After traveling across the country and around the world last week, several Church leaders posted about their experiences and insights on social media. Here’s a look at the messages they shared online.
While traveling in Australia and New Zealand this week, Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shared a story she read about Chris the sheep.
In 2015, Chris was found with more than 90 pounds of wool on him after he’d been unattended for some time. It looked as if he hadn’t been sheared for more than five years. With such heavy wool on him, he didn’t have the strength to get food and was weeks away from dying.
“Caring people in Australia took him in and carefully removed all the weight of the heavy wool,” Sister Eubank wrote in an Oct. 24 Facebook post. Once he was freed from the heavy coat and his skin infections had been treated, “he happily lived to an elderly age for a sheep.”
Chris died of old age on Oct. 22 on a farm in New South Wales.
Like Chris, there are other “sheep” and “lambs” who are lost and need to be sought after, Sister Eubank wrote. “So this is my encouragement to all of us to go find someone who is heavy and lost and bring them home.”
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, recently visited Joseph Smith’s birthplace in Sharon, Vermont, and spoke at a devotional in Boston, Massachusetts. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles accompanied him on this trip.
On Oct. 19, President Ballard posted a video on Facebook and Instagram from the memorial marking the Prophet’s birthplace, testifying that Jesus Christ restored His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
April 2020 will mark 200 years since the time that Joseph Smith knelt in the Sacred Grove and received the First Vision, President Ballard said in the video. He said that “just contemplating that this little boy, a baby, was born here on Dec. 23, 1805, and then when he’s not yet 15 years of age, he’s now ready to receive this direction from heaven when the Father and the Son appeared to him, and Jesus Christ opens up the heavens for the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ — it’s a miracle, it’s a blessing, it’s a wonderful truth, and it started here on this piece of property when Joseph Smith was born.”
The next day, after President Ballard had spoken at a devotional in Boston, he posted on social media about how his ninth great-grandfather John Howland fell overboard from the Mayflower. By a miracle, Howland caught hold of a rope and made it to the “New World.”
Today, about 2 million Americans trace their ancestry to Howland and his wife. Their descendants include U.S. presidents, famous American poets, and the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith.
“Think about it for a moment — the existence of these political leaders, poets, and prophets hinged on this one young man finding and grabbing a rope in the ocean and holding on tight to be saved,” President Ballard wrote in the Oct. 20 Facebook post. “It was a miracle! I see the hand of the Lord in John Howland’s life.”
President Ballard encouraged everyone to look for the Lord’s hand in their lives.
“As you see the hand of the Lord in your lives, thank Him for it. Please record and share your stories. The more you recognize the Lord’s hand in your lives, the more you will see it in your lives today.”
Elder Christofferson also posted on social media that same day about some of the things he shared in his devotional address.
“Tonight in Boston, I had the chance to share three ways our Redeemer and the Holy Spirit use small and simple means to bring about great things in our lives,” he wrote in an Oct. 20 Facebook post.
First, prayer. “If we are to have His help, including in our day-to-day concerns, we need more or less constant recourse to our Heavenly Father in prayer.”
Second, regular access to the scriptures. “I invite each of us to commit a certain amount of time each day to immerse ourselves in the scriptures, studying, thinking, meditating, praying, and recording what we learn or the direction we may receive.”
Third, find and follow the Lord’s will and purpose for one’s life. Each person has “the blessing of personal revelation to teach us particular added purposes He has in mind for each of us individually.”
On Sunday, Oct. 20, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, had the special experience of returning to Frankfurt, Germany, as he rededicated the Frankfurt Germany Temple.
“The temple is so special. The temple can always remind us that the Savior can be near us,” Elder Uchtdorf wrote in an Oct. 20 Instagram post. “The temple and its values will help us to elevate ourselves above the destructive spirit of contention, dissent, disfavor, and lack of charity.”
On Oct. 22, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke in a BYU-Hawaii devotional. A few days later on social media, he shared a message from that devotional that he wants all young adults around the world to know: “Be faithful. Stand steady. Believe in what God intends for you personally.”
In an Oct. 25 Instagram post, Elder Holland wrote, “You are all a little anxious about your future, but I implore you not to be overly anxious. God has a plan for you, and the best thing you can do is trust Him and keep moving!”
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was given the opportunity to address the subject of religious freedom in Oxford, England, on Oct. 23, when he offered a keynote address at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford as part of the university’s Quill Project — an effort focused on constitutions across the world.
“Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are both the heart and the foundation of a representative democracy,” he wrote in an Oct. 23 Instagram post.
“There is no better demonstration of the great benefits associated with religious liberty than for devoted members of various faiths who feel accountable to God to model principles of integrity, morality, service, and love.”
This past weekend, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Phoenix, Arizona, where he met with government leaders and participated in humanitarian visits to discuss the needs of asylum seekers and refugees.
In an Oct. 22 Facebook post, Elder Rasband shared how during the last year, tens of thousands of migrants seeking international protection have been released in the Phoenix area with no money or home to go to.
“Forty different faith and community organizations — including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — came together to help rescue these people from dire circumstances,” he wrote.
“It is a privilege for the Church to be involved in this effort. The Savior expects each of us to care for the poor and needy, to reach out to all of Heavenly Father’s children, and to show love and compassion.”
President Russell M. Nelson met with Cuba’s ambassador to the United States, José R. Cabañas, on Oct. 23. The next day in a Facebook post, he wrote, “He affirmed to us that the Church is welcome in Cuba. We are most thankful for that information.”
“Have you ever met someone who impressed you so much that you wanted to be a better person?” Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, asked in an Oct. 22 Facebook post.
This very experience happened to Sister Bingham when she met Astrid S. Tuminez, Utah Valley University president, during her inauguration.
“Not only is she a remarkable educator, but she’s also a member of Relief Society!” Sister Bingham wrote.
Each person has a different story that can be just as inspiring as President Tuminez’s, she wrote. “Whether you’re raising children, working to support yourself and/or others, or helping in your community, you have a place in Relief Society. What you do matters. You can be a leader among women in the world!”
During an annual Polar Bear plunge at a family reunion, Sister Michelle Craig’s 3-year-old granddaughter told her, “I will share my braveness with you.”
“These words melted my heart,” Sister Craig, first counselor in the Young women general presidency, wrote in an Oct. 22 Facebook post.
“I have reflected often on her words as I think about the need we all have to be brave and have courage. Sometimes that is hard when life turns out differently than we expect. A knowledge of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness gives perspective on our mortal experiences, which at times are soul stretching to say the least.”
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, shared an image quote from Jennie K. Mangum on Facebook on Oct. 22.
“It can mean everything in the world to be strengthened by someone. In fact, their courage can spark some of your own,” Sister Cordon wrote.
“As you walk along the covenant path, how can you be more aware of and reach out to those in need?”