Lessons learned from missionary service, experiences from visiting new wards, and testimonies of Jesus Christ were among the messages shared by Church leaders this week on social media.
When Elder Ronald A. Rasband first received his call to serve as a missionary, he at first felt disappointment. When compared to his father, brother and brother-in-law’s callings to serve in Germany, his call to serve in the Eastern States Mission seemed underwhelming.
Then he opened the scriptures and read Doctrine and Covenants 100: 2-4: “Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you. Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land. Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.”
At that moment, he knew that if the Lord wanted him to serve in the Eastern States Mission, then that’s where he was supposed to be.
Elder Rasband, now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared in a Nov. 4 Instagram post, “I testify to you that every missionary called in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of His servants. I am one who questioned my assignment but later received a witness. I assure you that you can have that same experience.”
When Sister Michelle Craig was a missionary in the Dominican Republic, she found herself focused on the increasing number of struggles she faced, which seemed to keep growing larger. Then, while walking the streets of Monte Cristi one day, the Spirit told her she needed to change her focus and her attitude.
“I decided then and there that every single time a negative thought entered my mind — I would immediately try to think three positive things about the same challenge,” Sister Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, wrote in a Nov. 5 Facebook post. She learned that by focusing on her blessings, she saw more blessings.
“Gratitude is powerful, and a focus on gratitude will bring God’s power and an increase of joy into our lives.”
Sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, also shared a mission story on Facebook, from when she served with her husband as he presided over the North Carolina Charlotte Mission.
Two of their sister missionaries were working with a less-active sister who was returning to activity in the Church. When she didn’t come to sacrament meeting, they called her and learned that she was struggling and didn’t know if she could continue her path to activity. They asked what they could do for her. She said, “I don’t know, but a chocolate cupcake would really taste good to me right now.”
After the phone call, the sister missionaries thought about what they could do for this sister when they didn’t have the ingredients to make chocolate cupcakes. So they prayed for help.
As soon as they finished their prayer, a neighbor knocked on their door and presented them with a plate of chocolate cupcakes — extras from a birthday party they thought the sister missionaries would like to have.
“Like you, I have pled for answers and even miracles,” Sister Craven wrote in the Nov. 5 post. Sometimes “chocolate cupcakes” have appeared at the door, but more often, the answers have come in a flavor she didn’t expect. “I am a witness, however, that answers and miracles do come, but they often come in bite-sized morsels which are easy to miss if we are not watching for them.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, recently visited an inner-city ward in San Francisco and were thrilled to discover it was the day of the ward’s Primary program.
“It was beautiful to see that in the middle of this big city, there are so many dear children learning about and testifying of Jesus Christ,” he wrote in a Nov. 3 Instagram post.
Elder Uchtdorf expressed thanks to the many Primary leaders and parents who help these children prepare for Primary programs.
Once when Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, was on a training visit, a group of young women began to sing “Peace in Christ.” More and more people began joining in singing until everyone stood together “declaring our love for and faith in Jesus Christ through a simple song,” she wrote in a Nov. 5 Facebook post.
“It was a powerful experience,” she continued. She’d just come from a busy city and into a place where she felt peace and calm. “The influence of the Spirit was tangible – and really that’s why we gather together as youth and leaders.”
Despite feeling busy, overwhelmed, stressed or friendless, each person can have peace in Christ.
While in Paraguay for the Asunción Paraguay Temple rededication, Elder D. Todd Christofferson shared photos from the day and how sacrificing to build temples is “an undeniable witness that Jesus Christ is the living, resurrected Son of God.”
In a Nov. 3 Facebook post, he wrote, “God does not force grace or goodness upon us, but the covenants we make through temple ordinances permit Him to let His divine influence flow into our souls. This brings power in the priesthood, power to declare the word of God, power to gather scattered Israel, and power to offer redemption to the dead.”
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, gave this simple testimony on Twitter on Nov. 6: “I testify that God the Father lives and He loves you. He will answer your prayers.”
On Nov. 3, President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, implored followers on Twitter to look for the hand of the Lord in their lives.
“And, let us always remember our prayers and express our love to God our Heavenly Father and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” he wrote.
“Do you realize that the heavens are open to you?” Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president asked in a Nov. 7 Facebook post.
She then shared a “reassuring” quote from President Russell M. Nelson: “Sisters, you have the right to draw upon the Savior’s power to help your family and others you love.”
Women have access to all the spiritual blessings of the Church and direct access to the power of God through making and keeping sacred covenants and ordinances, she wrote. “That is an overwhelming gift, considering the challenges we each face and the need we feel for spiritual guidance.”
Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, also posed a question to Facebook readers on Nov. 7: “Do you feel somehow ‘different’ than the ‘regular members of the Church?”
Each person seems to place labels on his or her self and others, which can separate one another. However, members of the Church are “baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13) and make up the body of Christ (4 Nephi 1:17).
“The things we have in common as disciples of Christ are more important than the labels that separate us,” Sister Eubank wrote. “Jesus Christ sees us in our wholeness.”