This week on social: What a fall on a ski slope teaches about facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

This week on social media, Church leaders followed up on their devotional messages with further discussion, wrote about lessons from experiences in the mountains and shared their favorite songs from the new youth soundtrack.

Some years ago, while skiing with his 12-year-old grandson Eric, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles took a fall on a steep slope and had a hard time getting back up.

In response to his grandfather’s frustration, Eric encouraged him, saying, “You can do it, Opa, now,” and helped him get up again.

“I still cherish this experience — when a caring young deacon helped a much-older Apostle,” Elder Uchtdorf wrote in a Jan. 22 Instagram post. “His words, his action, his alertness to the situation, and willingness to help made all the difference to me — and they still do.”

During a more recent trip to the ski slopes with Eric — now a returned missionary — they pondered the effect of the pandemic on individuals, families and communities. 

“A lesson I learned early in my life is that no matter how dark the night, there is always the assurance that the sun will rise again (see Psalm 30:5),” Elder Uchtdorf wrote. “We can take the resolve to continue forward and upward with patience and steadfastness. We can do it now!”

Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, also enjoys spending time in the mountains, having recently gotten into snowshoeing. “I do not like to be cold, but I love the quiet, peaceful beauty that surrounds me every time I go to the mountains, especially when there’s fresh snow,” she wrote in a Jan 21 Instagram post.

Mountains are a subject in the song “If You Believe” from the new youth album. These mountains can be difficulties each person faces or aspirations. “If we have faith in Jesus Christ and stay close to Him, I know this year we can accomplish even our biggest goals and overcome any challenges that lie ahead,” she wrote.

President Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, also shared a post about one of her favorite songs from the youth album — “A Great Work.” 

In the Jan. 15 Instagram post, she wrote, “We each have a chance to contribute to this work. We can leave our own unique fingerprint! Today, and every day, we can offer our willing hearts to serve, share, and lift those around us.”

It is small and simple efforts that make up the great work of the Lord.

Following the worldwide devotional for young adults on Sunday, Jan. 10, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, tried something new to invite an ongoing conversation. 

“We invited 100 young adults from two countries and 14 United States states to discuss more of what our devotional message was about,” Elder Gong wrote in a Jan. 17 Facebook post. “We shared insights together and talked about how we can be still and deepen our relationship with God. I invite you to watch and share with me your impressions.”

A video of the discussion is available on the Church’s YouTube channel.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared that the day of miracles has not ceased, in a BYU devotional on Jan. 19. He covered the subject again in a Facebook post on Jan. 21.

He wrote, “The mighty miracles in our lives are exactly the same today as they always have been for devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ: making sacred covenants with God and receiving worthily priesthood ordinances, the fire of those holy covenants working on and within us, and receiving the power of godliness in our lives as we honor those covenants and ‘walk in all the ordinances of the Lord’” (Doctrine and Covenants 136:4).

By honoring covenants and striving to discern with an eye of faith, spiritual vision will be magnified and refined to help one see “that the seemingly small miracles in your life will be the mightiest and most impactful of all.”

Following a devotional broadcast to missionaries on Jan. 14, Elder Ronald A. Rasband shared an experience he had before being called as an Apostle when he joined President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, as he assigned missionaries.

In the Jan. 17 Instagram post, Elder Rasband described the powerful Spirit that he felt as he witnessed revelation first hand. Now as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “this is my frequent privilege. I can tell you what a sacred and powerful revelatory experience it is to identify where the Lord has chosen for His missionaries to serve.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently participated in a virtual For the Strength of Youth conference for Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, speaking on the importance of gathering Israel and serving a mission. 

“God can make the willing able, but He can’t or won’t make the able willing,” he said during the conference.

In a Jan. 22 Facebook post, he continued, “God can make those of us who think we are weak able to do His work if we are willing to try, but He will not interfere with our agency and force us to be willing to serve.”

“Use your words,” is a phrase that Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, frequently hears when spending time with her children and grandchildren. In a Jan. 19 Facebook post, she wrote about how this phrase reminds her of the power of words.

“What we say to ourselves and to each other matters — words have great power,” Sister Craig wrote. “What if we each decided to ‘use our words’ to lift, to build, to heal, to affirm identity? (Ours and those around us). Who can you bless today with your words?”

After receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, President Russell M. Nelson shared a post on Facebook of his experience and thoughts on immunization, on Jan. 19.

“We are thankful for the countless doctors, scientists, researchers, manufacturers, government leaders, and others who have performed the grueling work required to make this vaccine available. We have prayed often for this literal godsend,” he wrote.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated considerable resources to make vaccinations available for people in developing countries for generations. These vaccines have helped eliminate diphtheria, smallpox and other diseases. 

“My professional and ecclesiastical experiences convince me that vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life,” President Nelson wrote.

At the end of last year, Elder Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, tested positive for COVID-19, which they recovered from. In a Jan. 17 Instagram post, Elder Renlund expressed his devastation that he infected his wife and daughter with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“While they have recovered, I feel responsible,” he wrote.

Imagine if he had brought home a spiritually virulent virus that decreased their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. “Such a metaphorical virus could have eternal consequences.”