As the tragic news of the Tornado that recently hit Oklahoma spread across the nation, hearts were wrenched. A desire to help those affected has touched the hearts of the children of the Morgan Utah Stake.
The stake primary presidency searched for a way to meaningfully help the primary children of the Oklahoma City Stake, where 20 members lost their homes and many others had great devastation. Stake Primary President Marilyn Bambrough, remembered a time when her children were young and they wrote cards to people who had been hit by a hurricane. As they discussed this, the idea evolved into sending a stuffed animal along with a note of comfort.
The children were asked to choose a small clean stuffed animal they would like to share with a child in Oklahoma. Many children chose a favorite toy to send to a child they will never meet. Making a sacrifice for another is part of the lesson the Stake Primary Presidency hoped the children would learn. It was an opportunity for the children to think outside of themselves and give to others.
This young group worked as collective individuals to make a difference, sending nearly 500 stuffed animals to primary children in Oklahoma City. The primary presidency was overjoyed at this response, saying that 500 was nearly the number of primary children in the Morgan stake.
“I knew what Morgan would do,” Sister Hardman said of the overflow of stuffed animal’s adorning her living room before they were shipped to Oklahoma. “We knew that their response would be wonderful.”
Sister Alisa Hardman, a member of the Morgan Stake Primary Presidency, knew the hearts of the children, yet she was still in awe at the generosity of the children.
The stuffed animals were only part of the project. The children were asked to attach a message of a time when they had been helped by their faith in Jesus Christ, or felt comforted by the Holy Ghost or any other message or testimony they would like to write. Each of these notes were personalized by the children including their first name, along with their ward and class name. They left a space for the recipient child’s name to be added to the card. The names couldn’t be provided to the Morgan, Utah stake from the Oklahoma City Stake because their records had been damaged.
These sweet messages longed to comfort and cheer those who had suffered. Some told of times of sadness in their own lives that they had overcome with faith. Others held messages about the special stuffed animal they were sending, and wishes the new owner would also enjoy it.
While Sister Bambrough expected to receive many animals, their thoughtfulness in writing surpassed her expectations. The project has proven to be a blessing in the lives of the children here in Morgan as they have been thoughtful, caring and giving. They were able to take action on principles they learn weekly at church and at home.
The children sincerely desired to bring comfort to those they identify as brothers and sisters far away.
“That was our hope, that we could bring them a little bit of hope.” Sister Bambrough said of the mission of this project.
The children of the Oklahoma City Stake were traumatized by the storm, the damage it caused, and the devastation of losing classmates at Plaza Towers Elementary. The members of the LDS church are used to a three hour block of meetings each Sunday, however for three weeks after the devastation the members in the affected area were only able to hold a 1 hour Sacrament Meeting. They lost their scriptures, records and many other items valued by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This stake showed great resilience, showing dedication to their faith by attending the meeting they could just days after the tornado.
The Morgan Stake Primary Presidency thanked the children of Morgan for opening their hearts, for their sacrifice and their prayers. “We Know they will be felt” the presidency declared.
By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.