Corps’ work to provide refugees in Poland with medication, medical equipment and personal protective gear.
- Food for the Estonian Food Bank to feed 17,500 refugees for one month.
- Underwear and other clothing for 30,000 women and children at the Polish border, distributed via the Przemysl Municipality.
- The Association of Neonatologists of Ukraine’s efforts to provide antibiotics for infants in Ukraine. Some newborns are suffering from fungal lung disease because they are being born in hospital basements. These antibiotics will be administered through established clinics within the country.
- Jesuit Refugee Service’s work to provide shelter, transportation, food, water, medical care and psychological support for children and the elderly in Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia.
The church and its members have also been engaged in various refugee and humanitarian projects throughout Europe.
Learn how you can donate to the church’s humanitarian efforts at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.