Church of LDS Shines again
By Saghir Aslam
Pictures above and below: Relief operations in full swing at the Saba Trust
When the flood first hit different parts of Pakistan we lost no time in sending emails to our friends requesting them to help the flood victims. I received a phone call and emails from the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and soon after we received the first donation for the flood victims from them.
My relationship with the Church goes back over half a century. It started in my college days when I came to America in 1957 and met the very kind and caring Bishop Thompson. Since I was new in America, he made me feel at home, invited me to his home and shared with me different activities which I could be part of. Some of the contacts became very useful later in life and the relationship continued to blossom.
When I moved to Orange County I met other wonderful people such as Bishop Tom Thorkelson, Keith Atkinson and they helped not only me in my humanitarian efforts but the Muslim community: one year when we could not find a place to pray, it was Tom Thorkelson who came to the rescue of the Muslim community and made arrangements for us to pray at what is called the Hangar (army place).
With the cooperation of Shabir Mansuri, Keith Atkinson made special arrangements for our Muslim delegates to go and visit the Head Office in Salt Lake City and we had a memorable experience.
Throughout the years when catastrophes hit Pakistan, Jerry Flake, and after his retirement Nate Leishman, unfailingly provided in kind or cash donations for the victims of the crises.
Through Tom Thorkelson I met Dr. William Jackson who donated us eye surgery equipments, eye lenses, wheelchairs, books and other items worth more than a million dollars. Dr. William Jackson spent a week with me during the 2005 earthquake going from village to village and distributing the much needed blankets, food and supplies to the earthquake victims.
Thanks to the donation of Dr. William Jackson (Deseret Int) we have been able to perform million plus eye operations in Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
This year when the flood hit Pakistan, I talked to Mr Leishman. He duly showed his concern, was very compassionate and told me, “Brother Saghir, we will help you in whatever way we can.” It did not take him too long to do his research, work with the powers to be, and the funds were wired.
We thank Church of The Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the bottom of our heart for helping Pakistani people when they were in dire need and in crises.
(Saghir Aslam is the Chairman of the Saba Aslam Education & Welfare Trust)