News Release

Latter-day Saints in Europe Receive Blessings Through Blessing Others

Refugee relief efforts in Czech Republic, France, Germany, Moldova, Poland and Slovakia

The refugee crisis has captured the hearts of most Europeans, including members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many are busy serving others in countries throughout Europe. Church members and friends feel deeply for the plight of displaced Ukrainians and are actively finding ways to help. This selfless effort is often rewarded by strong feelings of humility, purpose, and satisfaction. In this way, both the served and those who serve are blessed. 


Twenty women from Church congregations in Frankfurt and Friedrichsdorf helped Ukrainian refugees on March 19th to celebrate the 180th birthday of the Relief Society, the Church’s world-wide women’s service organization. They used the Church’s community service connection platform, JustServe, to arrange to paint furniture at a Caritas homeless refugee center in Frankfurt. A Ukrainian mother and her family were on vacation in the Dominican Republic when the conflict began. They were marooned without documents and with only holiday clothes, now finding themselves at the shelter in Frankfurt. She was deeply moved as she helped volunteers, who shared her plight, paint unused furniture. Together they painted the furniture in cheerful colours and designs, and it is used now for outdoor seating by guests of the Centre.


In cooperation with other religious organizations in Moldova, the Church, is providing food for refugees. Moldova Christian Aid Society offers hot meals at three border crossings between Ukraine and Moldova and has reached out to other religious groups for help with displaced refugees. Volunteers from all over Moldova prepare hot meals in the early morning which then are taken to the border crossings by noon.  The meals consist of meat, potatoes, rice, and vegetables. Volunteers also provide water, fruit, and bread. Families crossing on foot can find hot meals waiting for them. Even the border guards get involved and help deliver meals to refugees while vehicles are waiting in lines to cross the border.


Christina and David Foote, full-time volunteers for the Church, report “People are arriving in Krakow, Poland after three or four days on the road. They are mostly mothers with young children, often with grandparents, weary of travel and carrying belongings in shopping bags or heavy rucksacks.” Clearly, refugees have found rolling suitcases to be a godsend. One mother shared “My children, my parents and I had been travelling for days, each with two rucksacks. So, when the missionaries offered me rolling suitcases, a tear came to my eye. I knew I was safe.”

David adds, “Usually, we come into the train station with four suitcases per team member, so up to twenty at a time. We then search around the station looking for people who need them – they are all dispersed in less than ten minutes. Then we go back for more suitcases – one day we gave away at least sixty.” Christina comments “This work is exhausting, physically and emotionally. But when we tell them that people all over the world are praying for them, you can see the light come into their eyes with renewed hope. We can see we have lightened someone else’s burden, and perhaps even helped answer a prayer. It is all so worthwhile.”


Maryna and her two young children found a fresh start in Mulhouse, France after they fled the violence in Ukraine. Their story began with transport delays, heavy backpacks, waiting at the border, and finally, a train west. In France, members of the Mulhouse church congregation provided Maryna’s family with food, lodging, clothing, and friendship. Christophe Mortier, a Church leader, together with relief agency APPUIS, only needed one week to secure new French documents. For the next three years, the documents provide the right to protection by the state, medical and financial support, and the opportunity to work. Once the children enrolled in school with skilled teachers and new friends, the family could breathe easier, and start thinking about the future.


Slovak Church members are actively helping refugees crossing the border in the eastern part of the country. They provide new arrivals with short-term or long-term accommodation, help with transport, and offer food and basic necessities. They also assist refugees with legalities, general orientation, and resources. Thanks to the collective help of the government and community aid, the refugees are well provided for. Slovak Church members welcome their incoming brothers and sisters with open arms to Sunday meetings and other activities. The Church is also active in numerous humanitarian projects in cooperation with other organizations.

Czech Republic

Local Church members in Liberec, Czech Republic, have been active in multiple projects launched simultaneously to help member refugee families arriving in the city. Some local members offered housing. Other members and refugees combined efforts to convert the little-used upper floor of their rented chapel space for occupancy. In yet another project, local members joined with the Greek Catholic and Evangelical churches to launch a maternity centre and nursery for Ukrainian mothers and children. "The programme and daily care for the children are provided by Ukrainian members of our congregation." said Bohdana Hanzalová, a Czech member from Liberec. “Here, mothers of all faiths will also be able to handle administrative tasks, make friends with the other mothers, or search for employment.”. For a more in-depth article, in Czech, click here.

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