A special thanks to the following three Sisters who were kind enough to share their impressions from the Devonport Stake Conference held at the Devonport Chapel on the 12th and 13th of September.
By Sister Simone Triffitt (Deloraine ward)
I always enjoy the Saturday session of Stake conference. Perhaps it is the more intimate gathering or the extra time spent listening to our visiting speakers. (Mission President Elder Maxwell of the Australia Melbourne Mission and President and Sister Hoare, the Melbourne Temple President and Matron) Whatever it is, the theme or messages delivered are a gateway to perpetuating the feeling of the Spirit into the Sunday session of conference.
The overall theme that came across to me during Saturday’s session was about serving the individual, particularly through home teaching and visiting teaching and inviting the Spirit as we represent the Saviour.
President Buckley spoke about the worth of souls and how much each of us as individuals means to the Saviour. He touched on a number of scriptures that talked about leaving the 90 and nine and searching for the one and how we can be like the Saviour by trying to be a good shepherd. We are shepherds to those we VT and HT.
President Buckley showed us a Mormon message about “Lifting Kathy”, a lady with multiple sclerosis that was being helped by the brethren at church each and every night for the past 7 years. For some of the men, it started out as being a burden but as they took their turn on the roster, their hearts were changed.
President Buckley asked us a number of questions in relation to those we VT/HT. DO we know about the significant events in the lives of those we visit? Are we there for families in times of trouble? Do we take the gospel of Jesus Christ when we visit?
Finally President Buckley said that being a disciple of Jesus Christ is for life and our HT/VT assignments are life-long assignments.
Sister Justine Page shared an experience from when her family was living in Jakarta and were going through a difficult time and the rapport that was developed between her family and the home teacher and the visiting teacher. Based on this experience Sister Page came up with a list of things we can do as HTs to foster meaningful visits. Here are a few of them:
- take a message that you feel inspired to give
- Pray for those you visit
- Frame your visit around this question- “how can I strengthen this family”.
- Develop a guardianship attitude
- Allow your HT/VTs to serve you
- Be consistent
- Hold confidences and preserve trust
- You are the role model for the families you visit
Sister Page also came up with a list of principles we can apply as VTs. This was compiled from a number of experiences that were collated from a recent Stake RS activity:
- go beyond the 20 minutes/once a month visit
- develop a true genuine friendship
- be loyal
- be consistent
- do not judge
- be a righteous influence
- don’t give up
- persist in reaching out
- help her feel loved and welcome
- care for the whole family
Kylie Bailey & Kym Rogers
Brother Simon Triffitt then spoke about how inspired teaching can lead to inspired invitations to come unto Christ, whether that be in a HT/VT scenario or in a lesson or more informally. He said that there are so many resources out there to help us teach but we must be inspired to know what to deliver. We are all teachers and have a message of the gospel to share. He said we often talk about saving the rising generation but that starts in the home and we can show our Sunday best on Sundays but our children see all our cracks and crevices and we need to be that example to them so we can use every opportunity in the home to teach a gospel principle.
Brother Triffitt shared that inspired teaching cannot take place without the Spirit. He shared a number of ideas:
- what is your motivation behind your teaching
- stick to the basic fundamentals
- share personal experiences
- bear your testimony on what you have delivered
If you have an inspired message, an invitation to come unto Christ will come naturally to the individual.
Sister Jessica Prebble spoke about her experience sitting on a ward council as the ward Primary President. She shared President Uchtdorf’s words on ward councils. He said that (and I paraphrase) that the purpose of ward councils was to:
- seek inspiration of the Spirit
- help ward members serve the Lord
- help ward members to learn to love their neighbours better than themselves.
Sister Prebble talked about a full functioning ward council will have complete unity and the Spirit would be in their midst. For example each ward council member could contribute to issues or concerns that don’t directly affect their calling.
