Presiding Bishop dedicates new bishops’ storehouse in Arizona

GILBERT, Arizona — Bishops’ storehouses are centers of compassion and caring that represent the desires of the earliest Church members to create a society where the pure in heart reside, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé said as he dedicated the new Gilbert Arizona Welfare and Self-Reliance Facility on Friday, Oct. 18.

“Tonight, we dedicate a facility that is a symbol of that yearning for a better world,” he added. “We do this not only because it benefits others. We do this because it is through serving others that we, ourselves, become refined and enriched.”

The facility includes the new storehouse, a home storage facility and offices for Family Services. Speakers included a young service missionary, a woman whose husband has had a pornography addiction and a bishop who has been able to help ward members through the storehouse.

“A bishops’ storehouse brings together the offerings of all of us as brothers and sisters and enables us to bless and lift others who need help,” Page Ward Bishop Clate Mask said. “At the ward level, we know there’s a bishops’ storehouse that’s an aggregation of all our ward members’ offerings. To have a dedicated building like this that makes it possible for community members to receive this help is an amazing blessing that I’m very grateful for as a bishop.”

The bishops’ storehouse is the third in the Valley of the Sun and will serve the communities of Gilbert, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley and Casa Grande, said Eric Sawyer, the Church Welfare Services Field manager for Arizona, New Mexico and Las Vegas. The home storage center offers food storage products with a 30-year shelf life.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé speaks at the dedication of the Gilbert Arizona Bishops' Storehouse on Friday, Oct. 18.
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé speaks at the dedication of the Gilbert Arizona Bishops’ Storehouse on Friday, Oct. 18. Credit: Robin Finlinson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Jesus Christ served two different kinds of missions during His earthly ministry, the young service missionary said.

“He was sent down to us by His Father to preach His gospel and plan of happiness to everyone down here,” said Elder Benjamin Durrant, who serves at the Mesa Bishops’ Storehouse. “In doing so, He was a proselyting missionary. But what people might not realize, He was also a service missionary at the same time. Whenever He healed the sick, raised the dead, made the blind see, etc., He was serving His fellow man. One of the biggest truths I’ve learned from Jesus Christ is that there are no restrictions that limit us on how much we can serve our fellow man.”

Sister Letice Jolley described a long, painful journey after she learned of her husband’s addiction. They now serve together as addiction recovery missionaries through Family Services.

“Because of my anger, I turned away from my Savior and my Heavenly Father,” she said. “I went years without reaching out to Them and trying to handle this trial on my own. And I handled it very unsuccessfully on my own.”

One night, she returned to prayer and said she felt Heavenly Father’s love instantly.

“I became more trusting of my Heavenly Father and Savior,” she said. “And I reestablished the relationship with them and as I did I realized that no matter what happens in my marriage, I will be OK and my children would be OK. I started reaching out for help and support from other people. And I discovered the addiction recovery program, which changed my life.”

She joined the spouse and family support group and her husband joined the 12-step addiction recovery program. She has seen weaknesses become strengths, she said.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, center, attends the Gilbert Bishops' Storehouse dedication on Friday, Oct. 18. Pictured are, from left, Sunshine Sawyer; Eric Sawyer, director of the new Bishops' Storehouse in Gilbert, Arizona; Bishop Caussé; Elder Jon Schmitt, an Area Seventy; and Elder Karl Tilleman, an Area Seventy.
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, center, attends the Gilbert Bishops’ Storehouse dedication on Friday, Oct. 18. Pictured are, from left, Sunshine Sawyer; Eric Sawyer, director of the new Bishops’ Storehouse in Gilbert, Arizona; Bishop Caussé; Elder Jon Schmitt, an Area Seventy; and Elder Karl Tilleman, an Area Seventy. Credit: Robin Finlinson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

“I have seen the principles of the ARP program reestablish hope in the hopeless, give joy to the sad, comfort the lonely, and become a place of healing to those who are in need of support and love. I know this program is inspired by our caring Father in Heaven. I have seen lives change because of it, mine in particular.”

Bishop Caussé told the story of a man in his 80s assigned to community service by a judge. His wife, a Church member who hadn’t attended in a long time, suggested he go to the bishops’ storehouse. When he completed his service hours, he asked if he could continue. He began to bring his wife with him. They loved the way their service there made them feel.

“This sort of thing happens in all our facilities, Bishop Caussé said. “Here, you may see food being loaded into cars. You might notice people coming for counseling and emotional support. But what is really going on is the very definition of the Lord’s storehouse, which includes not only food but ‘the time, talents, skills, compassion, consecrated material and financial means of faithful Church members.’ These resources are extended to those who come seeking temporal, spiritual and emotional support and nourishment.”

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé attends the dedication of the Gilbert Arizona Bishops' Storehouse on Friday, Oct. 18.
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé attends the dedication of the Gilbert Arizona Bishops’ Storehouse on Friday, Oct. 18. Credit: Robin Finlinson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

He recommended service at bishops’ storehouses.

“If you have been looking for a way to give back and assist others, this may be just the place for you,” he said. “As Elder (Dieter F.) Uchtdorf would say, ‘Come and see.’ Come and see for yourself the good you can do for others and the good you can do for yourself by spending time reaching out to others at these wonderful Welfare and Self-Reliance facilities. Come and help! Come, bring your family, bring your friends and your neighbors. Whether you spend an hour, a week or a year or two, I believe you will find here a place where you can do some good.”