Build a network of kindness

Deal kindly with others

Act with faith

Be knit together in love

Christian service, just like a piece of string used by children playing the game of cat's cradle, connects all in a network of kindness that is strong and beautiful, said Chieko N. Okazaki, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.

Demonstrating the cat's cradle pattern of "four-eyes" at the Sunday afternoon session, she showed how complex the design is and how each part is connected and supports the other parts.

"You cannot pick one part out without destroying the whole pattern," she explained. "It is the same with our lives. We meet many people. With some the association lasts for years. With others, the association is very brief. But in either case, we can make the pattern a beautiful one by making our encounter a kindly one, filled with the desire to serve.

"We may not understand the pattern that our lives make as they intersect, connect, separate, and intersect again, but God does," she continued.

Sister Okazaki shared the story of Rosetta Colclough, a missionary in Hawaii who had first introduced her to the gospel. Years later, the missionary, now Rosetta Colclough Stark, wrote to her after she had been called to the general Relief Society presidency. Sister Stark wrote in her letter that she had been blessed by her brief association with Sister Okazaki.

But Sister Okazaki said she was blessed in return by the kindness of Sister Stark, who had unknowingly written her at the time Brother Okazaki was dying.

"Her letter reached me with a special compassion and love when my sons and I were struggling to accept the fact that Ed would not recover. . . . Rosetta's life has touched mine only three times, but the Savior's love was in each encounter. Rosetta brought me the gospel, she rejoiced with Ed and me after our baptisms, and she brought me great comfort by reminding me of Heavenly Father's profound love for me when I was suffering such pain while Ed lay dying."

This story illustrates how lives weave together in ways that cannot be expected or planned, Sister Okazaki related. "Because Rosetta acted with faith, with kindness, and with love, the pattern created by her life encountering mine is a beautiful one. I know that she has woven shining strands into the lives of many others.

"Brothers and sisters, we never know how far the effects of our service will reach," she concluded. "We can never afford to be cruel or indifferent or ungenerous, because we are all connected, even if it is in a pattern that only God sees. I am part of the pattern, Rosetta is part of this pattern. You are part of this pattern. And the Savior is part of this pattern. In fact, I like to think that the Savior is the spaces in the pattern, for there would be no pattern at all without them.

"May we all deal kindly with one another, seeking in our lives the blessing of the apostle Paul, that our `hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love.' " (Col 2:2.)

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