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Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Relief Society

Founded in 1842, the Relief Society is one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world, claiming more than 6 million members in over 170 countries and territories.

I am proud to be a part of that great organization.
This past weekend has been a eye & heart opening experience. Last night we had a broadcast from Salt Lake city by the General Relief Society presidency. But before that we got together as a stake (a group of about 6-8 wards {congregations} make up a stake) and had dinner and a program.

In our stake (Redmond) we had a plan this year for all of the sisters (women in the organization) to serve more; give more time to others & in the comment and to report those hours of service that they rendered. Their goal was to have 2009 hours of service.

During the program they had a slide show of pictures that were taken during just a handful of these women serving in our communities. It was good to see all of the women serving others and I'm so grateful to have been a part of that.

Their goal was 2009 hours. But they had reported over 9000 hours.

I gasped at the number.

How wonderful it was to hear that. Even more wonderful is the fact that I was a recipient of some of that service, with my leg injury 'n all. But I was a little sad that because of that injury that I wasn't able to be a part of that number.

Then a light bulb came on.

I had forgotten that just before my injury we had a stake Relief Society "Day of Service" that I was a part of. I was able to go to a retirement home and sing with a bunch of other sisters. It was SO much fun.

So I was a part of that number after all.

Anyways back to the rest of it. It was so great to see so many friends and acquaintances from the past and present. I've been living in this stake now for almost 5 years. When we first moved here I felt like a total outsider. I missed my old stake back home in Canada and yearned for my friends and acquaintances there, because I was well known. I'm not saying I was "popular", but I had grown up in a Tri-Stake area and most people knew me or knew who my mom & dad were. So coming from that to where no one knew me at all, suffices to say that I felt a little sad and lonely.

But low and behold I had the Relief Society. With over 6 million in membership and in a hundred plus countries, I am never alone. Nor do I ever need to feel like I'm alone. No matter where I go I can ALWAYS find the Relief Society.

As I was saying before I've lived in this stake for almost 5 years now and in 4 different wards. So I've gotten to meet and know a lot of people. Going to a stake function (especially one with just the RS sisters, cause we all like to gab!) is like a big sisterhood reunion for me and I just LOVE IT!

Anyways we all gathered to watch this broadcast from SLC and it was seriously the highlight of the year. I had made the decision earlier in the evening that I just wasn't going to go to this event. I had a darn good excuse with my head pain almost being unbearable. But something in kept pushing me to go. Then I got a call from my neighbor (who happens to be my visiting teacher ~ Visiting Teaching ~ another great Relief Society program!) and she asked if I wanted to go with her and as I hummed and hawed about going, I decided I WOULD go after all and drive the carpool as well. We ended up with a car full and we had a blast.

Okay anyways back to the broadcast. It was just awesome. I'm sorry that I can't think of any better word, but it just was. I can remember only going to one of these broadcast meetings ever in my life and with you as my witnesses I will never miss one of them ever again!

I laughed. I cried. I felt loved. I felt joy.

Half way through the meeting we all stood as sisters and sang "How Firm A Foundation", and I was deeply touched. I love singing that hymn, but the words have never touched me so much as they did in that meeting.

I teach (more like lead a discussion) a group of Relief Society sisters on the 4th Sunday of the month during one of our blocks of church. Yesterday happened to be my day to teach. What a high I was on, after attending the Relief Society broadcast the night before and especially having that hymn touch my heart so much. I got to lead a discussion on President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk that he gave last General Conference called The Way of the Disciple. At the end of the discussion I shared the words of the hymn that had touched my heart so greatly. I would like to end this post with the words of that hymn.

It starts out as an individual speaking or praying and then it's as if the Savior Jesus Christ was speaking and then ends with the individual again. I will highlight these in different color so you can see what I mean. It is a more powerful hymn than I had imagined at first. I have a deeper meaning and understanding of it now and I hope you will as well.

Happy Sunday everyone!

How Firm A Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

In ev'ry condition in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

E'en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sov'reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, through all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!


tonksfam said...

Verse 7 is my absolute favorite. It makes me cry every time. When they started singing I thought, "Too bad they probably won't sing the last verse." But then they did it with that wonderful discant from the choir! In case anyone couldn't find me, I was the one blubbering in the middle of the chapel. Wasn't it a wonderful conference?! I can't wait until this weekend :)

Chesney said...

thats the same sunday I teach relief society! last sunday was my first week. yay for relief society

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