Sometimes service in the Church can feel that it is without fruits but service comes to mean more when you see the difference it has made in the lives of real people, especially people you love. On Tuesday afternoon, Seminary and Institute (S&I) teachers, employees and volunteers, in 150 countries joined together virtually for an annual training broadcast, and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared his greatest reminder of the influence of the S&I programs of the Church: His wife.
Sister Rosanna Soares was first introduced to the Church when she was 9-years-old. She asked her dad for permission to be baptized, but he said that she must wait until she proved to him that being baptized was something she really wanted. And so for the next year, Sister Soares sought to prove her dedication. Each morning, her father woke her up at 5 a.m. and each morning, her seminary teacher would pick her up at 5:30 a.m. Sister Soares said she was always so tired and some days she hoped the teacher would not come but he always came. Now, years later, she is grateful for his sacrifice of time and effort.
Elder Soares spoke about the pivotal role seminary can play in the lives of young people and the fruits of service in teaching youth in the Church.
“Please remember that effective teaching is the very essence of the leadership in the Church,” Elder Soares said. “Eternal life will come only as men and women are taught with such effectiveness that they change and discipline their lives. They cannot be coerced into righteousness or into heaven. They must be led and that means effective teaching.”
He stressed the need for teachers to invite the Spirit into their own lives so that they can teach true doctrine with the Lord’s power.
“It is necessary to live a life that qualifies for that help,” he said, later adding, “We can be very eloquent and capable of speaking well in public but without the Spirit, our abilities will not make any difference.”
Earlier in the meeting, Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, and Sister Michelle Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency participated in a panel where they discussed the needs of youth today. Sister Craig stressed that the Church needs its young people, not for statistical reasons but because of the difference they are capable of making in the world.
“As adults, we need to step back and we need to give our youth opportunities to lead, to plan, to seek revelation and to act on that revelation,” Sister Craig said. “We need to respect their intelligence and we need to learn the lessons that they have to teach us. We need them, not to boost numbers but we need them because the world is in desperate need of what they have to offer and the Church has the structure to provide means to meet those needs one person at a time.”
Sister Aburto emphasized that it is important to be attentive to the individual needs of each student and to follow the example of Christ in seeking to meet those needs.
“In reality, we are all in need of healing from something,” Sister Aburto said. “But I think it’s important for us to help our students understand that if they are dealing or struggling with their emotions, they are not broken, that they are not defective, that emotions are part of our divine nature. However, if we have constant sadness, we probably need to ask for help. So I would suggest to follow the Savior’s example. He asked questions that allowed people to express their feelings, he allowed people to express their pain.”
Watch the entire broadcast here.