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I was a stranger

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”   Matthew 25:35-36

The Savior's Invitation to Make a Difference

In a world of constant change and commotion, we may often feel like strangers. All around us we hear of distress, tragedy, and hardship. We live in a time of uncertainty and unrest. Many around us live in fear of an unknown future. What can our role as women be in the last days to prepare the earth for the coming of Christ? What can we do to reach out, to love, to nurture, and to minister as He has invited us to do?

We each have the invitation as women and young women to open our eyes and our hearts to see those among us who may feel alone, afraid, or uncertain so that we are no longer strangers  (see Matthew 25:35–36; Ephesians 2:19). We are invited to share our love, our confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, and our hands to strengthen others and love them as the Savior would have us do. This is not a program; it is who we are.

With our divine nature as women, we can be a light in a darkening world. We can give hope, love, and care to those around us. We are not asked to “run faster than [we have] strength” (Mosiah 4:27). Although we can work together, we are not asked to organize large efforts. Instead we are each asked to seek personal revelation about whom the Lord would have us strengthen and love as individuals and as families. The Savior invites us to participate in a personal ministry of love and to remember His words: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these . . . , ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). 

The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity's name.
(“As Sisters in Zion,” Hymns, no. 309)

“One of the fundamental principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is to ‘impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, . . . administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants’ (Mosiah 4:26). . . .

“. . . ‘I Was a Stranger’ gives sisters a way to serve as individuals, in families, and in organizations and to offer friendship, mentoring, and other Christlike service to the refugees in our midst. . . .

“Sisters may participate in this effort when time and circumstances allow, making sure that no one is expected to ‘run faster than [she] has strength’ and that all ‘things are done in wisdom and order’ (Mosiah 4:27).”

Read the full letter from the First Presidency.

Additional Resources

Thomas S. Monson, “Love—the Essence of the Gospel,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 91-94

Henry B. Eyring, “The Caregiver,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 121-24

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Are My Hands,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 68-75

“The relief effort ‘I Was a Stranger’ focuses on serving refugees in our local neighborhoods and communities. It is just one of many ways women, young women, and girls in Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary can lift and bless those in need (see Matthew 25:35; Leviticus 19:34).”

Read the full letter from the general auxiliary presidents.

Additional Resources

Linda K. Burton, “I Was a Stranger,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016

Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 119-21

Rosemary M. Wixom, “Discovering the Divinity Within,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 6-8

Local Leader Guidelines

Church Announcement of Refugee Support

As you prayerfully seek the guidance of the Spirit, you will be guided to opportunities to serve according to your individual and family circumstances.

Look around your neighborhood, school, workplace, and other places you visit often for those who might need your help and your love. Opportunities to effectively assist refugees are also often available in local civic, community, or church organizations.

As you discover ways to make a difference in your area, share them with the general auxiliary presidencies so they might share them with other sisters.

Share My Experience (via email or social media) 

Where can I find ideas?

Read stories of service

Ministering “One by One”

“We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness. . . . We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.”

Thomas S. Monson, “What Have I Done for Someone Today?Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 86

Share My Experience (via Email)

Where Can I Find Ideas?

Read stories of service

Refuge from the Storm Tens of millions of people have been displaced from their homes due to conflict and famine—half of these individuals are children. Elder Patrick Kearon speaks about the Savior’s experience as a refugee, and how we can follow His example to be models of love and compassion refugees and strangers among us.
Scout Troop Learns that Helping Refugees is as Easy as Riding a Bike For refugees new to the United States, transportation can be a huge obstacle. Not having been taught to drive and not having access to a car, they are often left on their own to figure out how to use public transportation. On top of that, they may not speak much if any English. Seeing the need, a local Boy Scout troop teamed up with the International Rescue Committee to build bikes for refugees in need of better transportation.
Refugee Baby Shower: Giving One Family a New Start When relief society president Sylva Christenson and her counselors heard how anxious their relief society was to heed the call they decided to put together a relief society baby shower for a new refugee mother.
Work Together and Celebrate Success For young refugees, attending a new school and learning a new language is overwhelming. But no matter how isolated they might feel in their new, foreign surroundings, they are never alone. People are ready to help—and you could be one of them.
Be a Sincere Friend Fatou, a refugee from Ivory Coast, and Toni share a love for cross-country running and develop a friendship far beyond the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Invite a Refugee to Dinner Milan and her daughters are refugees from Bhutan. Michelle and her family meet them and invite them over to cook dinner together and learn about each other’s culture.
When We Were Strangers When Latter-Day Saints were forced to flee from Missouri, USA, in 1839, the citizens of Quincy, Illinois, offered refuge, as reflected in the writings and experiences of Elizabeth Haven Barlow.
I Was A Stranger: Love One Another When one woman helped a young refugee from the Ivory Coast, her service created a friendship that blessed them both.

Getting Involved

Wondering how to get involved? These resources can help you and your family find opportunities to lift and serve within your community.

Five Ways to Get Started:

  • Get informed about the needs in your community
  • Volunteer with an organization you admire
  • Make a new friend
  • Do something you enjoy with someone new
  • Invite someone to your family night

Seven Challenges Refugees Face:

  • Learning a new language
  • Building a new support network of friends
  • Understanding different cultural customs and practices
  • Providing the appropriate academic support for their children
  • Accessing basic services, such as medical care
  • Finding transportation
  • Securing employment

Want more ideas?

Read Stories of Service

Local Organizations That Might Need Volunteers:

  • Government resettlement agencies
  • Schools
  • Religious places of worship
  • Interfaith groups
  • Low-income health clinics
  • Local nonprofits
  • Community centers

In the United States, members can find local service opportunities at or to learn about opportunities to serve refugees in their communities. Outside the United States, leaders can contact their area welfare manager for help in identifying trusted organizations in their area.

Five Questions to Ask When Identifying Potential Organizations:

  • Whom do you help?
  • How are you helping them?
  • What needs would you like to address but aren’t able to?
  • Beyond financial contributions, how can I help?
  • How do the services you offer help people to eventually meet their own needs?

LDS Charities is the humanitarian arm of the Church. In 2015, LDS Charities completed 2,300 projects in 136 countries that provided aid with disaster relief, clean water and sanitation, wheelchairs, maternal and newborn care, immunization campaigns, vision care, and family gardening.

Learn more about the Church’s global humanitarian work.

Did you know that in addition to supporting local organizations, the Church partners with global relief organizations that assist refugees, such as:

See What Others Are Doing