As the Church has grown worldwide, Relief Society has been called on to be a place of influence for new converts. Because of the Church's rapid growth in many areas, new members have been required to serve and lead even newer members.
In the pages of Daughters in My Kingdom: the History and Work of Relief Society, Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, tells of her mother's call, in the early 1950s, to be the Relief Society president in her branch in Latin America.
"My mother was a recent convert to the Church when she was called to be the Relief Society president in our small branch in San Salvador. She told the branch president that she was inexperienced, unprepared, and inadequate. She was in her 30s, had very little formal education, and her whole life had been devoted to the care of her husband and seven children. But the branch president called her anyway.
"I watched my mother rise to the occasion. While serving, she learned leadership skills and developed new gifts such as teaching, public speaking, and planning and organizing meetings, activities, and service projects. She influenced the women in the branch. She served them and taught them to serve one another. The sisters loved and respected her. She helped other women to discover, use, and develop gifts and talents; she helped them become builders of the kingdom and of strong, spiritual families. She stayed faithful to the temple covenants she made. When she passed away, she was at peace with her Maker.
"A sister who served with her as a counselor in the Relief Society wrote me a letter years later: 'Your mother was the person who taught me the way to become what I am now. From her, I learned charity, kindness, honesty, and responsibility in our callings. She was my mentor and my example. I am now 80 years old, but I have stayed faithful to the Savior and His gospel. I have served a mission, and the Lord has blessed me greatly' " (Nov. 2009, Daughters in My Kingdom, p. 91-92).