Small & Simple Things

Small and Simple Things

Lynn G. Robbins

Of the First Quorum of the Seventy

Lynn G. Robbins
“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).
Church History around the World


During the 1950s, several Nigerians began learning about the Church through magazine articles and Church literature. They sent letters to Church headquarters expressing their desire to learn more about the Church’s teachings.

In response, Church leaders looked into initiating missionary work in the country. However, a civil war, difficulties with visas, and the challenge of having enough local priesthood holders to administer the Church prevented leaders from establishing official Church units in the area.

The Church was finally able to establish a missionary presence in 1978. When the first missionaries arrived, they found large groups of people interested in the gospel. The first baptism was performed in November of that year, and on the same day, the first branch of the Church was organized.

By 1987 Church membership there had reached nearly 10,000, and in 1999, Nigeria had more members of the Church than any other African nation, with membership totaling 42,746. Nigeria now has a temple in Aba, which was dedicated in 2005 by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008).

The Church in Nigeria





Stakes and Districts


Wards and Branches




Above: Members and missionaries of the Church in Nigeria gather to watch general conference. Right: The Aba Nigeria Temple.

How to Improve Family Communication

  • Turn off or put away electronic devices before you begin family gatherings such as meals, scripture study, and family home evening.

  • Try to have at least one meal together every day.

  • Plan regular family activities. They don’t have to be complex. Have a picnic, go on a walk, or play a game together.

  • Have family discussions in which everyone’s opinions or concerns can be voiced. Listen intently without judging or lecturing, and don’t interrupt each other.

How Do You Spend Your Time?

There are 24 hours in a day. You probably spend much of that time sleeping and working (or studying), but you likely have a few hours each day that can be spent on other activities. How much of that time do you spend watching TV or surfing the Internet? If you spent only one hour each day on one of the following ideas, how many goals, projects, or tasks could you complete during a week? a month? a year?

  • Reading the scriptures or memorizing scripture mastery verses.

  • Participating in sports or exercise.

  • Learning a new hobby or talent: cooking, singing, sewing, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, for instance.

  • Participating in family home evening or spending time with your family.

  • Reading a good book.

  • Writing an uplifting letter to a missionary from your ward or branch.

  • Learning a foreign language.

  • Doing family history work.

  • Going home or visiting teaching.

  • Fulfilling your Church calling.

  • Writing in your journal.

Read more about being a wise steward of your time in Elder David A. Bednar’s article on page 16.

In the Words of Church Leaders

Tithing—a Commandment Even for the Destitute

From an April 2005 general conference address.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins

In October of 1998 Hurricane Mitch devastated many parts of Central America. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) was very concerned for the victims of this disaster, many of whom lost everything—food, clothing, and household goods. He visited the Saints in the cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Managua, Nicaragua. And like the words of the loving prophet Elijah to a starving widow, this modern prophet’s message in each city was similar—to sacrifice and be obedient to the law of tithing.

But how can you ask someone so destitute to sacrifice? President Hinckley knew that the food and clothing shipments they received would help them survive the crisis, but his concern and love for them went far beyond that. As important as humanitarian aid is, he knew that the most important assistance comes from God, not from man. The prophet wanted to help them unlock the windows of heaven as promised by the Lord in the book of Malachi (see Malachi 3:10; Mosiah 2:24).

President Hinckley taught them that if they would pay their tithing, they would always have food on their tables, they would always have clothing on their backs, and they would always have a roof over their heads.

President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Church members in Honduras following the hurricane in 1998.

Increasing My Testimony

As I work to develop my testimony of Jesus Christ, I find that consistently doing simple things allows my testimony to grow. Because I strive to pray, go to church, read the Book of Mormon, and stand as a witness of Christ, my testimony of the Savior continues to increase.

Although there are trials and problems that present themselves, I have been able to avoid things that would be harmful to me by listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, who teaches me the paths I should choose.

As I follow the counsel given by the leaders of the Church, I feel my testimony grow and I know that I am coming closer to my Father in Heaven.

Eng Sodavy, Cambodia

Great Lives Remembered

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)

Ezra Taft Benson was the great-grandson of an Apostle whose name he bore. Raised on a farm in Whitney, Idaho, he could, by the age of five, already drive a team of horses.

He later became an expert on farming and on the issues that affected farmers and served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1953 to 1961. At that time Secretary Benson was already Elder Benson, having been called as an Apostle in 1943. Elder Benson served in the U.S. government with the permission of Church President David O. McKay (1873–1970). The Bensons, with their emphasis on family and down-to-earth values, were the subject of many print articles and even TV programs, and the Church benefited from the favorable publicity. Because he never wavered in his convictions, even those who opposed Secretary Benson’s farm policies admired him for his integrity.

One of the most remarkable periods of Elder Benson’s life came immediately after World War II when the relatively new Apostle was sent by the Church to Europe in 1946 to reestablish contact with Church members and to arrange for relief supplies. Much of Europe was in ruins, travel and communications were under military control, and civilian travel was restricted. But through faith and frequent divine intervention, Elder Benson visited 13 nations, bringing both temporal and spiritual relief to thousands.

Ezra Taft Benson became President of the Church on November 10, 1985, following the death of President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985). One of the hallmarks of his administration was a renewed emphasis on studying the Book of Mormon.

For more about President Benson’s life, see July 1994 Tambuli at

Above: President Benson while Secretary of Agriculture on the cover of Time magazine, 1953. Left: In 1946, following World War II, President Benson traveled throughout Europe to help arrange for delivery of relief supplies.

Temple Spotlight

Buenos Aires Argentina Temple

President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple in January 1986. In the dedicatory prayer he said, “May all who enter this, Thy house, be privileged to say, as did the Psalmist of old, ‘We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company’” 1 (see Psalm 55:14).

The beautiful six-spire temple has an exterior of light gray Argentine granite and is a highly visible landmark when entering the city from the airport. It was the first temple built in Argentina and the fourth in South America.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recounts that the “marvelous commitment of the Saints of South America was demonstrated by the dear sisters hand crocheting sixty-four altar cloths for the Buenos Aires temple when only seven were requested.” 2

A missionary training center and a patron housing facility were built adjacent to the temple and dedicated in 1994.


  1.   1.

    See “Dedicatory Prayer,”

  2.   2.

    M. Russell Ballard, “The Kingdom Rolls Forth in South America,” Ensign, May 1986, 12.

Giving Back to Your Community

Looking to serve in your community in a meaningful way? Think of your personal interests. There are clubs and organizations whose missions—from watching nature to researching family histories—align with your hobbies and talents. Talk to your friends, and find out how they choose to contribute. Perhaps you share common interests.

Rea Gregson Skelton, Canada

Left, from top: photograph by John Olu Faoseke; photograph by Matthew Reier; illustration by Beth M. Whittaker; right, from top: background © Getty Images; photograph courtesy of Deseret News; photograph by Chad E. Phares

Clockwise from top left: President Ezra Taft Benson ©; Buenos Aires Argentina Temple, photograph by Nestor Curbelo; photograph by Christina Smith; photograph courtesy of Church History Library.