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Sister Aburto and Sister Craig mark Relief Society 180th anniversary serving, ministering in western Europe


While ministering in Spain, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, and Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, celebrated the Relief Society’s 180th anniversary by serving. 

On March 17, 2022, Sister Aburto and Sister Craig helped assemble shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness while in Canterbury, England, Sister Aburto shared on social media. The Relief Society was organized on March 17, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois.

“It was humbling and rewarding to work with other Relief Society sisters on a project that will help people who are truly in need,” she shared. 

During their weeklong ministry, they spoke at several devotionals encouraging listeners to unite in sisterhood, trust God, strengthen discipleship and recognize women’s unique contributions, and also participated with women as they served in various ways for the Relief Society’s Europe Area Day of Service. The week culminated with a Europe-wide devotional on Sunday, March 20, broadcast from Birmingham, England, according to the Church’s United Kingdom Newsroom 

Church News podcast episode 74: Relief Society President Jean B. Bingham on the 180th anniversary of the worldwide women’s organization

Sister Aburto said the ministry of Relief Society is “the ministry to go and look for needs and try to fill them the best way we can. I see so many women and men working together to build the kingdom of God.”

Sister Craig pointed to the service she had seen that week with the Relief Society Day of Service in Europe. 

“I have seen up close and personal over the past few days that service truly is a hallmark of a disciple of Jesus Christ — and you are disciples — you are striving to become like Him,” she said. 

In Spain, Sister Aburto and her husband, Brother Carlos Aburto, and Sister Craig with her husband, Brother E. Boyd Craig, were accompanied by Elder Rubén V. Alliaud, a General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the Europe Area presidency, and his wife, Sister Fabiana B. Alliaud. In the U.K. the Aburtos and the Craigs were welcomed by Elder Martin J. Turvey, an Area Seventy, and Sister Traci De Marco, an area organization adviser.

Madrid, Spain

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, takes a picture with Church members during a youth devotional on March 12, 2022, in Madrid.

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, takes a picture with Church members during a youth devotional on March 12, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

At a devotional for children and youth on Saturday, March 12, in Madrid, Spain, Sister Craig focused on sharing how they can trust in the Lord, which is this year’s youth theme.

“He knows us and loves us. You have been chosen to come in these last days because He trusts you so much,” she said in an announcement on ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Sister Aburto explored the theme’s scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6.  

“So, what does it mean to trust the Lord with all our hearts, and not lean on our own understanding?” asked Sister Aburto. “He tells us to recognize Him in all our actions, and He will direct our paths.

“If we confide in the Savior and try to follow His commandments, and hold onto that faith we have in Him, He will help make our paths more straight and easier to follow.”

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shares an embrace with a young woman during a youth devotional held on March 12, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shares an embrace with a young woman during a youth devotional held on March 12, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In a devotional broadcast for women, Sister Craig pointed to the Young Women theme. “The most important labels are those that have to do with the family. We are daughters, mothers, sisters … and daughters of our Heavenly Father, with a work to do and an eternal destiny. It’s the most important thing for us,” Sister Craig said. 

Sister Aburto encouraged the women to build their testimonies. 

“We are here because we decided in the premortal existence to follow Jesus Christ. But the battle continues between good and evil. We still must discern between the two each and every day,” she said. 

United Kingdom and Ireland

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, visits with women at service project in York, United Kingdom, on March 18, 2022. The York England Stake service projects included sewing quilts, personal hygiene products, heart-shaped pillows for cancer patients, making care packages for two primary schools, sorting clothing for Ukrainian refugees and writing letters to those who need encouragement.

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, visits with women at a service project in York, United Kingdom, on March 18, 2022. The York England Stake service projects included quilts, personal hygiene products, heart-shaped pillows for cancer patients, making care packages for two primary schools, sorting clothing for Ukrainian refugees and writing letters to those who need encouragement.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In Canterbury, England, on March 17, Sister Aburto and Sister Craig served with other women in the Canterbury Ward as they built lightweight insulated sleeping pods, according to the Church’s United Kingdom Newsroom

Marisa Rickard, who was the committee lead for the service activity, said: “There is a great ability in women to see a need and to fill it. The seemingly impossible is possible when we use our faith to act. There is no limitation to what Heavenly Father can do with a willing heart.”

In the York England Stake, on Friday, March 18, Sister Aburto and Sister Craig visited women as they sewed quilts, put together personal hygiene products, made heart-shaped pillows for cancer patients, made care packages for two primary schools, sorted clothing for Ukrainian refugees and wrote letters to those who need encouragement.

“How we serve does not need to be massive. Every little bit we do in our homes and congregations helps someone,” said Kate Gore, the York England Stake Relief Society president.  

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, admires a service project pillow in Huddersfield, United Kingdom, in March 2022. The Relief Society’s 180th anniversary was on March 17, 2022.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, admires a service project pillow in Huddersfield, United Kingdom, in March 2022. The Relief Society’s 180th anniversary was on March 17, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

While in Huddersfield, England, the leaders spoke at a meeting for young women. Sister Craig taught that trusting in the Lord means trusting in His timing and learning to trust Him, which includes acting on the thoughts and impressions “to do good and be good.”

Sister Aburto encouraged the young women that “the Lord, if we let Him, can make of us the best version of ourselves.”

Rebecca Fonseca, a young woman, said: “It was good to be reminded we are not defined by the labels other people give us. We are defined by who we are, and we are daughters of God.”

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, poses with with sister missionaries in Belfast, United Kingdom, during a service project there in March 2022.

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, poses with with sister missionaries in Belfast, United Kingdom, during a service project there in March 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sister Aburto and Sister Craig joined as the women made bandannas for children with cancer and beanie hats for premature babies, and wrote uplifting notes.

“It is wonderful to be together today after being apart for so long. I love that we are serving on the very day that so many others across Europe are uniting in their sisterhood to serve,” said Janet Mullan, Belfast Northern Ireland Stake Relief Society president.

In Dublin, Ireland, the leaders participated in service projects for the day of service on Saturday, March 19. The theme for the day was “Serving Women in Every Season” because they have projects that serve girls and women in all seasons of their lives, said Veronica Holton, Dublin Ireland Stake Relief Society president.

“I love seeing the sisters together and am so proud of our young women who have spearheaded a project among others this day. There is such a spirit of unity and service here,” Holton said. 

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, joins in fun with the young women in Dublin, Ireland, on March 19, 2022.

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, joins in fun with young women in Dublin, Ireland, on March 19, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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