The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Gathers For Conference On Ministering
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the greater Chattanooga area gathered for a conference on ministering. Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Kay A. Vinson, flew in from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Ut. to deliver messages. John Griffey, president of the Chattanooga Stake (congregation), conducted the service.
Officials said, "Elder Vinson, echoing his wife’s sentiment that the hospitality and kindness of the South is such a lovely thing, went on to talk about how The Lord wants us to minister. We know things that we should share, he said. We know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and He loves us. He paid the price for our sins and our suffering. We know where we came from. We know where we go after this life. We know at death our spirit separates from our body and goes to the spirit world. We know one day our body and spirit will reunite. We will be resurrected. We will be judged not by the sum total of the good we have done but we will be judged on who we have become. This life is an opportunity to become like Christ, to prepare to meet God. Elder Vinson talked about the difference between belief and faith. Belief is passive, he said. Faith is active. Faith causes us to do.
"Elder Vinson spoke of the time he and Sister Vinson spent in West Africa. Elder Vinson served for five years in the Africa West Area Presidency for the Church.
He said the people are very, very, very poor. You would think their prayers would be prayers of supplication to live like we live here. But instead, their prayers are of gratitude for being given one more year of life. Sometimes, here, our prayers are misguided. About the trials and challenges of life, Elder Vinson said we might respond by being hardened or softened. We should learn from our afflictions rather than just react to them. We are not immune from our trials, he said. Trials are our lot in life. We need to be softened to do good as Christ would do. Ministering, he said, is not about speaking to large crowds. Ministering is about individuals. Elder Vinson bore testimony that Christ’s Atonement was infinite – for all people in all times – but also personal for you and me.
"Sister Vinson spoke about how grateful she was to be around southern hospitality. She spoke of the need to reach out in love to anyone who may have slipped off the path of Jesus. She said the further we drift away from the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we are at risk – physically, emotionally and spiritually. She shared a story once told by former President Thomas S. Monson about a farmer who was driving a large, open-bed truck filled with sugar beets. Some of the sugar beets slipped off the truck. The farmer went back and picked them up because he said they had just as much sugar as the rest of the beets. So it is with us. 'The worth of souls is great in the sight of God' (D&C 18:10), The Lord teaches. Those who have fallen away from God have just as much value as the rest of His children, and He wants us to go back and rescue them.
"President Griffey spoke about how our spiritual radio needs to be on and in tune to the right frequency. He said we need to be listening and prepared to respond to bring the Savior’s love to those who are suffering. The Lord ministers through His servants, he said. President Griffey also bore witness that Heavenly Father lives and that His Son stands at the head of this work."
Hundreds of local Church members attended the conference. Local government officials, including Bill Hullander, Hamilton County Trustee; Greg Martin, Hamilton County Commissioner; Ron Shinnock, Mayor of Calhutta, Ga.; Yusuf Hakeem, Tennessee State Representative; and U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, also attended.