News Release

Visiting Church Leaders Inspire Victorian and Tasmanian Latter-day Saints

Sister Linda S. Reeves, Second Counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and Sister Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor in the Young Women general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, inspired and uplifted local women leaders as they conducted leadership training sessions in Melbourne over the past weekend.

The Relief Society is the women’s organization of the Church and has approximately six million members in 170 countries throughout the world. 

The Young Women organization serves over half a million young women, aged between 12 – 18 years old. The organization promotes the growth and development of young women throughout the world through Sunday instruction, weekday activities and the Personal Progress program. 

The leaders travel throughout the world frequently to meet with local Church leaders and members to strengthen and train them to lead, preside, and teach in their local organisations.

Sister Reeves and Sister McConkie held leadership training meetings in two separate locations last Saturday evening [11 June] in Melbourne. Local women adult leaders gathered at the Heidelberg Stake Centre to receive instruction from Sister Reeves, while the local young women leaders gathered at Wantirna to hear from Sister McConkie. Women leaders in country Victoria and Tasmania joined their respective meetings via webcast. The following provides a brief summary of the instruction that was provided.

Young Women Leadership Meeting

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen (Pacific Area Presidency) and his wife Wendy accompanied Sister McConkie and her husband Oscar to the young women leadership meeting. 

During the meeting, Sister McConkie reminded those attending that the purpose of the Young Women’s program of the Church is to “help all young women come unto Christ.”

She also taught that everything we do points to being in the Temple, the House of the Lord, with six objectives:

1.      Strengthen our faith and testimony in Heavenly Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ

2.      Understand our identity as a daughter of God

3.      Be worthy by obeying the commandments

4.      Receive, recognize and rely on the promptings of the Holy Ghost

5.      Prepare for the divine roles as a daughter, wife, mother and leader

6.      Understand and keep covenants

Sister McConkie concluded her remarks to those participating, asking them to remind the young women of the Church that “they are loved, they are wanted, they are needed and they are important. Help them to understand this about themselves.”

Elder Nielsen concluded the evening with his remarks, teaching from the writings of Paul in Ephesians 2, that we are “built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.”

He continued by saying “the heavens are open and our current apostles and prophets receive inspired thoughts to teach principles to help keep us safe in an ever-changing world. What a blessing that is!”

Relief Society Leadership Meeting

Australian church leader Elder Robert J. Dudfield (Area Seventy) and his wife Darice accompanied Sister Reeves and her husband Mel to the Relief Society leadership meeting. 

Sister Reeves thanked local leaders for their valiant service. She expressed gratitude for all of the work of Relief Society that goes on behind the scenes, but it is never unnoticed. One of the great strengths of Relief Society sisters, she said, is that they never give up on “the one.”

Reminding the sisters that the family is ordained of God, and the most sacred organization on the earth, Sister Reeves quoted from a Church handbook: “Church organizations and programs exist to bless individuals and families, and seek to assist parents in their divinely appointed responsibilities, not supersede or replace them.”

Sister Reeves took the opportunity to introduce the updated purposes of Relief Society to those who were not aware of the changes. She taught that the purposes of Relief Society are to help prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they:

·         Increase faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement

·         Strengthen families and homes through ordinances and covenants

·         Work in unity to help those in need

Taking time to answer questions from those attending, Sister Reeves referenced the recent General Conference talk “I was a Stranger” from Relief Society general president, Sister Linda K. Burton, reminding those in attendance not to forget two key principles:

1.      This is about individual effort to reach out

2.      The focus is not just to help refugees, but anyone who has been displaced

“The purposes of Relief Society align so well with the focus of reaching out to help those in need, particularly those who are refugees. As you do so you will feel the guidance of the Saviour as you minister, one by one” she concluded.

Elder Dudfield concluded the evening, expressing love and appreciation to the sisters for their goodness, their kindness and their Christlike service. He reflected on the Pacific Area vision for 2016 'To strengthen families and individuals by increasing faith in Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.' "As you focus on this vision your hands will be the Saviour’s hands, and your service is His service as you seek to lift snd strengthen those around you. What a privilege to serve in this great work together,” he said.

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