Zeny Jensen immigrated from the Philippines to Toronto, Canada, with her family in September 2005 and was baptized in March 2006. Less than two years later her husband, Ed, was diagnosed with cancer. Brother Jensen passed away three weeks after their family was sealed in the Toronto Ontario Temple.
Sister Jensen said of that difficult time: “The outpouring of love and support from the sisters was tremendous. I remember one sister who came forward to help me with babysitting during the summer months when I needed to be at work. I cannot imagine my life without the gospel of Jesus Christ and how I would surpass the challenge of losing an eternal companion in a foreign country.”
As the Etobicoke Ward Relief Society president, Sister Jensen shares that same Christlike love. Ward members come from 71 countries. The majority of sisters are first-generation immigrants and first-generation converts to the Church.
“That diversity gives them a sense of belonging,” said Sister Jensen. “Though far away from their home country, they find family within the sisterhood. As we learn from each through their examples of generosity, compassion and charity, it creates a better understanding of who we are and what we stand for. Truly, the gospel of Jesus Christ is inclusive.”
With the bishop’s support the whole ward joined Sister Jensen’s proposal to give Christlike service to others beyond their ward.
A goal of 2015 “second mile” acts of service was set. Some of the service provided to date includes helping a nearby church of another faith feed the homeless, making blankets and scarves for the homeless, tutoring needy students, providing free gymnastic and skating lessons, donating furniture to a new immigrant family, chauffeuring services for sisters unable to drive, helping a neighbor with terminal cancer, and volunteering at an investigator’s vendor fair booth.
The example of the sisters in the Etobicoke Ward Relief Society remind us that accepting, serving and reaching out with Christlike love to those outside our normal circles is an important part of the work of Relief Society. — Relief Society general board