Making Use of the “Shining Moments”
Contributed by Charity Fleming of the Kitchener Ontario Stake
“Noah built the ark while the sun was shining,” said President David L. Heap, second counsellor in the Kitchener Ontario Stake presidency, during opening remarks at the stake’s Emergency Preparedness Expo,“Prepare Now - Learn How,”, held in May this year. The people in Noah’s day might have looked at the shining skies and thought it bizarre that he was building an ark, President Heap continued, but knowing what lay ahead Noah persisted in his task of preparation as directed by Heavenly Father. Although the sun was shining and rain clouds could not be seen, Noah was obedient and prepared for himself, his family and those who would heed his warnings, for the flood that was to come.
We too are to follow the counsel we have been given, both scripturally – “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come” (D&C 1:12) – and by our present day church leaders, such as Elder Robert D. Hales who advised us to “prepare for the ups and downs of life.”
Its biannual Emergency Preparedness Expo is one way the Kitchener Stake endeavours to follow those admonitions. This year’s Expo coinciding with Canada’s National Emergency Preparedness Week [May 5-11] was attended by over 500 people to over 20 display booths including several from community organizations. These booths provided information, interactive games and demonstrations covering all areas of self-reliance such as, food and water storage, alternative heating and communication, as well as emotional, spiritual and medical preparedness.
Expo organizers also ensured the event offered several activities for children, including a bouncy castle, face painting and balloon art, so their parents could visit the display booths at a relaxed pace and proved to be a very important aspect to the success of the event.
Among the attendees was Jane Mitchell who has served for over 20 years as a municipal councillor for the the Waterloo Region where the stake is located. In her welcoming remarks at the commencement of the Expo, she offered these comments: “We are having more sudden storms, tornadoes and emergencies as the climate changes. We also need to be prepared for a potential pandemic flu. The Region of Waterloo government has an emergency plan for the area, however when preparing, it is important to think of a potential one-third police, fire, emergency and health care staff in the area [themselves] being sick...Be prepared.” Councillor Mitchell also thanked the event organizers for helping the public be better prepared for emergencies, commended the Expo blog spot web page and suggested that anyone can be better prepared if they, (1) know the risks, and (2) have an emergency kit.
Attendee surveys indicated that more than 85% of those attending agreed or strongly agreed that they were now better prepared for emergencies because of attending the Expo.
A church hymn advises us to “Improve the Shining Moments”. Consistent with President Heap’s remarks, we should use the shining moments we have now while the sun is out and high in the sky to prepare ourselves and others for emergencies that could arise at any time.