This week on social media, Church leaders shared their gratitude and appreciation for their friends, different ways to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and the importance of listening to the call of the Savior.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was recently able to interact in-person with President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as they held a virtual missionary devotional.
“There is a special kinship and brotherhood that comes with the sacred nature of our calling, and I am immensely grateful to President Ballard for his friendship, love and kindness to me,” Elder Holland wrote in a social media post on Nov. 1.
He encouraged his social media followers to “not take for granted the personal friendships and associations you enjoy in your life.”
“God expects us to lean on each other and love one another.”
“Hal is a good man and I am deeply grateful and honored that I may call him my friend,” he said.
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Happy belated 100th birthday to my dear friend Gail Halvorsen! Many of you know Gail as “the Candy Bomber.” I recorded this video to wish him a happy birthday. Our birthdays are 20 years apart, and our birthplaces are about 5,300 miles (8,600 kilometers) apart. Nevertheless, I have been impacted by his Christlike service and impressed by his stature since I was 8 years old! When he flew the air bridge between West Germany and Berlin, he and his fellow soldiers gave the German people in the east and the west not only hope and confidence that freedom was not a lost cause, that the good and kind in humanity would prevail, but also that each life was important and was worthy of being rescued. These important truths have stayed with me all my life. Hal is a good man and I am deeply grateful and honored that I may call him my friend. Happy birthday, Hal!
Elder Uchtdorf also Tweeted on Nov. 6 about listening to the call of the Savior to follow Him.
My dear friends, can we hear the gentle call of our beloved Savior, who invites us to come and follow Him? I promise you that God will guide your steps as you seek to hear Him. Jesus Christ will go before you. He will cause all things to work together for your good.— Dieter F. Uchtdorf (@UchtdorfDF) November 6, 2020
“One way that I #HearHim — during this pandemic and always — is through joyful music,” she said.
On Nov. 1, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote in a social media post about the healing power of the Savior’s Atonement.
“In this difficult time, there are so many things we need the Savior to heal us from — including loneliness and poor health,” he wrote, and invited his social media followers to turn to “the Master Healer.”
Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote a social media post on Nov. 6 about the dignity of humankind and caring for human rights.
“Glimpse beyond the fear and isolation that have become part of our lives. What do you see?” he wrote. “The dignity of human action is all around us. Suffering is a common experience of humankind, but in times of crisis, ordinary people become extraordinary.”
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The world is a fragile place. Unfortunately, a global pandemic continues to threaten our health and social cohesion. Economies falter and unemployment rises. The racial harmony we seek breaks down. Unrest in our streets spreads fear and uncertainty. In some instances, people do not have the courage to speak their minds for fear of being canceled. Consequently, people are trusting less and less in their leaders and fellow citizens. On the surface, we seem to be losing our way. But wherever you go, carefully stop and look. Glimpse beyond the fear and isolation that have become part of our lives. What do you see? The dignity of human action is all around us. Suffering is a common experience of humankind, but in times of crisis, ordinary people become extraordinary. Dignity is the principle upon which human rights stand. Societies flourish when both law and culture recognize, respect, and protect the value of each person. But we often take human rights for granted, as if they have always been around and always will be around. These rights speak for themselves but cannot defend themselves. That is our task. We believe our rights come from God, but the care of those rights is up to us. It is significant to observe that countries with more religious freedom have more peace. Our small actions each day add up to build social trust, strengthen friendship among society, and ensure that we defend each other’s religious freedom.
In a Nov. 1 Facebook post, Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, wrote in a social media post about struggling with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy as a young woman, and what she did to overcome these feelings.
“I realized that my deepest feeling of belonging came not from trying to fit in with a crowd sitting around a table in the school cafeteria, but rather it came from the covenants I had made,” she said.
On Nov. 1, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted an excerpt from his most recent general conference address.
As we “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men” (2 Nephi 31:20), we are blessed with an eternal perspective and vision that stretches far beyond our limited mortal capacity.— David A. Bednar (@BednarDavidA) November 1, 2020
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted on social media on Nov. 1 about the passing of Sister Annabelle Nielsen, who passed away recently following an accident while serving as a missionary in Switzerland.
“Our official records show that Annabelle has received a release from her missionary service, but I like to think of it as a transfer to pursue the same labors in the spirit world,” he said.
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I was profoundly touched by the funeral of Sister Annabelle Nielsen this past Monday. You may know that Annabelle passed away recently following an accident while serving as a missionary in Switzerland. Missionaries are so special. When we lose one, our whole Church mourns. We can all find comfort knowing that Annabelle was engaged in a vitally important, worthy service. In times like this, we find comfort in the simple, precious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ that Annabelle was so joyfully sharing. I felt that this observation from Brigham Young about the transition from death into the spirit world would have meaning for Annabelle: “We shall turn round and look upon [the valley of death] and think, when we have crossed it, why this is the greatest advantage of my whole existence, for I have passed from a state of sorrow, … pain, anguish and disappointment into a state of existence, where I can enjoy life to the fullest extent as far as that can be done without a body. My spirit is set free, I thirst no more; I want to sleep no more, I hunger no more, I tire no more, I run, I walk, I labor, I go, I come, I do this, I do that, whatever is required of me, … I am full of life, full of vigor, and I enjoy the presence of my heavenly Father, by the power of his Spirit” (“Discourse by President Brigham Young,” Deseret News, August 5, 1874, 427). Our official records show that Annabelle has received a release from her missionary service, but I like to think of it as a transfer to pursue the same labors in the spirit world. Annabelle was an exemplary missionary and an exemplary person in her brief life. I hope you will join me in prayer for her family to experience continued peace and comfort during this time. Their faith inspired me.
In a Nov. 1 social media post, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared a link to the virtual devotional he and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, gave to young adults in the Utah Area.
“We love you and we can’t wait to be with you,” he wrote.
In a virtual devotional Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles held with missionaries serving in Asia, a sister missionary asked if he remembered her grandmother from when he served as a young missionary in Sweden.
He remembered teaching her grandmother, Ingalill, and that she disliked the memorized discussion he and his companion used. They switched to teaching the principles and concepts and asking open-ended questions. Ingalill continued the discussions after she moved to Stockholm and joined the Church.
“We do, after all, teach people, not lessons,” Elder Renlund said in his social media post on Nov. 1. “The Holy Ghost is the real teacher, though, and conversion comes through His influence.”
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On Monday morning in Asia, Ruth and I met virtually (from Salt Lake City) with all the missionaries of the Church who are serving in Asia. As part of the meeting, we invited questions from the missionaries. One question came from Sister Emmy Fondell, a missionary serving in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. She asked if I remembered her grandmother, Ingalill, from 48 years earlier, when I served as a missionary in Sweden. As I remembered, I met Ingalill once in Karlskrona, Sweden, and taught her a discussion with my senior companion. Ingalill did not like the memorized discussion we used, and my companion and I switched to simply teaching the principles and concepts and asking open-ended questions. The spirit in the meeting changed, and Ingalill became much more interested. The following week, Ingalill moved to Stockholm, where she continued the discussions and joined the Church. I told the missionaries in this all-Asia missionary meeting that if the only success I had as a missionary was to have had a small role in Ingalill’s accepting the restored gospel of Jesus Christ at that time and that her granddaughter was now faithfully serving the Lord in the Taiwan Taipei Mission—as was the case of Sister Fondell—my mission was richly rewarded. (Photo #2 shows Sister Fondell and me as I am relating this story). We do, after all, teach people, not lessons. The Holy Ghost is the real teacher, though, and conversion comes through His influence. I am proud of Sister Fondell and all the missionaries serving in the missions in Asia now.