“‘When I got married,’ says Consolacion Pilobello of Pasay City, Philippines, ‘I didn’t know how to cook, and I was too superstitious to go to a doctor and get prenatal care. Our first baby died.’
“She begins to cry. ‘If only I had been a member of the Church then, we could have saved that baby!’
“After baptism, she learned in Relief Society about water purification, sanitation, nutrition, first aid, and immunizations. ‘I learned how to take care of my children, myself, and my family,’ she says. Her next seven babies were healthy. She is now ward homemaking leader—teaching what she has learned.” (Ensign, July 1991, pp. 34–35.)
Consolacion is one of many women who have benefited from the Relief Society’s homemaking program, with its goal of helping “strengthen sisters in meeting daily challenges and living the gospel in the home.” (Relief Society Handbook, p. 6.)
In what ways have homemaking activities blessed our lives?
In 1831 the Lord counseled those around Joseph Smith: “When ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other.” (D&C 43:8.) To edify, meaning to instruct, improve, or enlighten, is a word related to the word building. Through covenants made with our Heavenly Father, we are linked in the sisterhood of the Relief Society, where we build character, confidence, skills, faith, homes, and families.
Women worldwide describe practical and spiritual blessings that come from their homemaking activities.
One singles ward refers to this time as “enrichment meeting” because they are learning and doing things together.
In Auckland, New Zealand, leaders are training women to help children with learning disabilities and to support the divorced, the widowed, the abused, and the terminally ill.
On her recent trip to Africa, Relief Society general president Elaine Jack found the leaders using “homemaking meetings to help … members … save money at home. One group … learned how to make solar boxes and insulated hot boxes for cooking to help reduce their reliance on costly cooking fuel.” (Church News, 21 Sept. 1991, p. 3.)
How can the homemaking program meet the interests and needs of every sister?
Homemaking workshops can be units of service. One group in Argentina sewed a wardrobe of clothes for a young sister in their ward, making it possible for her to go on a mission. Veronica Dallender of Pretoria, South Africa, learned to make knitted lap rugs in her homemaking meeting. When they gave them to the aged, Veronica said, “One blind woman, eighty-six years old, made me tell her all the colors in her rug and had me run her fingers over it again and again to get the feel of it. That day we came away counting our blessings!”
In Grants Pass, Oregon, where Relief Society women “blanketed” their county with eighty-seven quilts for underprivileged people, the stake Relief Society president, Louise Champneys, explained, “One of the interesting by-products … was the esprit de corps it built into homemaking meetings.”
We invite you to realize the full potential of homemaking meetings to bless lives through learning, sharing, doing, and rendering service.
How can we help foster a spirit of service and sisterhood?