Shining moments: 'Magnificent gifts'

Following President Thomas S. Monson's admonition to serve others — even during one's own trials — was the inspiration for an event held on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Halandri chapel in Athens, Greece. The Relief Society of three branches in Greece were involved: Acropolis 1, Acropolis 2 and Halandri.

Organizers scheduled the event to bring the sisters together and share a meal and program with the handicapped women who are cared for by an organization called Damaris.

The multi-purpose room was decorated with red and white tablecloths and Christmas centerpieces.

There was Christmas music playing in the background and the smells of homemade soup filled the room when the ten women of Damaris, with their three caregivers, arrived.

The guests were greeted by the sisters from the Athens branches, women who have their own challenges with the Greek economic crisis.

But for a few hours, those worries melted away as the support and love for the mentally and physically disabled women filled every heart. The guests gave a performance of dancing and singing.

They were met with enthusiastic applause and seemed to enjoy what they were able to give to the Relief Society sisters.

Following the playing of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" on the violin, all of the Relief Society sisters sang two verses of "I am a Child of God." The first was sung in English and the second in Greek.

Handmade cloth tote-bags were then presented in gift wrapping to the guests. The bags were made by Relief Society sisters and were embellished with crocheted flowers.

A potluck lunch was served afterward, with the food provided by Relief Society sisters. There were soups, sandwiches, salads, vegetables and cookies. After lunch, everyone gathered outside the building for a group photo.

As the women of Damaris left, the Latter-day Saints felt uplifted by their spirits. It was a very special day to feel how the Lord loves each of His daughters.

It was refreshing to put the financial crisis in perspective and ponder the magnificent gifts the Lord has given to the sisters living in Greece. — Jennifer Hicks, Relief Society president, Halandri Branch, Greece Athens Mission

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