I Was a Stranger Initiative

i-was-stranger-websiteAt Saturday’s General Women’s Session of conference, the general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary invited women of all ages to help refugees in their local communities through a relief effort entitled “I Was a Stranger.”

children-refugeeSister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, asked Latter-day Saint women to “prayerfully determine what you can do according to your own time and circumstances—to serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities.”

“This is an opportunity to serve one-on-one, in families and by organizations to offer friendship, mentoring and other Christlike service and is one of many ways sisters can serve.”

This message was echoed by the other speakers and short video clips presented during the women’s session.

To help members think of ways they can help, the Church has published information at IWasAStranger.lds.org. Letters were sent to ward and stake leaders from the First Presidency and the general auxiliary presidents. Guidelines for leaders have also been published on the website.

The website is available in Chinese (我作客旅.lds.org), English (IWasAStranger.lds.org), French (j’étaisétranger.lds.org), German (IchWarFremd.lds.org), Italian (fuiforestiere.lds.org), Japanese (IWasAStranger.lds.org/jpn), Korean (IWasAStranger.lds.org/kor), Portuguese (EraEstrangeiro.lds.org), Russian (БылСтранником.lds.org), and Spanish (FuiForastero.lds.org).

When sharing ideas about serving one-on-one to offer friendship, mentoring, and Christ-like service, please use the hashtag #IWasAStranger.

Watch Sister Burton’s address “I Was a Stranger.”

Learn more in the Church News articles “Sister Burton: ‘I Was a Stranger’” and “40 Ways to Help Refugees.”

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Brad March 30, 2016, 3:37 pm

    Some of the links to the various language versions aren’t working for me. For example, the Japanese and the Russian ones aren’t working for me. Do they work for you?

  • Larry Richman March 31, 2016, 7:05 am


    Yes, a few of the languages aren’t quite completed yet, but will be very soon, so I provided the link anyway. Check back in a day and they should be published.

  • Donna M Kunz April 6, 2016, 8:39 pm

    I would like to donate small stuffed bears (100) and hundreds of books for young children but don’t know where to go. I could bring them to SLC in June.

  • Shari Bowers April 19, 2016, 11:29 am

    I am looking for a way that a group of teenagers can provide service. I have gone from one LDS site to another and cannot find any information that is specific enough for me to use. I am finding that all the sources I have seen are way too vague.

    • Valerie Lee August 7, 2016, 8:03 pm

      First it depends on where you live. Each state will have a couple agencies that actually bring in the refugee families and several support agencies. I have seen groups of teenagers help at donation sorting sights in SLC. Try to google “your state” refugees. I know that the International Refugee Center has a place on their website for states to put local information.

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