In her talk “I Pray He’ll Use Us“, Sister Sharon Eubank shared ways in which the humanitarian efforts of the church have helped people around the world. As I read her talk, I reflected on the past year and the ways in which my family and I have tried to help people around us.
Light The World
With the recent holiday season, the church held its annual Light The World initiative. Part of the initiative is the placement of “Giving Machines” where you can go and buy things that others need. The featured image is of our family after visiting one of these machines and purchasing various items like chickens, beef jerky, feeding fixed-income seniors, Polio vaccines, school supplies, and macaroni and cheese. This is a fun and simple way to provide for others’ needs.
One way that came to mind was in our giving of Fast Offerings. For those unfamiliar with the concept, once a month the church has asked us to hold a fast. The definition is to go 24 hours without food or drink and then take the money that would have been spent on those items and donate them to the church. Fasting is more than just going without food or drink, but that is a topic for another day.
I have seen first-hand the blessings of Fast Offerings. In my current calling as Assistant Ward Clerk and in previous clerk callings I have had the opportunity to help those in need by inputting the information around needs and having checks written to meet them. The money given to those in need comes first from the donations of the ward members. I have been able to watch people grow as the weight of their needs has been lifted and they can focus on becoming self-sufficient.
There is also a way for the members of the church to donate directly to the church’s humanitarian aid fund. These funds are used to bring help during times of crisis such as when a natural disaster occurs or a pandemic strikes. Sister Eubank recounts several ways this has happened over the course of 2020 and you can read about those examples in her talk.
A Missed Opportunity
Towards the end of 2020, I had the misfortune to be part of a downsizing at my place of employment. I had been with the company for almost 20 years and had to start searching for a new job. While I was looking for employment, I had the feeling that I should look for ways to serve others. I contacted a friend who was doing work with refugees but got no response and I didn’t follow up.
I let the feeling slide and totally missed an opportunity to find places to serve. The church has started a site called Just Serve that uses your location to help you find somewhere you can serve others. I did not even think about this site, even though it was mentioned several times during 2020. I have kicked myself for not thinking of it and going out and finding a way to serve. It is on my list for this year however and I’m going to do my best to make it a family tradition.
Being Used Daily
The last way I want to discuss is how we can be used daily by God to help others. I believe in the power of prayer. I also believe that each of us can be used by God to answer someone else’s prayer. Sister Eubank quoted Elder Holland “Prayers are answered … most of the time … by God using other people. Well, I pray that He’ll use us. I pray that we’ll be the answer to people’s prayers.”
In order for that to happen two things must occur. First, we must approach God willingly and ask Him to use us. Second, we must be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost that will lead us to be those answers. As we humbly pray for opportunities, God will give them to us.
God can use us in many ways. Whether that is through donations, big service projects, or answers to someone else’s prayers. We can be instruments in God’s hands to bless the lives of others and help them to feel His love and presence.