Reaching out in love and service: Highlights from the April 2016 General Women’s Session

The General Women’s Session of the 2016 April General Conference was inspiring and motivating. Each of the speakers addressed the need to reach out to others in love and service. I am prayerfully studying these messages and seeking the Lord’s help to be a better tool in his hands. Here are some of the key messages from the talks that I want to highlight and remember for myself and my family. 

Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, “He Asks Us to Be His Hands”. 
Scriptures: John 13:34, acts 10:38, Luke 9:24

Be someone who reaches out to know and serve others–throw away the mirrors and look through the window.

When children learn how to love and serve others when they are young, they set a pattern of service for the rest of their lives. Often children teach the rest of us that showing love and service doesn’t have to be big and grandiose to be meaningful and make a difference.

Sisters, some of you listening may feel stretched to capacity ministering to the needs of family members. Remember, in those routine and often mundane tasks, you are “in the service of your God.”

Others of you might be feeling an emptiness that could be filled as you look into your neighborhood or community for opportunities to help ease another’s burdens.

All of us can incorporate some service into our daily living. We live in a contentious world. We give service when we don’t criticize, when we refuse to gossip, when we don’t judge, when we smile, when we say thank you, and when we are patient and kind.

Other kinds of service take time, intentional planning, and extra energy. But they are worth our every effort. Perhaps we could start by asking ourselves these questions:

  • Who in my circle of influence could I help today?
  • What time and resources do I have?
  • In what ways can I use my talents and skills to bless others?
  • What might we do as a family?

I have come to know that it is the love of God and neighbor that give meaning to life. May we follow our Savior’s example and His admonition to reach out to others with love.

Sister  Neill F. Marriott, “What Shall We Do?”
Women and sisters, what shall we do?

We build the kingdom when we nurture others.

Love is making space in your life for someone else.

Mothers literally make room in their bodies to nurture an unborn baby–and hopefully a place in their hearts as they raise them–but nurturing is not limited to bearing children. Eve was called a “mother” before she had children. I believe that “to mother” means “to give life.”

We also build the kingdom when we speak up and testify of truth.

Sister Julie B. Beck, former Relief Society general president, taught: “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. … It requires a conscious effort.”

I am glad to be a mother, and I promise you I will do everything in my power to nurture my children in such a way that they will make the world a better place.”

Sister Linda K. Burton, “I Was a Stranger”.
There are more than 60 million refugees, including forcibly displaced people, worldwide. Half of those are children.

The First Presidency invited individuals, families, and Church units to participate in Christlike service in local refugee relief projects and to contribute to the Church humanitarian fund, where practical.

Each member of this worldwide sisterhood has covenanted at baptism to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

With these truths in mind, we have organized a relief effort called “I Was a Stranger.” It is our hope that you will prayerfully determine what you can do–according to your own time and circumstance–to serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities. This is an opportunity to serve one on one, in families, and by organization to offer friendship, mentoring, and other Christlike service and is one of many ways sisters can serve.

And the Savior said: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me.”

As we consider the “pressing calls” of those who need our help, let’s ask ourselves, “What if their story were my story?” May we then seek inspiration, act on impressions we receive, and reach out in unity to help those in need as we are able and inspired to do so. Perhaps then it might be said of us, as the Savior said of a loving sister who ministered to Him: “She hath wrought a good work. … She hath done what she could.”

President Henry B. Eyring, ” Trust in That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good”. 

The feeling of greatest importance is love.

A second feeling you have had tonight was the influence of the Holy Ghost. “And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good–yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit” (D&C 11:12).

The third feeling you have had tonight is that you want to be closer to the Savior.

The first thing you must commit to do is to go and serve, knowing that you do not go alone. When you go to comfort and serve anyone for the Savior, He prepares the way before you.

The second thing you must do is remember the Lord as you go in service for Him.

The third thing I hope they will do is to be personally modest about their good works.

My prayer for the sisters in the kingdom, wherever they may be or in whatever circumstances, is that their faith in the Savior and gratitude for His Atonement will lead them to do all they can for those God asks them to serve. As they do, I promise that they will move up the path to become holy women whom the Savior and our Heavenly Father will welcome warmly and reward.

I witness that we grow closer to the Savior as we, out of pure love, serve others for Him.

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