Sunday, September 26, 2010

Relief Society Broadcast with "The Girls"

Last night was the annual Relief Society General Broadcast.  I met up with Lisa, Auntie, Cindy, and Natalie and we went to the broadcast at their stake center.  Their stake does a really nice dinner each year right before the broadcast but this year, we all decided to forego the dinner and go out to dinner at Chompies afterward.  Great decision!

So, we got to the broadcast and were able to all sit on one bench together which was great since the chapel was pretty full when we got there.  I was having a pretty bad afternoon emotionally and I cried steadily during the better part of the first half hour.

Sister Beck gave an excellent talk about focusing in our lives on what's important and how we need to focus more on prayer and scripture study.  She really made me think about how I struggle with both of those.  Prayer should be so easy.  Why isn't it easy for me?  I've already blogged about my struggle with scripture study, but it just continues.  I don't like to read.  I don't "get" the parables in the scriptures.  I don't remember the stories.  I just don't find pleasure in reading the scriptures.  I WANT to study the scriptures.  I WANT to find pleasure in reading the scriptures.  I WANT to draw closer to my Savior through the history in the scriptures.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? 

We then sang "Carry On" as sisters all across the world.  I am always overcome with emotion when I hear hundreds of sisters singing together.  The Spirit just touches my heart tremendously.  I usually am touched by certain words of the verses.  Today, there were only two words in the song that I NEEDED to hear...carry on.  Yes, just "Carry On."  I thought about those words and how applicable they were to me at that exact moment with what was bothering me that day.  For now, I can only carry on.  I cannot make the problem go away.  I cannot change the problem.  I tried.  So, I will carry on.

Sister Beck also spoke about the history of Relief Society:
Our presidency has prayed, fasted, pondered, and counseled with prophets, seers, and revelators to learn what God would have us do to help His daughters be strong in the face of “the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth.” An answer has come that the sisters of the Church should know and learn from the history of Relief Society. Understanding the history of Relief Society strengthens the foundational identity and worth of faithful women.  In consequence of this, a history of Relief Society for the Church is being completed and will be available for our use next year. In anticipation of this, Relief Society history is receiving increased attention, such as on the visiting teaching page of the Liahona and the Ensign. The preparation of the history has been an inspired and revelatory experience.  As we have studied the history of Relief Society, we have learned that the Lord’s vision and purpose for Relief Society was not of a sleepy meeting on Sunday. He had in mind something much, much bigger than a women’s club or special-interest entertainment group.  He intended Relief Society to help build His people and prepare them for the blessings of the temple. He established this organization to align His daughters with His work and to enlist their help in building His kingdom and strengthening the homes of Zion.
I thought about my ancestors and how they were some of the very first members of the church and were there when the Relief Society was formed.  I am so grateful for the deep roots I have in the church!

After Sister Beck, Sister Allred spoke.  I love listening to her.  She has the sweetest little accent.  She spoke of remaining steadfast and immovable.  If we are faithful and endure to the end, we will receive all of Heavenly Father’s blessings, even eternal life and exaltation.
I will ask each of you tonight the same questions I have asked many of you in our conversations:
  1. What helps you be steadfast and immovable as you face the challenges that try your faith?
  2. What sustains you through trials and adversity?
  3. What helps you endure and become a true disciple of Christ?
Some of the answers you have given me include:

  1. Your knowledge that Heavenly Father loves you and cares for you.
  2. Your hope that through Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, all the blessings promised to the faithful will be fulfilled.
  3. Your knowledge of the plan of redemption.
She later asked how we can strengthen our belief in those affirmations and gave four ways that have helped her:  prayer, scripture study, service, and obedience.  Notice the first two...prayer and scripture study again.  I know they are important...I need to improve!

Sister Thompson's talk focused on Visiting Teaching and compassion.  She said:  The beauty of visiting teaching is seeing lives changed, tears wiped away, testimonies growing, people loved, families strengthened.

