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Church leader issues invitation to help LDS young adults overcome 'sense of emptiness and gloom'

Just five weeks after President Russell M. Nelson’s general conference address call to Church members to minister, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy invited young adults to act on that call, likening it to when Christ called His apostles to serve during His earthly ministry and then when He directed Peter to feed His sheep.

“With all the distractions around us and so many lesser things demanding our attention, the challenge is to respond to this invitation and act — actually do something to really make a change and live different,” said Elder Kearon in his May 6 Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults held in the BYU-Idaho Center.

Speaking on the transformative power of service and ministering, he called them an “opportunity to rise out of ourselves; grow in faith, confidence and happiness; and overcome our self-focus and the sense of emptiness and gloom which comes with it.”

Elder Kearon instructed the young adults to start with prayer. “Ask your Father in Heaven what you might do, and for whom. ... Respond to any impression you receive, however insignificant it might seem. Act on it.”

He also listed three kinds of service, the first being service assigned as a responsibility at church, which was addressed during general conference. “We will strive for the kind of ministry that is treasured, not measured, where we think about, pray for and help those we have been given the responsibility to care for,” Elder Kearon said.

Second is service done of one’s own volition, with no formal assignment, “but we are motivated by a desire to follow Christ, starting by being more kind and considerate to those around us,” Elder Kearon said.

And third is public service, with young adults able to serve on school boards, charities and in local, regional and national governments, he said. “I would encourage men and women alike to engage this way. Where appropriate, involve yourself in politics with an eye on service and building individuals and communities.”

Just as important as knowing how to minister is to know why, as one grows though a myriad of experiences. “Learning to look outward, not inward, and serve one another is so much a part of our purpose here. In fact, it is at the heart of it,” Elder Kearon said.

“President Nelson is laying out a higher and holier pattern of service for you and me. When we respond, we will discover how fulfilling, liberating and calming it is for us, and how we can be an agent for change and comfort in the lives of others.”

While serving in the Church’s Europe Area, Elder Kearon witnessed this principle of ministering being applied to great effect as members of the Church and other faiths mobilized to help thousands of refugees fleeing from war in the Middle East.

“Seeing a need, seeing brothers and sisters, seeing His lambs, our people stepped in to help, clothe, feed, shelter and comfort these refugees who had lost everything. In doing so, those who helped were transformed,” Elder Kearon said. “They were blessed with light, energy and joy that they had either never experienced before or that had faded as they focused on self and life’s mundane routines.”

Saying the Church is one of action, he added: “Let this be a defining characteristic of who you are. This is the way we find joy and peace, because this is one of the highest, best and most tangible ways to follow the example of the Savior.”

Elder Kearon promised those responding to the invitation to minister will be transformed, will become more selfless and will discover joy. “Choose to respond to this invitation and pray today to know what you can do now, and then continue to do so each morning. When you see and feel the blessings this brings to you and to those you minister to, you will want to make this a daily pattern,” he said.

Sister Jennifer Kearon, Elder Kearon’s wife, also spoke during the devotional. Her remarks focused on the infinite worth of God’s children. “Learning to find, feel and understand our individual worth regardless of what other people might think or say about us is critical to our lifelong emotional and spiritual wellbeing,” she said.

Everyone is of unlimited, boundless and endless worth to Heavenly Father. No matter what one is struggling with, “You are enough,” Sister Kearon said. “He loves you just the way you are, right here, right now, in all your beautiful messiness.”

The devotional was broadcast online and to stake centers around the world. To view the devotional, visit devotionals.lds.org.