A child is ready for the ordination of Baptism. The RS President can help with clothing, the Sunday School President can organize a FHE on Baptism and the Ward Mission Leader can organize for non-member invitations with the full-time missionaries. Sister Prebble concluded with Elder Ballard’s words that instead of calling ward council a meeting, it is a revelatory experience.
President Peter Buckley & Corey Bailey
Next President Buckley conducted a Q and A session. Questions had already been distributed around the room for members of the congregation to read out and those on the stand were invited by President Buckley to comment. Here are a few of the questions and answers:
Q - how to help a sister sitting alone, look after her children.
A - Sister Hoare shared an experience of when she was sitting alone with her children and another sister volunteered to be her Sunday Mum and help out with the children for the entire time they were in that ward.
Q – irreverence before Sacrament
A – Elder Maxwell proposed that prelude music be played and all members of the ward council be seated early as an example to the rest of the members.
Q – struggles to get children to go to nursery and stay in there.
A – Sister Challis suggested that nursery workers visit the child in the home
Q – doing family history
A – President Hoare said each ordinance turns our hearts to Heavenly Father and helping people participate in these ordinances will help them to do so too.
A – President Walters shared an experience about a lady who was the only member in her family. Doing family history and temple work gave her spiritual power and she no longer felt like she was the only member in her family in the church as she had generations behind her.
Lisa Wheeler and Jenny Taylor
Finally President Walters wrapped up the meeting by encouraging us to take our HT/VT assignments seriously and instead of asking “have you done your HT/VT”, ask the question, “how are your families”. President Walters then pointed out what if we feel too burdened to serve with everything going on in our own lives.
President Walters brought our attention to a scripture in Matthew 11 where the Saviour talks about us being heavy laden and if we take his yoke upon us then we will find rest as his yoke is easy and his burden is light. President Walters suggested binding ourselves to the Saviour through prayer, yoking ourselves to him and following the Saviour’s example by serving as we promised to do in our Baptismal covenants.
Finally President Walters said that our Baptismal covenants gives us the opportunity to follow the Saviour, the Priesthood covenants gives us the opportunity to represent the Saviour and our Endowment covenants gives us the opportunity to know the Saviour.
And it would be remiss of me finally if I did not mention our uninvited guest speaker, who made numerous humorous interruptions from the pulpit…. Brother ANT.
Maryanne Woolley (Devonport Ward)
I so thoroughly enjoyed the Conference. Both, Saturday night and Sunday morning.
What an outpouring of the spirit. It quite rejuvenated my soul. It gave me strength to go on, and it gave me hope in the future. I thought of the quip, 'united we stand, divided we fall.'
The world is very weighty these days, always has been, but, as we know it is getting very gross.
But conference brought home quite powerfully the unity we all share, in standing together against the world.
We were certainly 'Endowed with Power from on high' this weekend. It was palpable. I felt the unity and strength will stay with us as we stand as witnesses of God, in all things, in all places and at all times.
Margaret Triffitt (Devonport Ward)
Notes from the Devonport Stake Conference Sept. 2015
Saturday evening and Sunday morning sessions.
The talks were centred around the theme of:
"Increasing our faith in Jesus Christ by 1. ministering to the one (Saturday evening) and 2. by strengthening our families (Sunday morning)
The Saturday evening session was opened by the Burnie Choir singing beautifully and clearly -
"Ere you left your room this morning." and "How gentle God's commands"
Their singing immediately brought the spirit into the meeting.
The talks focused on how being a disciple of Jesus Christ is for life. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is for all of us and we need to lift and strengthen each other on this journey.
The Lord's organized way of helping us is through Home and Visiting teaching. This is the way we can lift and strengthen and teach each other as members and reach out to those are temporally lost.
Ask yourself, "What are the needs of the families I watch over?" The Lord will show you what their needs are. Everyone has some challenges and struggles both physical and spiritual.
Because of the Saviour's Atonement we can one day become like Him and live in the eternities. Because of the Saviour's Atonement, life can be made bearable for all of us.