“We Are His Hands” Exhibit Highlights Children’s Acts of Service Worldwide

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • 30 September 2015

Whether it was being kind to their sibling, helping with a chore around the house, or gathering canned goods for a food bank, more than 25,000 Primary children have shared how they responded to the challenge “be the Savior's hands” by giving service.  Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • More than 25,000 Primary children have shared how they responded to the challenge to “be the Savior’s hands” by giving service this year.
  • An exhibit titled “We Are His Hands” in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building shows how combining those simple efforts can make a big difference in families, neighborhoods, and communities around the world.

“We really do change the world one kindness at a time.” —Jan Pinborough, managing editor of the Friend

Whether it was being kind to their sibling, helping with a chore around the house, or gathering canned goods for a food bank, more than 25,000 Primary children have shared how they responded to the challenge to “be the Savior’s hands” by giving service this year.

What started as a simple invitation to follow the counsel of President Thomas S. Monson when he said, “We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth,” has turned into a combined grand effort of Primary children around the world performing acts of service—large and small.

Beginning in January, the Friend and Liahona magazines invited children to find ways to give service and then report what they did by tracing their hand—in addition to writing the service they performed—on a piece of paper. Thousands of children responded and sent their “hands” to the magazines.

On September 25 an exhibit of paper hands titled “We Are His Hands” opened in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The exhibit, located in the southeast corner of the lobby, shows colorful paper hands hanging on ribbon from the balcony while an exhibit wall showcases a few of the children who participated.

“I visit my sick papa every day,” wrote one child. Another said, “I helped feed the animals without being asked.”

Although one hand—or simple act of service—on its own may seem small, the exhibit is meant to show how combining those simple efforts can make a big difference in families, neighborhoods, and communities around the world. The exhibit even points out that if the hands submitted were placed next to each other, end to end, they would reach the same height as 56 Salt Lake Temples.

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Paper hands representing service from children all over the world are displayed at an exhibit in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

“It’s not even really about the numbers,” said Jan Pinborough, managing editor of the Friend. “Each one of those is so touching. … I hope [visitors] realize not only what children can do but what they can do. We really do change the world one kindness at a time.”

Another inspiration for the campaign comes from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s conference address entitled “You Are My Hands,” where he shared the story of a statue of Jesus Christ that was damaged in World War II. The hands of the statue of Christ had been damaged and were unable to be repaired. In response, a sign was added to the base of the statue stating, “You are my hands.”

This exhibit shows ways children are doing just that—acting as “His hands” through service.

Paper hands representing service from children all over the world are displayed at an exhibit in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

“My daddy just deployed so I am trying to help my mom a lot,” Kameron Hassell wrote on his paper hand. “I play with my baby brother when he cries and help my sister feel better when they get hurt. I took the trash out at night and it was scary but Heavenly Father helped me. I let my sister sleep in my bed when she is scared.”

Caroline Davis writes on a paper hand as she and her family look at a new exhibit of paper hands representing service from children all over the world at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Patrons visiting the exhibit are still able to fill out and submit a colorful hand to contribute to the campaign. The exhibit is now open and will run until October 9.

Paper hands representing service from children all over the world are displayed at an exhibit in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Paper hands representing service from children all over the world are displayed at an exhibit in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Annie, Caroline, and Elizabeth Davis work to cut out paper hands as their family visits an exhibit of paper hands representing service from children all over the world displayed at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Julie Davis helps her daughter Elizabeth cut out a paper hand as they visit an exhibit of paper hands representing service from children all over the world displayed in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

K'Lyn Thomas, with her son Jett, helps Elizabeth Davis add her paper hand to the collection as part of a new exhibit at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City that shows paper hands representing service from children all over the world. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Kara Gehring, Jessica Chavez Thompson, and Allison Miles of Omaha, Nebraska, look at paper hands representing service from children all over the world that are displayed at an exhibit in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City through October 9. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Tegan Johnson of Omaha, Nebraska, reads comments written on paper hands representing service from children all over the world that are displayed in an exhibit that runs through October 9, 2015, at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.