Giving help to the world

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By Kirsten Laskey

When it comes to humanitarian work, there is never a lapse on things to do. Jean and John Lyman know this first hand; whether it is helping out rice farmers in Cambodia or volunteering at the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church in England, the Lymans have traveled the globe to offer their services.

Recently, the Lymans returned from a three-month service project in South Africa. They worked in the Africa Area Offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Johannesburg providing assistance in the administration of the Perpetual Education Fund.  In 2001, the Church established the Perpetual Education Fund to help young men and women living in areas under very difficult circumstances get a good education and become self-reliant.

While in South Africa they also participated in some humanitarian work of the Church and evaluated the effectiveness of specific humanitarian projects in Cape Town.  Immediately upon their return to the U.S., Jean was invited to participate in a conference at Brigham Young University on economic self-reliance, humanitarian work and sustainability. She has also been invited to participate in developing programs for possible use in future humanitarian projects.  

Jean said they have enjoyed being active in humanitarian work. “First of all (you) get to know people in different countries and understand their culture and traditions and how that influences their current situations,” she said. “And then to help them figure out sustainable ways that they can help themselves and their families.”

She added,  “(It’s) a meaningful way to spend retirement time … giving something back to the people of the world.”

An opportunity to learn more about the Lymans’ work will be presented at 7 p.m. today. The Lymans will present a fireside in the White Rock meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 366 Grand Canyon. They will present information about the Perpetual Education Fund as it is operating today in Africa. Also, they will show pictures of humanitarian work and scenic landscapes found in South Africa. The community is invited to participate. Refreshments will be served.

Jean said she hopes people will walk away from the presentation with “a better idea of the humanitarian work of the Mormon Church in the developing world. (I) also hope people will be motivated to do humanitarian work in areas where they are able – in their own countries and other countries because there is plenty to do everywhere.

“There’s so much good that can be done in every part of the world and I hope people will be creative in using their own interests and talents in making a difference wherever they can.”