New Zealand Saints Gather for Video Conference
All New Zealand stakes participated in a nationwide video conference in mid-May, where members of the Church were addressed by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Paul V. Johnson, a member of the Seventy; Sister Linda S. Reeves, Second Counsellor in the General Relief Society Presidency; and Elder Steven E. Snow, of the Presidency of the Seventy.
Several members share how the messages touched their hearts:
Shannon Gibson – Albany Ward, Harbour Stake: “I found Elder Bednar's talk on personal 'Testimony and Conversion', truly inspiring. Being a relatively new convert to the Church, I initially struggled with my understanding of a testimony. I was baptised and lived according to my covenants, but I was not convinced that I had my own personal testimony of the Gospel. I think I expected something really profound and instantaneous to take place at baptism. Though this may be the case for some, in my experience it was somewhat different...
It is an exciting journey of personal discovery and realisation that everything begins with the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father. I understand each person experiences their conversion in a unique manner. For me it has been an extraordinary process which began with a righteous desire, humility in asking Heavenly Father in fervent prayer, for that which I desire, acceptance of the answer to my prayers, and obedience in keeping my covenants, which results in the continuous growth in testimony and ongoing conversion. I better understand and appreciate the scripture ”line upon line, precept upon precept“.
Renee Solomon – Waipuna Ward, Panmure Stake: ”As I sat in conference, I was moved by the comments of Elder Paul V. Johnson and Elder David A. Bednar. I found comfort knowing that the brethren of the Church appreciate the efforts and challenges mothers of young children face. As Elder Johnson acknowledged his own mothers experiences, I felt connected to other women of the Church who too, share the same joy and frustration raising young children can bring. Elder Bednar's talk reminded me to continually replenish our 'oil of conversion', and that we cannot rely on past experiences and other people to prepare us for the Saviour's coming.“
Paul Bennallack – Takapuna Ward, Harbour Stake: ”I am very grateful to have attended the New Zealand Stake Conference. I enjoyed all of the talks but in particular the remarks from Elder Paul V. Johnson and Elder David A. Bednar. Elder Johnson spoke about the great role and importance of mothers. My own mother passed away earlier this year, and Elder Johnson's comments reminded me of the great influence and wonderful example that my mother has been, and continues to be in my life. I loved the insight that Elder Bednar's teachings provided on the difference between 'testimony' and 'conversion'. Using the parable of the ten virgins, he strongly emphasised that the lamps represented our testimonies and the oil represented our conversion. As Elder Bednar spoke I certainly felt the spirit bear witness that each of us must be truly converted (have oil in our lamps), and not just have a testimony (a lamp). I felt very blessed to hear an Apostle teach and bear witness of this important principle. It was a wonderful conference and I am committed to be more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ“.
Nicola Petty – Merivale Ward, Christchurch Stake: ”Elder Bednar's talk was inspiring, particularly linking testimony with conversion, and the idea of burying our 'weapons of rebellion'.
We found Elder Johnson's talk uplifting and reassuringly real. We like the idea that with nine children it was a wonder his mother ever 'found her temper'. We all appreciated that the leaders are aware of the challenges we are facing in Christchurch as a result of the earthquakes. It was gratifying that they have seen and thus have a first-hand inkling of what we are all facing.“
Talitimu Toleafoa – Massey Ward, Henderson Stake: ”I liked the way Elder Bednar counselled us about going back to the basics, and being converted. Sister Reeves' talk tied in with that by reminding us that we have to be spiritually converted and fed every day, and can do that by having family and personal prayer, family and personal scripture study, holding family home evening, and attending the temple.
As a family we met together after the conference to discuss the talks, and taught our children that we need to be fully converted to the gospel, so that when trials and tribulations come, those challenges are a blessing in our lives, and not a burden.“
Pauline AhChee – Torbay Ward, Harbour Stake: ”I loved conference, it was so personal for New Zealand. What they said was specifically for the Saints here. Everyone who spoke has some connection to our country, or has been here. The speakers always seem to talk about something that is relevant in my life right now. It was uplifting, and I came away feeling renewed, and strengthened.“
Adolf Johansson – Lynfield Ward, Mt. Roskill Stake: ”The conference was very inspirational; all the speakers spoke on topics that were very dear to the hearts of the people. Elder Bednar's sermon on continual conversion, and how to be converted unto Christ and never fall away was well received. We are also pleased with the translation of these proceedings, as it was very helpful to those who speak little English.“
Photo Credit: Image courtesy of LDS Media Library