Written by Kaitlyn Bancroft. Visit the site here.
When the fire started, Sylvia del Carmen Pino Carrasco didn’t hesitate.
“I remembered my neighbor who’s bedridden and I ran toward his house,” the Chile native said.
With limited options, Carrasco and her husband did the only thing they could think to do: wrapped their neighbor in a blanket and put him in a wheelbarrow. Then they pushed him down the street until a truck picked him up. As soon as the truck drove away, Carrasco said their entire community was engulfed in flames.
“Thanks to God, we were all saved and none of us were burned,” Carrasco said.
Carrasco and her neighbors, villagers in the mountains outside of Concepción, Chile, were victims of the Jan. and Feb. 2017 forest fires that swept through hundreds of thousands of acres, destroyed homes, pastures, and livestock, and killed at least eleven people, according to Public Radio International. In the months following the loss of their homes, Carrasco and the other villagers rebuilt their lives with whatever they could find – Carrasco was living in a small hut with a leaky wood-and-plastic roof when BYU students met her in May 2017.
Despite the tragedy, “I thank God that we were able to save a person,” Carrasco said.
That attitude is exactly what BYU students came nearly 6,000 miles to find.
Thanks to a generous grant from a BYU donor, students in BYU’s School of Communications have created the “Unto Me” project, which highlights groups at BYU honoring the hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” written by James Montgomery in 1826.
The title “Unto Me” comes from a line in the hymn’s seventh and final verse, when the narrator realizes the stranger he’s been serving throughout each verse is the Savior. Christ tells the narrator that “These deeds shall thy memorial be; Fear not, thou didst them unto me.” This line, then, represents the goal of the “Unto Me” project: to show how BYU students are doing good unto strangers, and thereby doing good works unto the Savior.
The project is also intended to recognize the good works of people everywhere. The BYU Ballroom Dance Company was performing for victims of the fire at the time students with “Unto Me” met Carrasco, and they felt her story captures – both literally and figuratively – the principle of serving one’s neighbor.
The “Unto Me” project is broken into seven parts, one for each verse. BYU Communications students will pick a different verse each year, then focus on a group at BYU addressing the themes of that verse (with the exception of the first verse, which represents exploration of the hymn’s background and history).
Click through each verse to read about past or upcoming installments of the “Unto Me” project.
Read more about the “Unto Me” project here.