Sunday, December 29, 2013

What's Most Important in 25 words or less

General Relief Society Meetings are a wonderful time for the sisters of our church to listen to satellite messages prepared especially for them. It seemed that the General Meeting on September 23, 1995 would be just another ordinary meeting. But what we heard that night was anything but ordinary.  Though given over 18 years ago, it seems like yesterday when for his message, our late prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley read The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Our hearts were tender as the prophet reiterated our church's stand on the issue of family and parental rights and responsibilities. As he ended his proclamation, many remembered wanting to stand up and cheer for such a declaration prepared not only for us but for the entire world.

On that monumental occasion we were scattered in Relief Societies all over the globe. And since that night, we have worked individually and collectively to implement the principles taught in that document. In turn our own families have been strengthened and blessed as have countless other families. As we study the Proclamation we are reminded of the responsibility we each have to future generations. In the sixth paragraph, it states, Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. Children are an heritage of the Lord. (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives mothers and fathers will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

Now together as the Cedar Hills 10th Ward Relief Society, we recently discussed the Proclamation in one of our Sunday meetings. We talked about the blessing of having a loving family and of the words we can use to express that love. We heard a story that was told in the October 2008 General Conference by our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. In his address about Finding Joy in the Journey, he told the experience of Jay Hess, an airman who was shot down over North Vietnam in the 1960s. The story was repeated recently by the current Primary General President, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom. She said, For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words. Wanting to provide something his family could recognize as having come from him and also wanting to give them valuable counsel, Brother Hess wrote the following words: These things are important: temple marriage, mission, college. Press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.

In our lesson we answered the same question, What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation as Jay Hess not having seen them for over two years and not knowing if we would ever see them again? Here are our responses.

Keep your covenants.  Love each other. Serve the Lord. Nurture your testimony. Count your blessings daily.  Always remember to pray.  Remember how much you're loved!  (Lauana Allen)

Never give up. Pray always.  Families are forever & everything.  Together unstoppable.  Smile. Laugh.  Be believing.  Trust in God.  Love everyone.

Continue doing the good things you are doing.  Be supportive of one another.  Lift each other to higher places.  And remember we're an eternal family.

Remember who you are.  Remember where you came from and be faithful in where you are going.  Hold to the Iron Rod.  Trust in Christ.  (April Schultz)

Remember who you are; remember this life is a short test; remember to use your eternal perspective and remember how much I'll always love you!  (Amy Hafen)

Remember who you are!  Give freely.  Love unconditionally.  Simplify.  Count your blessings. Make your blessings count.  Love the Lord.  Love yourself.  I love you eternally!  (Amanda)

I love you with all my heart and hope that someday we will all be together in the Celestial kingdom.  (Nola Smith)

Remember: love one another, be kind, keep covenants, work hard, read scriptures, be true to self & God, laugh, you are loved.  (Kelly Ericson)

Build lasting relationships.  Stay close to the Lord.  Honor the priesthood.  Attend the Temple regularly.  Live life to its fullest.  I love you!

The gift of love last forever!  Take time to give that gift to those in your life!  Families can be together forever!  (Maureen A. Varney)

Love the Lord with all your mind, heart and strength and love everybody around you.  Read the scriptures.  Keep the Sabbath Day holy.  Pray always.  (Consuelo Briones)

Love now:  the Lord, family, those in need.  Be close to the Spirit.  Remember you are love. Make the Temple a priority.  (Erin McLerran)

Say I love you every day to your family.  Be a good friend.  Pray always.  Get a good education. Slow to anger.  Exercise faith.  (Julie Hambly)

You are my sunshine.  Remember who you are.  Look upward reach outward stand a little taller.  Keep smiling.  Love you more.  (Renee Jeffrey)

Remember faith, hope, charity.  Love one another.  Endure to the end.  Pass on the family history & photos with great emphasis.  (Ann Alton)

Respect your parents & family.  Be good & active citizen in your country.  Be protective of what you value.  Be grateful and show it.  Love God.  (DeAnn Nielsen)

Remember who you are and if you will keep the commandments you will always be happy.  You are loved and valued beyond words.  (Louise Wilhite)

The Gospel is true.  Have faith that whatever happens, Heavenly Father knows best.  Cherish your children and family times together.  Remember I love you always.  (Jan Curtis)

The Church is true.  I love each one of you.  Stay close to each other.  Serve others.  Serve the Lord  - Missions.  Be content & be grateful.  (Mary Vance)

Be nice to each other.  Read.  Pray.  Fast.  Keep God close.  Be happy & take care of Chauncey forever.

I love you so much.  (Emilie Campbell)

Love each other.  Lift each other.  Support each other.  Be LDS in all you do.  Read Scriptures. Be honest.  God will protect.  (Carole Ferguson)

Dont sweat the small stuff.  Be happy.  Smile.  Be nice to each other.  I love you.  The Lord Jesus Christ love you.

Love God.  Pray for guidance.  Be forgiving.  Be kind to yourself and others.  Do not be afraid to live your life.  Love you always.  (Jacqueline Burgess)

Keep your privilege of the Church.  Honor your Priesthood.  Be valiant in your testimony of Christ and know that I love you without measure.  (Dorothy Bryson)

Love another & let the little things go.  Remember that you are loved by a Father in Heaven and also by your earthly family.  (Diane Scruggs)

Live the gospel.  Love the Lord/each other.  Serve others.  Live so we can all be together eternally.  No empty chairs.  Im proud of you! (Susan Curtis)

Dearest Family: Stay in contact with and love each other. Remember, I will love you always. Follow the Savior. He knows the important things to do. (Shirley Condie)

These are important to me: Testimony, College, mission, Temple marriage, keeping covenants, spouse, parents, children, grandchildren, faith, love God and others, do your duty. (Janice Fuller)