A few years ago, a reporter asked what birthday gift members worldwide could give to me. I replied, “Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her.”
I was overwhelmed when I received hundreds of letters from members of the Church telling me how they had fulfilled that birthday wish.
One Primary sent a large jar containing hundreds of “warm fuzzies,” each one representing an act of service performed during the year by one of the children.
One small child wrote, “My grandpa had a stroke, and I held his hand.” From an 8-year-old girl: “My sister and I served my mom and family by organizing and cleaning the toy closet.”
An 11-year-old girl wrote: “There was a family in my ward that did not have a lot of money. The mom and dad had to go somewhere, so I offered to watch their three little girls. The dad was just about to hand me a $5 bill. I said, ‘I can’t take [it].’ My service was that I watched the girls for free.”
A child in Mongolia wrote that he brought in water from the well so his mother would not have to do so. From a 4-year-old boy: “My dad is gone for army training. My special job is to give my mom hugs and kisses.” Wrote a 9-year-old girl: “I picked strawberries for my great-grandma.” And another: “I played with a lonely kid.”
From an 11-year-old boy: “I went to a lady’s house and asked her questions and sang her a song. She was happy because she never gets visitors.”
My heart has seldom been as grateful as it was when Sister Monson and I spent hours reading of these gifts.
Recall with me the words of King Benjamin: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). We are surrounded by those in need of our kindness. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve His children.