In 2002, Robin Pedersen of Centerville, Utah, was diagnosed with colon cancer. For the next six years she underwent chemotherapy; in 2008 she was told her prognosis was good.
But in November of 2010, she learned the cancer had returned. Now battling stage-four, inoperable cancer, she had to accept there were many things she could no longer do. "It has been a long road," she said. "I have just spent weeks and weeks in this house."
Still, she said, "Relief Society has taught me how to make myself happy. Even though I am not in the position I want to be in right now, I know how to make myself happy."
She enjoyed reading in Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, about the efforts of early Latter-day Saint women to help build the Nauvoo Temple (DIMK p. 22).
Touched by their sacrifice, Sister Pedersen wrote in the margin of her book: "So much work went into the Nauvoo Temple. The Lord knew it would not last. But strength and sacrifice were built."
Sister Pedersen is able to apply the lesson to her life today. "That is what I kind of think about this time of my life. It is building strength and it is building sacrifice. We all have trials."
Because of her illness, she hasn't been to Relief Society since November. "But I feel such a part of it. A lot of it is because of the care and love that my Relief Society sisters have given me. Some of it is that I have been able to thank them and give back to them just through a call or a note."
Sister Pedersen said it is easier to serve than to be the one receiving service. "But that is not the gospel to just give and give and give. The gospel is that we take care of each other."
Quoting Lucy Mack Smith, she added, "We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together" (DIMK p. 25).