These are some of the points she made were:
  • The many times the scriptures speak of the love and compassion Christ had for everyone.
  • In the New Testament we read often that Christ was “moved with compassion” upon the people as He responded to their needs.
  • Compassion means to feel love and mercy toward another person. It means to have sympathy and desire to relieve the suffering of others. It means to show kindness and tenderness toward another.
  • I am one who has visited several women each month and then proudly declared with a sigh of relief, “My visiting teaching is done!” Well, the part I report on may be done, but if that is the only reason I do it, what a shame.
  • The beauty of visiting teaching is not to see 100 percent on the monthly report; the beauty of visiting teaching is seeing lives changed, tears wiped away, testimonies growing, people loved, families strengthened, people cheered, the hungry fed, the sick visited, and those who are mourning comforted.
  • Sometimes the message will be the most important thing you share on a particular visit. Some women have little spiritual enrichment in their lives except for the message you will bring.
  • At times the most important blessing about your visit will be to just listen. Listening brings comfort, understanding, and healing. Still another time you may need to roll up your sleeves and go to work.
  • Not all experiences related to visiting teaching are warm and wonderful. Sometimes it is hard, such as visiting a home where you really aren’t welcome or when it is difficult to meet with a sister with a very busy schedule. It may take longer to build a good relationship with some sisters. But when we truly seek to love, care for, and pray for the sister, the Holy Ghost will help us find a way to watch over and strengthen her.
  • The women we visit teach have been entrusted to our care.
Sister Thompson's smile when she spoke of visiting teaching was infectious.  She made me WANT to do my visiting teaching because those sisters need me and I need them, not just because we're commanded to do so.

We then sang More Holiness Give Me.  I love that song and have blogged about it before.  But, last night, the words again just melted through to my heart and caused me to feel the Savior's love for me even more regarding the troubled feelings I was having:

More holiness give me,
More strivings within,
More patience in suff’ring,
More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior,
More sense of his care,
More joy in his service,
More purpose in prayer.

President Monson spoke last and as always, he was fantastic.  He spoke on charity and how charity never faileth.  But first, he talked about judging others.  He shared the following anecdote:

A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.  “That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”  John looked on but remained silent.  Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.  A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”  John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

That really made me think more about the judgments I place on others.  I thought of the words from the hymn, "Lord, I Would Follow Thee," which are, "Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly?"  At that moment I made a commitment to try harder not to judge others.

President Monson also shared a quote from the Catholic nun, Mother Teresa:  “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  He also reminded us that the Savior himself said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.

He also said, "Charity, that pure love of Christ, is manifest when a group of young women from a singles ward travels hundreds of miles to attend the funeral services for the mother of one of their Relief Society sisters. Charity is shown when devoted visiting teachers return month after month, year after year to the same uninterested, somewhat critical sister. It is evident when an elderly widow is remembered and taken to ward functions and to Relief Society activities. It is felt when the sister sitting alone in Relief Society receives the invitation, 'Come—sit by us.'"

I want to be better at providing charity to others...for that is what the Lord asks of us and I want to follow Him.

This meeting was so uplifting.  Even though I still felt the troubles of circumstances earlier in the day on my heart, my heart was lifted up and I felt somewhat better.  I was so glad I didn't listen to Satan's voice telling me to just stay home.  It was so very worth every teardrop and every mile.  We posed outside the church building to capture the memory:

After the meeting was over, we girls headed over to Chompies for dinner.  We started off with some onion strings and salads.  Oh, and the pickles.  Can't forget the pickles!  (I desperately wanted to take pictures, but my camera battery had died and I hadn't had time to charge it fully before I left to head over for the evening.)  Soon our dinners arrived.  Auntie and I had the pastrami on rye.  Natalie had a burger, and Lisa and Cindy had the Jewish sliders.  Everything was just awesome.  We rolled on out and headed home for the evening.  What an uplifting evening it was....just what I needed!

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Yes, it was what we all needed. It was good to all be together.

Love You!