- Priesthood quorums and congregations should be welcoming places where members feel that they belong, have a place and are valued.
- When individuals' home circumstances don't foster gospel learning, it is the responsibility of ward families to help provide support to individuals and families in their gospel learning.
- Joy is found in serving others.
When Andre Sebako first began meeting with the missionaries in his hometown of Mochudi, Botswana, there were no young men his age in the small branch of 40 members. But the loving and tight-knit group of members welcomed him and helped him to stay active following his baptism by making him feel like he belonged and encouraging him to accompany the missionaries on their lessons.
They helped establish their branch and priesthood quorum as a place of belonging, "a place where all … are welcomed and valued."
With the new home-centered focus, many members may be concerned about members of their congregations who come from "a family situation where the gospel is not studied and where there is not an environment of learning and living the gospel at home." But when there is limited support in the home, "priesthood quorums, and other leaders and friends watch over and support each individual and family as needed." That is the "Church-supported" part of the new focus.
In Andre's small branch, the support of members and missionaries not only helped to keep Andre active and growing in the gospel, but also helped to bring 11 other young men to Christ in just two years. Together, their Young Men priesthood quorum became known as "the Band of Brothers." They created an environment that was welcoming, inclusive and centered on serving others and sharing their knowledge of the gospel. "They fulfilled their priesthood responsibilities and experienced the joy of serving."
And the principles applied in the Mochudi Branch are true everywhere. "Wherever you are, your quorum can grow through activation and sharing the gospel."
About the speaker:
- Elder Carl B. Cook was sustained as a General Authority Seventy on April 2, 2011.
- He was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy on March 31, 2018.
- Elder Cook previously served as president of the Africa Southeast Area of the Church.
- He received a bachelor of arts degree from Weber State College in 1981.
- He received a master of business administration from Utah State University in 1982.