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This Week from the Pulpit: How We Can Minister During a Pandemic and “Be of Good Cheer” 

Editor's note: "This Week from the Pulpit" highlights recent messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.

This past week, BYU’s weekly devotional consisted of what it always does: a speaker addressing students in the Marriott Center at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. Except there was one thing missing—an audience.

Following the First Presidency and governor's counsel, BYU students did not gather in the auditorium to hear Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Seventy speak, but rather Elder Gerard’s message was broadcasted to students virtually.

Although under unfortunate circumstances, the miracles of technology have allowed all of us to hear uplifting messages without the fear of spreading illness. Check for the complete CES virtual devotional schedule here so you can tune in.

Amid the chaos and fear of the coronavirus outbreak, it seems that we could all use an uplift. This week, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave inspired messages, either broadcasted or in written form. Here are a few summaries of their messages shared this last week.

Sister Sharon Eubank, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Blog Post

In a recent blog post for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, began with this prompting to readers:

“Times of stress also create opportunities.”

Sister Eubank’s post surrounded the idea that to be a humanitarian is also to be a minister. “Ministering is the most basic kind of humanitarian work”— it is showing love to the people around you.

Sister Eubank pointed to John 15:12, citing it as “the best humanitarian mission statement ever written.” In the scripture, Jesus said, “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Sister Eubank interpreted this scripture to pertain to ministering. “If you want to be a good humanitarian, be a good minister; it is exactly the same work.”

Sister Eubank clarified what ministering truly is. “Ministering is more than just being nice.” Sister Eubank continued, “At its core, ministering is a tenderness; an ability to see someone for who they are at their best and a willingness to help them with anything they want or need in order to be better.”

Sister Eubank concluded with an invitation to help others in this time of need. “As we deal with viruses and disasters and personal heartaches—ministering is the way the Lord sends us to each other.”

READ THE FULL BLOG POST AT ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Elder Jack N. Gerard, BYU Devotional

Elder Jack N. Gerard began his address to BYU students stating the obvious, hardly anyone was in attendance. To those watching virtually, the General Authority Seventy said, “It feels a little lonely without each of you in attendance. I must say I was looking forward to seeing your countenances and feeling your spirits.”

Church News reported that Elder Gerard spoke to students about the puzzling nature of life and the different paths that we can take. “Like looking through glass darkly, we are left to choose based on our limited knowledge or experience gained in mortality.”

Elder Gerard asked of those watching “What guides you as you deal with more significant decisions, such as what your course of study will be, or whom you will seek for eternal companionship?”

Elder Gerard’s answer to these students, that might feel overwhelmed in the face of so many critical decisions: “trust in the Lord.” He reminded students that God has many “great blessings” in store for all of us.

We will all have moments of doubt and hardship, but if we trust in the Lord, we will not be alone. Elder Gerard said, “During these moments of despair, when we feel all is lost, we are reminded to ‘trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and [to] lean not unto thine own understanding. … Be not wise in thine own eyes’” (Proverbs 3:5, 7).

READ A SUMMARY OF ELDER GERARD’S REMARKS AT Church News.

President Bruce C. Kusch, LDSBC Devotional

President Bruce C. Kusch, President of LDSBC, also spoke to students virtually. President Kusch told students that although the format of devotionals will be different, he is confident that “the messages [of these devotional speakers] will be powerful and uplifting.”

Church News reported that President Kusch told students about the observation he had made when meeting with President Russell M. Nelson and other CES leaders. The meeting surrounded how Church-owned schools would respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

President Kusch observed that President Nelson was “happy, joyful and optimistic” during the meeting. “Challenging issues were discussed in our meeting, but there was no evidence of panic or fear — only a firm resolve for the welfare of our students, and to be responsible local and global citizens.”

Although we are all living in a frightening time, President Kusch recalled comforting words from the Savior. “There are four words the Savior has used on repeated occasions in giving counsel to the faithful: ‘Be of good cheer.’ Each of us can take comfort from those words knowing He is always near.”

READ A SUMMARY OF PRESIDENT KUSCH’S REMARKS AT Church News.

General Authority and General Officer Social Posts

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Greyson Gurley

A Georgia native, Greyson Gurley is the current editorial intern for LDS Living. She is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English and was a member of the badminton club. Her life goals include actually learning French, saving the environment, and finding the perfect chocolate croissant.

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com