Small & Simple Things

Small and Simple Things

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“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).

Church History around the World


When Max Richard Zapf emigrated from Germany to Brazil in 1913, he had been a member for five years and became the first known Church member in Brazil. After a Brazilian family requested materials from Church headquarters, the mission president of the South American Mission visited Brazil in 1927 and sent missionaries in 1928. The first mission was created in São Paulo in 1935, and by 1939 the Book of Mormon had been published in Portuguese.

The first temple in South America was dedicated in São Paulo in 1978, shortly after the revelation on the priesthood extended the priesthood to all worthy males. The Church’s second-largest missionary training center, located in São Paulo, was dedicated in 1997.

Brazil was the third country (following the United States and Mexico) to reach one million members.

The Church in Brazil







Wards and Branches



7, including the Manaus and Fortaleza Brazil Temples, currently announced or under construction

Why Sing?

Singing hymns can invite the Spirit into our Church meetings, our homes, and our everyday lives. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871–1961) of the First Presidency taught, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.” 1

The Church has provided a website for accessing the hymns (available in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish). includes instructions for leading music and for playing hymns using keyboards and also suggestions for choosing appropriate hymns for sacrament meeting.

Music and lyrics can be read, downloaded, or played directly on the website, which could be especially useful for members who do not have a piano or keyboard.

Music can be used at home as well as at church. The First Presidency has counseled: “Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in [family] home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together.” 2 Hymns can bring a spirit of love and unity into the home.


  •   1.

    J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 111.

  •   2.

    Hymns, x.

  • Strengthened by a Hymn

    Khetiwe Ratsoma, South Africa

    I decided to compete in a marathon with work colleagues in Western Cape, South Africa. I trained and worked very hard in preparation for the race.

    On the day of the race, I woke up, read my scriptures, and prayed. I was nervous, but I also felt that I needed to trust in the Lord. I knew that if I did, He would provide sustenance and support.

    We were required to walk or run 40 kilometers (25 miles). We started at 8:00 a.m. The weather was cool and slightly rainy, so at first I enjoyed the walk and was doing well. But when I was about 10 kilometers from the finish line, the race became very hard for me. I had muscle pulls in one leg, and I had some blisters. I wanted to quit. Then I began singing a hymn:

    Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
    For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
    I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, …
    Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

    (“How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, no. 85)

    Over and over the words of the hymn flooded my mind and lifted my feet, and I finished the race in the strength of the Lord’s hymn.

    This experience taught me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is about endurance. It is like walking or running in a race. We get tired sometimes, rest, and walk again. Heavenly Father does not give up on us no matter how many times we fall; to Him what counts is how many times we stand up and walk again. His gospel is about finishing the race.

    In the Words of Church Leaders

    Care for the Poor

    Elder D. Todd Christofferson

    “Throughout history, the Lord has measured societies and individuals by how well they cared for the poor. He has said:

    “‘For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

    “‘Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment’ (D&C 104:17–18; see also D&C 56:16–17).

    “Furthermore, He declares, ‘In your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld’ (D&C 70:14; see also D&C 49:20; 78:5–7).

    “We control the disposition of our means and resources, but we account to God for this stewardship over earthly things. It is gratifying to witness your generosity as you contribute to fast offerings and humanitarian projects. Over the years, the suffering of millions has been alleviated, and countless others have been enabled to help themselves through the generosity of the Saints. Nevertheless, as we pursue the cause of Zion, each of us should prayerfully consider whether we are doing what we should and all that we should in the Lord’s eyes with respect to the poor and the needy.”

    Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Come to Zion,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2008, 39.

    Milestones in Church Welfare Services

    The humanitarian outreach program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strives to improve the lives of those in need by providing food, clean water, vision care, wheelchairs, immunizations, and emergency response. From simple beginnings, the program has expanded through the years to help millions throughout the world.

    Late 1920s: Welfare farms are established. Harvests are stored in storehouses.

    1932: First cannery is established.

    1936: General Church Welfare Committee is formed. Fourteen welfare regions are created to manage welfare activities around the world.

    1936: First official employment center is established.

    1936–40: Production projects begin, including a sawmill, a tannery, a pasta plant, salmon canning, peanut butter canning, soap production, and milk bottling.

    1937: First regional storehouse is erected in Salt Lake City.

    1938: Construction begins on Welfare Square, including a grain elevator and a central storehouse.

    1938: The first Deseret Industries thrift store opens in Salt Lake City.

    1940: Construction on Welfare Square is completed.

    1945: Church ships large amounts of food, clothing, and other supplies to struggling members in Europe at the end of World War II.

    1960: New cannery and milk processing plant is completed at Welfare Square.

    1970s: Church expands welfare projects and production to Mexico, England, and the Pacific islands.

    1973: LDS Social Services (now LDS Family Services) is created as an official Church corporation.

    1976: Church begins expansion of storehouses into all parts of Canada and the United States. Expansions of canneries and production facilities are also announced.

    1982: U.S. president Ronald Reagan visits Welfare Square.

    1985: Church begins to provide clean water wells in Africa, marking the beginning of a worldwide expansion of Church humanitarian efforts.

    1990s: Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center is established to sort surplus clothing and other goods, including medical supplies, for shipment throughout the world in response to poverty and disasters.

    2002: LDS Charities begins wheelchair, clean water, and neonatal resuscitation initiatives.

    2003: LDS Charities joins worldwide measles initiative and commits one million U.S. dollars each year in support of the campaign. Also, a worldwide vision treatment initiative begins.

    2010: LDS Charities starts a food initiative to increase food production and nutrition in some of the poorest nations of the world. Ground is broken for a new 600,000-square-foot (56,000 m2) Bishop’s Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City.

    Photograph of São Paulo Brazil Temple by Matthew Reier; The Good Samaritan, by Joseph Brickey

    Far left (from top): three photographs courtesy of Church Welfare Department; photograph by Welden C. Andersen; left (from top): photograph by Gerry Avant, Deseret News; photograph by Howard M. Collett; photograph © Rosa Pena