'Every call is important': Members magnify Church callings

Linda Gardner Riding remembers that when she was a college student she watched her father spend days searching for a lost dime.

Alma Gardner, then financial clerk in the Grant 1st Ward, Salt Lake Granite Park Stake, scanned hundreds of tithing receipts, hoping to balance the past year's records, which continually fell short by 10 cents.Sister Riding said that after she heard her father mention the records were out of balance by 10 cents she reached into her pocket and handed him a dime. "He told me, `I've taught you better. I will continue to look until I find it,' " she remembered. "And that closed the subject."

After several more days - a moment Sister Riding will not forget - her father balanced the records. "You would have thought he'd discovered a gold mine, one dime on a receipt tucked under another one," Sister Riding said. "I learned a lot from him."

Her father, she explained, taught her to magnify Church callings. "He never called in sick. He walked to Church in blizzards and brought books home in the evenings to balance," she said. "I never heard him complain about his Church calling. He took great pride in serving in a task that was time consuming."

The importance of members giving their best efforts to every Church calling was emphasized by President Gordon B. Hinckley during a Church News interview while traveling in Ireland in September.

"Whether it be teaching a class, whether it be serving as a home teacher, whether it be serving as a Church officer, whether it be working as a missionary, serving in the temple or any such thing, it deserves our best effort," President Hinckley explained. "There is nothing unimportant about any call in this Church. Every call is important. When we all do our duty working together, the whole Church moves forward in an orderly and wonderful fashion."

During the April 1995 general conference, the prophet also emphasized the importance of accepting and magnifying Church callings. He said: "No calling in this Church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others."

President Hinckley quoted D&C 81:5, which states: "Therefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees."

President Hinckley also promised Church members that if they are faithful in their Church callings they will be blessed.

"You have as great an opportunity for satisfaction in the performance of your duty as I do in mine. The program of this work will be determined by our joint efforts," he explained. "Whatever your calling, it is as fraught with the same kind of opportunity to accomplish good as is mine. What is really important is that this is the work of the Master. Our work is to go about doing good, as did He."

Many Church members, such as Leonaldo Ferreira Nunes, say they receive more from their Church calling than do the people they are assigned to help, teach or work with. The director of the Parana Brazil Ponta Grossa Stake family history center explained that his testimony has grown stronger because of his calling.

After Brother Nunes started working in the family history center, his stake president, Lenilton Cardoso, issued a challenge to members to research their family history and submit their ancestors' names for temple ordinances. While many members were traveling 350 miles to the Sao Paulo Temple to perform temple service, very few were submitting names to the temple.

During the months after Pres. Cardoso issued his challenge, attendance at the family history center increased from 20 to 160 people a month. Stake members also submitted 1,800 names of their ancestors during one of the stake's temple trips.

President Cardoso said Brother Nunes helped the family history program succeed in the stake. "He has been an example of dedication, and has worked tremendously in this calling," said the stake president. "Sometimes, he would spend his leisure time in the family history center just to help someone."

In the Midvale Utah Stake, Wayne Sharp has spent many hours working with young men. As Young Men president, he attends weekly activities with the youth. They tour job sites to help the young men make career decisions, play basketball and other sports, fix cars, and participate in other activities. Brother Sharp, ward Young Men president, said the activities outside of Church help him form a good relationship with the teens.

During the summer, Brother Sharp also has many of the youth come to work for him in his lawn-care business.. His bishop, Paul Monson, said it is a real challenge to keep many of the young men in the ward active. He added that Brother Sharp has had a positive influence on the youth. He has even stopped by their homes and invited them to come to activities.

Jeanette Johnson, Homestead Florida Stake Young Women president, also has gone the extra mile to help the youth with whom she serves. Leading by example, she earned the Young Women recognition award and reads and memorizes the same scriptures the girls are studying in seminary.

Stake President D. Mike Madsen said Sister Johnson's attitude, `If I can do it, you can do it,' encourages many young women to achieve worthwhile goals.

Sister Johnson said that Heavenly Father has answered her prayers as she has tried to do her best in her calling - including attending stake Young Women camp. "I had never camped before in my life," she said. "He will help us do whatever He asks us to do."

In Arizona, Sarah Arbon accepted a calling in her ward's nursery without hesitation - but she was still nervous.

"I was wondering if I could do what was expected of me and if I had the energy to handle all those children who I didn't know," she said.

Sister Arbon, a member of the Greenfield Park Ward, Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake, explained that Church callings help people "improve themselves and develop talents through serving others."

She explained: "Once you learn how to deal with what you're supposed to do it becomes easier. I am sure that is the way it is with any calling."

Marvin Pugh, a member of the Holladay 27th Ward, Salt Lake Holladay South Stake, said there is always much that can be done as members serve in Church callings.

Over the years Brother Pugh has served as a bishop, stake president, mission president, member of the Young Men general board and member of the presidencies in the Salt Lake and Jordan River temples. Now he is a temple sealer and a home teacher - callings he takes very seriously.

Annette McPhie said her family has been blessed with monthly visits from Brother Pugh and his partner, Lyman Woolley. "Brother Pugh knows all the kids' names, and always talks to them individually," she said, adding that the time spent with the home teachers is time her family remembers.

Brother Pugh said he receives satisfaction from magnifying his priesthood calling as a home teacher. "Personal blessings really come from being obedient to the call you have," he said.

The lesson of the dime that was unaccounted for and the effort her father made in trying to balance the tithing records has never been forgotten by Linda Riding. Now a Relief Society teacher in the Wakefield Ward, Annandale Virginia Stake, she says it's a lesson she has tried to pass on to her own children.

Her son, John B. Riding, is Sunday School president in a BYU student ward. He flew home to Virgina for Christmas. When his return to Provo was delayed by inclement weather, he made long distance phone calls to ensure everything ran smoothly in Sunday School. "He was snowed in," Sister Riding said of her son. "He could have just let it slip, but he didn't."

He is learning, she explained, to magnify his Church callings - just like his grandfather.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed