Relief Society message: By small and simple ways
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Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, taught that “when you love, watch over and serve others in small and simple ways, you are actively participating in the work of salvation.”
For one young woman living in California, a good example of living the gospel led her to finding the peace and joy the gospel brings.
Lauren Flores, of the Norwalk Ward in the Cerritos California Stake, had many friends in high school. Although none of them were members of the Church, she was able to live the commandments and standards daily and still love and respect her non-member friends. Stephany Ruiz was one of those friends with whom she shared many experiences, but upon graduation they lost track of each other.
Stephany moved away to Virginia, married and had two children. Life’s difficulties began to overcome her, and she soon found herself recalling the joy and love she remembered feeling when she associated with her friend, Lauren. She knew Lauren was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and felt compelled to search for her on Facebook.
There she learned that Lauren was serving as a full-time missionary in the Texas Houston East Mission. Wanting to learn more about the Church, Stephany wrote a letter to Lauren expressing her desire. Lauren was ecstatic to reconnect with her friend and immediately replied to her letter, including a pamphlet about the Restoration.
Unbeknownst to Lauren, Stephany had already made contact with the sister missionaries even before the letter arrived. Gospel principles taught by the sister missionaries brought peace, comfort and the Spirit. It was exactly what she knew to be missing in her life. Her burdens were lifted when she attended Church with the missionaries, and she felt that she was not alone.
Stephany made the decision to move back to California where Lauren’s family lived. Since Lauren was still serving her full-time mission, she passed along Stephany’s contact information to her family and they began to help in fellowshiping. On Oct. 19, 2013, Lauren’s father baptized her friend, Stephany.
Recalling these events, Lauren said, “It is so amazing to me how our Father in Heaven prepares people to receive the gospel. I have reflected since then, how even in high school Heavenly Father knew what would transpire years down the line because of our friendship.”
As it teaches in Mosiah 18:10, Church members are “to stand as a witness at all times and in all things, and in all places.” By keeping her covenants made at baptism, Lauren was able to provide a powerful, sustaining and influential example to her friend.
“I know this is His work,” Lauren said. “I have such a testimony that we are all involved in the work of salvation more than we think.”
Counsel from Church leaders
“Whatever our age, capacity, Church calling or location, we are as one called to the work to help Him in His harvest of souls.” ?— President Henry B. Eyring, “We Are One,” April 2013 general conference
“May we, both members and missionaries, ever be united in fulfilling our missionary purpose to help others come unto Christ. May we be a light and a beacon to all the earth and particularly to God’s children who are seeking the Lord’s blessings.”? — Elder L. Tom Perry, “Missionary Work in the Digital Age,” 2013 Worldwide leadership training
“As surely as the Lord has inspired more missionaries to serve, He is also awakening the minds and opening the hearts of more good and honest people to receive His missionaries. You already know them or will know them. They are in your family and live in your neighborhood. They walk past you on the street, sit by you in school and connect with you online. You too are an important part of this unfolding miracle.”?— Elder Neil L. Andersen, “It’s a Miracle,” April 2013 general conference