Friday, March 2, 2012

Perpetual Education Fund Notes

The majority of the world does not realize what the church is doing for people world wide through various  education and humanitarian programs.

Elder Toreno,   While President Hinckley was visiting in Venezuela, Elder Tereno was assigned to be his driver.  During the four hour trip, President Hinkley shared with him  his vision of PEF. “We need a Perpetual Education Fund to help lift people out of their poverty.  We will utilize our existing organizations.  This program will succeed because it will be priesthood based.  Loans will be repaid.”  Subsequently, he   announced the PEF program on March 31, 2001 in general Priesthood Meeting.

Tom Ruckert, Director of Field Operations/Technology is responsible for PEF in Africa.  He recalled an early interview between President Hinckley and some Los Angelos reporters.  "So you are a prophet?  Have you  received any revelation lately?"  "Yes," he answered.  Then described the Perpetual Education Fund.

John Carmark, Director of P.E.F. had a call from President Hinckley just before he qualified to become Emeritus.  What are your plans?   Presidently Hinckley then reviewed the history of  the old Perpetual Emigrating Fund which was established in 1850 to bring immigrants to Zion.  “We need to build the church in distant lands.  We will establish a fund like the old one.  “I’ll be the chairman of the Board.”  He then named the other board members.  Will you head up the program?  “Yes,” replied Elder Carmark.  “Good!  Then I’ll see you at conference.”
(Note: According to Kai Hintze, financial department, most emigrants who received funds from the Perpetual Emigrating Fund repaid their loans in kind , by produce or by working for the church.)

Richard Cook, current managing director of PEF, has a background in international finance.  Cook  retired from Ford Motor Company and moved here from Detroit in 1995.  He and his wife bought a house in Park City.  Then decided to go on a mission.  He was willing to go anywhere he could take his golf clubs ands tennis racket.  They were called to Mongolia; a country with no golf courses nor tennis courts.  The government there asked church officials for help in setting up special education programs. Mary Cook had worked in special education.  Cook asked, "What am I supposed to do?"  “You will find your way," he was told.  Elder Cook has been volunteering for the past seventeen years.

  “When I served in Hong Kong, the president of the Indonesian mission, Elder Sabondro, called. “I have a request President.  Only send me blue collar missionaries. Senior missionaries who are ready and willing to work.  Don’t send people who will complain about their apartments, personal comfort, or whine about their situation.”

Rex Allen, as a young elder was served in Brazil. President Hinckley came for a visit.  He called him over saying, “Walk with me.”  Allen obliged.  As they walked President Hinckley said, “I just don’t know!  I just don’t know.  Then turning to Elder Allen he said, “You just don’t know what I don’t know.  I’ve been telling them the temple Visitors Center in San Paulo should be bigger.  I keep saying that but they don’t change the plans. You may go now Elder.”  Later the Visitors Center was enlarged because it was  not big enough.

Church membership in the U.S. today is 6.5 million. There are 7.5 million in the rest of the world.  Future projections put church membership in the U.S. at 20 million.  There will be 80 million members in the rest of the world.  We need those members to be self sustaining.  We need them to be leaders.  The best loan                                                               
is no loan but if members need funds to get a better job.  They can apply for a PEF loan.  PDF is administered through seminary and institutes, employment services and other existing organizations.  Also with the help of many volunteers including senior missionaries. India has just been approved to offer PEF loans.  PEF has succeeded.  “We have never had to turn down an application because of lack of funds.”

Lloyd Hansen directs PEF Operations.  After returning from a mission in Peru,  Loyd and Janette Hansen volunteered for a second mission.  They were assigned to PEF in Johannesberg, South Africa.  Hansen is a long distance runner.  He enjoyed running with brother Khumbalani, our CES director, who has a Ph.D from the University of Johannesberg.  They ran together every Saturday and discussed PEF.  They run together when Khumbalani come to general conference.   Capetown sponsors a number of running events including a 60 kilometer run. The purpose of PEF is to provide local, viable jobs that match the abilities of the students in their own localities.  President Oaks was told in the Phillipines that despite a high rate of unemployment there are enough jobs for our members if they have the right training.  Our goal is to get better work and higher paying jobs.  This will build leaders.  PEF at church headquarters has five paid staff and ten PEF volunteers.

Brother and Sister Bell, CSI Coordinators,  serve in the Mission Department screening senior applicants.  Missionary applications are perused by seventeen different departments in an effort to fit needs world wide.  Applications go first to a team of doctors who rate the couples based on the condition of their health.  The Bells said it was interesting reading the comments from various applicants.  Comments from a Wyoming rancher caused them to smile. He submitted their missionary photo with the husband wearing a cowboy hat.   In the comment section he wrote: “I love my cattle, I love my guns, I love my pickup truck and I will go anywhere I can take my saddle.”

This couple were called to labor on a cattle ranch in California which belonged to the church. While in the Missionary Training Center the husband exhibited great enthusiasm and excitement.  When asked why he replied, “When we get there it will be calfing season!”  The Lord knows his children.  There is a place for every senior couple who are ready, willing and able to serve.

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