Comfy Seats and Love-Filled Treats
All over the world, people spent this last weekend in comfy seats eating yummy treats while they listened to the voices of modern prophets, apostles, and auxiliary leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during General Conference. There were monumental announcements and powerful messages; one of my favorites was Sister Cristina B. Franco’s address entitled, “The Joy of Unselfish Service.” Sister Franco focused on the opportunities we are given and the positions we are placed in that allow us to reach out to our fellow men. She spoke of the seats she has been asked to sit in, ranging from primary folding chairs to velvet General Conference armchairs (which she mentions are not as comfy as you might think). I especially appreciated her sharing an experience she had with Sister Victoria Antonietti, a primary teacher in her branch in Argentina. She shared,
“Each Tuesday afternoon, when we gathered for Primary, she brought us a chocolate cake. Everyone loved the cake—well, everyone except me…One day after she had shared the chocolate cake with the rest of the children, I asked her, ‘Why don’t you bring a different flavor—like orange or vanilla?’ After laughing a little, she asked me, ‘Why don’t you try a little piece? This cake is made with a special ingredient, and I promise that if you try it, you will like it!’…I agreed to give it a try. Can you guess what happened? I liked it! That was the very first time I had enjoyed a chocolate cake.
It wasn’t until many years later that I found out what the secret ingredient was in Sister Antonietti’s chocolate cake. My children and I visited my mother each week. On one of these visits, Mom and I were enjoying a slice of chocolate cake, and I related to her how I came to like the cake for the very first time. Then she enlightened me with the rest of the story. ‘You see, Cris,’ my mom said, ‘Victoria and her family didn’t have a lot of resources, and each week she had to choose between paying for the bus to take her and her four children to Primary or buying the ingredients to make the chocolate cake for her Primary class. She always chose the chocolate cake over the bus, and she and her children walked more than two miles [3 km], each way, regardless of the weather.’ That day I had a better appreciation for her chocolate cake. More important, I learned that the secret ingredient in Victoria’s cake was the love she had for those she served and her unselfish sacrifice in our behalf.”
This made me reflect on the ways we can serve people around us. We have each been given so many skills that allow us to serve each other and our Heavenly Father in unique ways! For Victoria it was chocolate cake, for Sister Franco it was this lovely message, and for you it may be your killer ability to find perfect GIFs to make your friends laugh. Whatever your abilities are, use them! Heavenly Father will occasionally ask you to sit in seats you find uncomfortable, and He will stretch your ability to serve in new ways, but for now, focus on what you can do. Smile at that kid! Invite your friends over for dinner when you make too much food! Don’t ignore that feeling that you should call your friend! Big or small, we can all contribute. Sister Franco speaks of the day we will meet our Savior again and says, “It will not matter if we sat in the comfy seats or if we struggled to get through the meeting on a rusty folding chair in the back row. It won’t even matter if we, of necessity, stepped into a foyer to comfort a crying baby. What will matter is that we came with a desire to serve. . . And it will certainly matter that we do all that we do with the special ingredient of service coupled with love and sacrifice.” Give what you have to give! And give it with love! What can you do today?
Read the rest of Sister Franco’s talk here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2018/10/the-joy-of-unselfish-service?lang=eng
Check out some awesome new service opportunities near you at https://www.justserve.org/projects