Relief Society women speak of receiving and providing relief

Around the world, women of the Relief Society have been answering President Camille N. Johnson’s invitation to see the world through a lens of relief

When Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson spoke at April 2023 general conference, she explained that covenant keepers are blessed with the Savior’s relief.

“I testify that Jesus Christ is relief. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we may be relieved of the burden and consequences of sin and be succored in our infirmities,” she said.

In May, at BYU Women’s Conference, President Johnson further outlined how women can find relief by aligning their goals with God’s goals — and how they can become agents of His relief for others.

“Whenever we do anything to bring relief to others — temporal or spiritual — we are bringing them to Jesus Christ and will be blessed to find our own relief in Him.”

Around the world, women of the Relief Society have been answering her invitation to see the world through a lens of relief and think about what a member of a society dedicated to receiving and providing relief would talk about, think about and spend her time. 

Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson speaks during the 2023 BYU Women’s Conference with a picture of Jesus Christ behind her.
Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson speaks during the 2023 BYU Women’s Conference on Friday, May 5, 2023. | Devin Anderton, BYU CE Media

‘Angels here on earth’ 

When Cecy Gamez’s daughter was fighting cancer, the women in the Tecnologico Ward in the Lerma Mexico Stake went to her home every day.

They brought food, they cleaned the house, and they befriended her children. 

“It was a relief when we came back home from the hospital and see warm and delicious food on the table made by those incredible sisters and the house clean,” Gamez said.

The Gamez family later moved to the United States, where their daughter passed away. There, the women of the Juniper Canyon Ward in the Herriman Utah Mountain Ridge Stake “were exactly the same,” Gamez said. 

They brought food, helped with the house and became part of the family. 

“I feel so humble to be part of this incredible association as the Relief Society is. This is pure love of Christ, the charity in action,” Gamez said. “My heart was full of love and compassion that helped me to walk through those very sad days. I am forever grateful for my sisters. I felt accompanied and loved and fortified by them. I recognize them as angels here on earth.”

‘No poor among you’

Sarah Solis from the Rogers 2nd Branch (Spanish) in the Rogers Arkansas Stake said many people are interested in helping around the world, but they don’t look in their own backyard. They may volunteer at a well-known community organization — but forget to look to their own neighbor, where some may be silently struggling.

“We seek out known opportunities, but we don’t reach out to the sister who hasn’t come to church for a couple weeks,” Solis said. “We assume her priorities are not in order or she doesn’t want to come, but we don’t actually ask. If we asked, we would know she was in need of relief.”

Solis quoted Moses 7:18 — “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.“

Solis said it is good to ask, “Is your ward a Zion ward? Is there really no poor among you? Poor in spirit, poor in strength? Poor in material needs?”

Relief Society women meet and speak together. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

‘A community of helpers’

Emily Walker from the Highlands Ranch Colorado Stake said “a society of relief means a community of helpers.”

She said her Relief Society sisters have blessed her in varied ways over the years — they have helped her pack, move, clean, shop and talk.

“They have randomly taken me mini golfing on my birthday, brought me meals when I was sick, attended my performances, watched my dog, given me rides when my car was in the shop. … They have spent time with me as friends, grieved with me when I was heartbroken, held my hand in my darkest hours,” she said. 

But most of all, they have taken the time to get to know her. Even though they may have been assigned or called to interact as ministering sisters, they have become real friends and like real family.

“That’s what makes Relief Society so special to me,” she said. “It’s not just serving one another or serving together, it’s the creation of a community where previously none existed.”

‘I’ll come with you’

Anne Berberovic, the Relief Society president in the Paris Ward of the Paris France Stake, invited the women in her ward to read the Book of Mormon in six months — and she said their Relief Society became closer to Jesus Christ because of it.

“I had a sister who had not read it for years, and she told me at the end of the challenge, ‘I felt it changed me,’” Berberovic said. “She said to me, ‘I feel I should read it again.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s read it again. I’ll come with you, I’ll do it again.’”

Anne Berberovic of the Paris Ward in the Paris France Stake, in green, takes notes beside her children during a three-stake conference with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Le Port-Marly, France, on Sunday, April 16, 2023. | Christina Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Berberovic said reading the Book of Mormon made her realize that life is not as complicated or difficult as some may think. 

“I know we are in tumultuous times, but it doesn’t need to be tumultuous to us,” she said. 

Trusting in the Lord and coming closer to Him through the scriptures can create a change in people. 

“I really felt strongly that we do not need to be afraid. We do not need to be afraid to bring kids into the world. If we raise them in the right way, centered on Jesus Christ, that is what will change the world,” she said.

Related Stories
‘Sisters, we can be agents of the Savior’s relief,’ says President Johnson at BYU Women’s Conference
President Camille N. Johnson: ‘Jesus Christ Is Relief’
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