Selah Stake Conference

2015-11-22 Selah Stake Conference (2)This morning we had our Sunday Session of Stake Conference in the Selah Stake.  This session was broadcast to several buildings in the stake, from Ellensburg to Terrace Heights.  We still packed the building.  Elder Call presided and heard wonderful messages.

President spoke on choosing faith in a world that doesn’t value faith.  In the Priesthood Session of General Conference last month, President Uchtdorf said:

Satan, our adversary, wants us to fail. He spreads lies as part of his effort to destroy our belief. He slyly suggests that the doubter, the skeptic, the cynic is sophisticated and intelligent, while those who have faith in God and His miracles are naive, blind, or brainwashed. Satan will advocate that it is cool to doubt spiritual gifts and the teachings of true prophets.

I wish I could help everyone to understand this one simple fact: we believe in God because of things weknow with our heart and mind, not because of things wedo not know.  Our spiritual experiences are sometimes too sacred to explain in worldly terms, but that doesn’t mean they are not real.

Heavenly Father has prepared for His children a spiritual feast, offering every kind of exquisite food imaginable—and yet, instead of enjoying these spiritual gifts, the cynics content themselves with observing from a distance, sipping from their cups of skepticism, doubt, and disrespect.

Why would anyone walk through life satisfied with the light from the candle of their own understanding when, by reaching out to our Heavenly Father, they could experience the bright sun of spiritual knowledge that would expand their minds with wisdom and fill their souls with joy?

Then he talked about hope that comes from faith, which becomes an anchor for our souls.  What a gift this can be in our lives!

Ether 12:4

4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

President Uchtdorf:
But it should not surprise us that faith is not valued by society. The world has a long history of rejecting that which it does not understand. And it has particular trouble understanding things it cannot see. But just because we cannot see something with our physical eyes does not mean it doesn’t exist. Indeed, “there are more things in heaven and earth … than are dreamt of” in our textbooks, scientific journals, and worldly philosophies.  The universe is filled with wonders profound and astonishing—things that can be comprehended only through spiritual eyes.

2015-11-22 Selah Stake Conference (6)When it was my turn to speak, I shared some thoughts on this holiday season, with Thanksgiving coming this week and Christmas a few weeks away.  Here is one of my favorite thoughts about blessings and gifts:

Not what we say about our blessings,
but how we use them,
is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

–W. T. Purkiser

What gifts have you been given?  We teach the missionaries to work from their strengths.  Don’t be paralyzed by your weaknesses.  Do what you do well.  We have each been given particular spiritual gifts.  Some are pretty obvious.  But some aren’t.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton visited my mission in South Africa in 1982 to break ground for the Johannesburg Temple.  I have always loved his gentle voice.  He said:

“One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable. . . .
“God has given each of us one or more special talents. . . . It is up to each of us to search for and build upon the gifts which God has given. We must remember that each of us is made in the image of God, that there are no unimportant persons. Everyone matters to God and to his fellow men. . . .
“. . . Taken at random, let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important . . . :
“. . . The gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.
“We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them.”
(Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 23; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).

King Benjamin taught that we are eternally indebted to our Heavenly Father for all that we have and are.  He blesses us with gifts, but he also hopes we will use those gifts to bless others, to give back.  That is my hope for this holiday season.

2015-11-22 Selah Stake Conference (8)Sister Smith’s new haircut is so cute:
2015-11-22 Selah Stake Conference (4)  2015-11-22 Selah Stake Conference (5)Last night Elder Call (below) called on Sister Ayala to come to the pulpit with Sister Averett to teach a Restoration lesson so everyone could feel the power of missionaries teaching.  Then he had Sister Ayala bear her testimony in Spanish.  It was so powerful.  We have such amazing missionaries.2015-11-22 Selah Stake Conference (7)


About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

Thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoy the things shared here.
This entry was posted in Missionary Work in the Yakima Mission. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s