A Worldwide Sisterhood

By Mukai Maphosa, from Zimbabwe

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    Sisters from five different continents give us glimpses of what Relief Society’s mission means to them.

    A Worldwide Sisterhood

    Build Personal Testimony

    A few years ago, I read the Book of Mormon for the first time. In five months my family and I were baptized. Ever since that time, this book has been my constant companion. I have also realized that to study this book, one has to invite the Holy Spirit for guidance and to gain understanding. This book was designed for us today.

    After studying the Book of Mormon, I also qualified to inquire of the Lord as to the truthfulness of this book. This is how I gained my testimony of the gospel.

    I will liken my testimony to a plant in my living room. I have had this plant for many years. I have given shoots to friends, who also have grown to love it. Whenever I moved house, I took it with me. This plant has stayed healthy and green because I regularly give it nourishment. I give it plenty of fresh air and sunshine; otherwise, it would eventually wither and die.

    However, our testimonies are more valuable than the plant I told you about. We also need to share them with others and thus strengthen them. We need to keep in tune with the Spirit so that our testimonies can survive the storms of this life. We can further build our testimonies not only by reading and studying the scriptures but by sharing and teaching the same to others and then gaining the warmth of that charity that “never faileth.”

    The plants and ornaments in our houses we shall leave here on earth. Our testimonies are so priceless. When we return home to Heavenly Father, we shall take them with us. So it is worthwhile building a strong testimony today.

    I love the gospel and I know it is true. I know the Prophet Joseph Smith was called to restore the gospel in these latter days. I know Heavenly Father still calls prophets to teach and guide us today, even our present prophet. Jesus Christ lives and loves us, and I know if we keep our testimonies strong we will meet him some day. I pray in his name, amen.

    Bless the Individual Woman

    “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moro. 10:4.)

    What a beautiful scripture, and how true it is. It deeply reaches into my heart and mind. When two young sister missionaries taught us the true gospel of Jesus Christ, they referred to the Book of Mormon. They taught us at home, along with my four children.

    For the first time, I understood that through the gospel, my son who had died years before could be with me—also that my other children would have the opportunity to love God and Jesus Christ. I have been blessed since the moment I made the most important and correct decision in my life, which was to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    After a year and a half, my husband accepted the gospel, leaving aside all those traditions. He is a good man, a good husband, and a good father.

    We have been sealed as a family in the holy temple of the Lord. I’m the mother of children who have served missions, and I’m the grandmother of seven grandchildren. As if that weren’t enough, my husband is a sealer in the temple and a patriarch in our stake. My children hold callings, and I work in the Relief Society, where I feel love towards my sisters. I’m grateful to my Heavenly Father for having his gospel and for knowing he lives, that Christ is my king and redeemer, and that he lives in my heart. I deeply love him. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel. This gives us the opportunity to know and feel that our prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, is a man guided by God. We have a rare possession, which is the Book of Mormon.

    I testify all this to be true, in the name of Christ Jesus, amen.

    Develop and Exercise Charity

    You would remember the scripture that says, “Clothe yourselves with the bond of charity.” (D&C 88:125.) I understand it is one of the fundamental characteristics of the gospel of Jesus Christ to exercise charity and develop it through Christian service.

    President Kimball said, “Charity is like flowers.” Twenty years ago, I had an interest in oriental flower arrangement. It takes a lot of time and talent to become an instructor of its techniques.

    About ten years ago, I received an instructor’s license. I wanted to share my skill and all of my knowledge with the sisters in the Church. Since then, I have taught the sisters flower arrangement in the church every Friday as one of our Relief Society activities. We have developed our skill, and I hoped the sisters might develop a love for flower arrangement as I did.

    Whenever I taught the sisters, I asked them to learn one of their favorite scriptures by heart and present it in the meeting. Through these classes, the sisters developed good friendship to each other. Harmony is learned and cooperation is cultivated among our sisters through flower arrangement. Some of them have now become instructors, and the floral design at the Seoul Korea Temple is a beautiful work of one of these sisters.

    While we make lovely arrangements by gathering flowers one by one from the flowers scattered on the table, we come to think of less-active members scattered throughout the world and wonder how to gather them together. Just as we can combine each scattered flower into a beautiful flower arrangement, we can gather those scattered, less-active members into our wards and branches. It would be a magnificent art displayed by our sisters for our Heavenly Father.

    I’ve been grateful for the past thirty-eight years in which I have had the privilege to develop and exercise charity, which is given by Heavenly Father, through a variety of service as a member of this true Church. I appreciate him for using one of his daughters as a small tool through the flower arrangement. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    Strengthen Families

    Several years ago, a young man was killed in a tragic car accident. We had all been so excited as we had watched him return to church and, with the help of his family, friends, and a caring bishop, prepare himself to go on a mission. He was to be ordained an elder at our coming stake conference. But now he was gone.

    My husband and I took off our shoes as we entered the family home where the young man’s body lay. His mother sat beside him on the floor. We waited with others to offer our support and love to her. But as my turn came and we held each other close, shedding tears together, she taught me a great lesson. She urged me to walk beside my husband, to strengthen my family, and to always love them. This she did with each one there, giving of her own strength to those gathered there to strengthen her!

    This great Maori woman understood where her son had gone. She knew that families can be eternal. So, with her son in the Lord’s care, she turned her attention to her remaining family and friends to give them understanding and courage to draw their families together in love and righteousness.

    We live in perilous times, when all that is good and moral is questioned, and Satan delights in the instability of the family unit. As Latter-day Saint women, we know the value of being a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother. We know the strength that can be gained through family prayer and scripture study, through home evenings, and through quiet times spent together listening and feeling loved. These are not instant solutions to life’s problems, but slowly and surely they send down and strengthen the roots that will hold us firm when challenges come.

    Let us teach our families “to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28), that we might stand together through time and throughout all eternity. This is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    Enjoy a Unified Sisterhood

    Through much experience, I know that the Lord lives, that he loves me, and that he is always close to me, and thus I am able to gratefully testify that Jesus Christ is the basis of my life. Since I have accepted him, I know that we will find true happiness and peace if we trust in his teachings and always strive to follow him. I know that he invites all people to feel this testimony in their hearts.

    But in order to understand his ways, we have to prepare ourselves. We read in Moroni that only the meek and the truly humble are pleasing before God. (See Moro. 7:44.) This message is particularly important for us today, because love is beginning to wax cold. We all feel it; the struggle for a testimony, for our marriages and families, and for truth, justice, and chastity is becoming more intense.

    Some of us are involved in that struggle and experience disappointment, loss of courage and strength, desperation, and loneliness. Many lose direction, many stand still, many go back, many are just standing there. How important it is to take right then and there the hand that is stretched out and help to find the path again through meekness, humility, and charity—to take by the hand and to look out for each other and to tell them, “You are important; you too are a child of God.” We are on the same path. Let us follow it together. The Lord expects of us to give and to take and to serve each other, not because it is our duty but because we do it out of love—so that his love for all of us, in and outside of the Church, will become alive, and we can feel it and be strong in the unity of a great sisterhood.

    May the Lord bless us to achieve this. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.