Missionary’s Call For Unity Results In Global Community Of More Than 500K
Oct 1, 2020, 7:59 PM | Updated: Oct 2, 2020, 5:05 am
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The call for a global day of fasting and prayer over the coronavirus pandemic prompted a young Utah County man to create a Facebook group that quickly gained hundreds of thousands of members.
It started April 4, and within a week, more than half a million people had joined. He told KSL-TV he never thought it would get so popular.
Over and over, we’ve seen how a good, small idea can turn into an inspiring way to make a big difference.
Jaden Taylor was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he heard President Russel M. Nelson issue a call for a Global Day of fasting and Prayer during the April 2020 General Conference.
“Let us fast, pray and unite our faith once again,” President Nelson said. “Let us prayerfully plead for relief from this global pandemic.”
“I thought to myself, I should do something to help.” Guided by a calling to connect people through prayer & provide a platform for faith during trying times, a community of strangers unites in prayer.
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) October 1, 2020
Taylor wanted to let others know about the day of fasting, as well.
“That’s what prompted me to go to Facebook, make a group and invite 300 or so of my friends,” he said.
Taylor thought big, creating the Worldwide Unified Facebook group, but he never thought it anticipated it would get so much traction.
“It had gained 32,000 members overnight, so I was like, ‘Ooh, kind of scary,’” he said.
Within a week, more than 500,000 people from 32 different religions, 99 countries and 64 different languages had joined the group.
“When I read the mission of this group, I wanted to be part of this,” said Alexander Solis La Torre.
He became an administrator of the group.
“I never saw anything like that on social media, people come to pray and fast together, no matter their religious affiliation, no matter their religious background.,” he said.
With the group’s popularity and vast audience came struggles.
“There’s a lot of cuss words going on, bashing against each other, and just really inappropriate posts,” Taylor said.
He and a team of other volunteers went to work to clean up the site, and make sure all the posts were positive and appropriate.
“I knew that he was going to need some help, and I wanted to help,” said Solis La Torre.
The group soon became a trusted place where people go to ask for prayers and to offer support.
“I felt lifted by those prayers, and knowing that people were praying for us – for William, specifically,” said group member Emily Neilson.
The virtual community continues to see the benefits of uniting together for a common purpose.
“I have seen so many miracles happening all over the globe, just because people are coming together to pray and fast for each other,” said Solis La Torre.
During the weekend’s General Conference special programming from KSL -TV, we’ll share some of the stories of faith and hope that have come out of this community of strangers.
“United In Prayer” airs Saturday at 1:30 p.m., between conference sessions.