In the council in heaven, "We shouted for joy about a test!" said Cheryl Brown during the closing session of Women's Conference at BYU April 29.
Sister Brown, associate dean in the College of Humanities at BYU, was one of two speakers who spoke at the closing session of the two-day conference. The other speaker was Veronica Ekelund, Relief Society president of the Stockholm Sweden Stake. Conducting the closing session, which was held in the Marriott Center at BYU, was Aileen H. Clyde, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.Speaking of the council in heaven, Sister Brown referred to Job 38:7 and Abraham 3:24-25, and said: "We wanted this opportunity
to come to earthT. We knew what it meant. We knew that this life was the school of godhood. And our Father whom we loved and who loved us had designed the curriculum and our Brother whom we loved and who loved us would be the Master Teacher.
"Now the schoolwork is upon us," she declared, and explained that the tests of life seem to fall into two categories - tests of understanding and tests of time.
In speaking about covenants, Sister Brown asked those assembled: "Can we really do as this conference theme suggests and `Lift up
ourT heart and rejoice' without totally shutting our eyes to reality? I believe the answer is a resounding `Yes!' "
She added, "The covenants we make on this earth are designed to lead us out of our complexities, to help us keep covenants made long ago. If we cleave unto our covenants, we have reason to rejoice both in this life and in the next."
Sister Ekelund told those assembled about a service project her stake conducted in commemoration of the Relief Society sesquicentennial in 1992. For the project, the Handen Ward, in which Sister Ekelund resides, helped children in an orphanage in Syktyvkar, Russia.
Handen Ward members collected such items as soap, powdered milk, a refrigerator, sewing machines, tools, clothes, shoes, toys and tableware for the orphanage. The items - in 258 boxes - were shipped by truck and train to Syktyvkar.
The following December, the ward arranged for the orphans and their leaders to visit Stockholm.
Continuing, Sister Ekelund explained that three families from the ward last summer visited the orphanage for its 20th anniversary. During that visit, the director of the orphanage said: "When we have dark days here - and I can assure you, at times it feels like we cannot go on - I gather the children around me and we talk about our friends in Sweden. We talk about all you have done for us, and in particular, the joy that radiates when you smile. We believe that joy comes from your faith. Please, give us your smiles. And your faith."