Stake Day of Service 2023

 


The Layton South Stake Day of Service is coming up on Saturday, September 9th!

THERE ARE 3 WAYS TO SERVE:

(1) Volunteer with your Family (ages 8+) at the Hometown Ogden Project from 8 AM to 1 PM! Meet at Liberty Park (751 E 21 st.) in Ogden from 8 AM to 9 AM & work projects, then return to Liberty Park for a free taco lunch.
(2) Tie quilts for the Primary Children’s Hospital at the Stake Center (505 S 1000 W, Layton) 8:30 AM to 11 AM.
(3) Donate items for the teen centers at Davis School District! Drop them off to your Relief Society president before hand or the Stake Center (505 S 1000 W, Layton) day off on September 9th from 8:30 AM to 11 AM. See flyer for details on items needed.







Seen by Christ: Kathy Vuki



DESCRIBE AN EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU HAVE FELT SEEN BY JESUS CHRIST:

Kathy Vuki, 37th Ward
Hi Sisters,
My name is Kathy Vuki. Our family has lived in the 37th Ward for 19 years. My husband, Mosa, and I have three young adult sons that we love more than life! I currently serve as a teacher in the Relief Society.
I love our women's conference theme and have been asked to share how I feel seen by Christ. To me, to be seen is to be understood and accepted right where I am. I bear witness that I know my Savior sees and understands me every single day, and I often feel affirmations of his unconditional love for me, even when my meager efforts to draw closer to him fall short. I marvel at just how much he and our Father in Heaven are in the details of my life and the lives of my family!
This painting of Christ on the shores of the sea of Galilee is called "Be Still My Soul" and hangs in our living room wall. My husband is from the islands and we spent a few years in the beginning of our marriage living in Hawaii and Tonga. I learned a lot about the ocean, its currents, its tides, and its beauty and power during the may hours we spent on its beaches and enjoying its beauty. However, amid the beauty and fun of playing in ocean waters, you have to be aware of the waters to stay safe. Sometimes, there are powerful and treacherous waves that can knock you down. There are rip currents that carry you further out to sea and make you feel like you're going to drown. In the same way, life is beautiful, but there are waves of trials and struggles that can make you feel like you're going under. There are currents strong enough to pull us away if we are not vigilant and wary. This painting reminds me that Christ is there to calm the waves and storms, that he walks those sandy beaches with us (think "footprints" poem) and if he can't calm all the crashing waves, he can calm us, and carry us, and bring us the peace that helps life be happy and beautiful, even as the storms around us rage."

Seen by Christ: Jessica Steele

 



DESCRIBE AN EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU HAVE FELT SEEN BY JESUS CHRIST:

Jessica Steele, Kennington Ward
After having five children and feeling really good about our family being complete, I began counting our children every night and wondered who was missing, as we gathered for dinner. It continued happening for several weeks, until, I began having feelings that our family was not complete. I kept these feelings to myself for many weeks.
One night when Kevin came home from work, I shared the feelings I was having and to my surprise, he had been feeling the same way. We spent the next several days, talking about what these thoughts and feelings were all about. I had been taking care of babies in the NICU for 20 years and had taken a year off to be with my young children. Were we to foster babies? Adopt? We began to pray about the reason behind these feelings and what we were supposed to do.
I found out that a woman in our ward had adopted children and worked for an adoption agency. I called her one afternoon and asked her all kinds of questions about foster care, fost-adopt and adoption. After a long conversation, she told me they didn’t have enough families for all of the African American babies they were trying to place. We had never thought about adopting children of another race or culture but as we talked about it, we felt very strongly this is what we were to do.
It was a three year process of many failed placements which were hard on us but especially hard on our young family. Finally, within a nineteen month period, our prayers were answered and we were blessed with two beautiful baby girls. They brought so much joy to our family and now we were finally complete! I felt as though everything that had happened to get these babies was a sweet miracle from a loving Heavenly Father.
By the time our girls started junior high, things became somewhat difficult and it wasn’t easy to raise them as teenagers. In fact, it became the greatest challenge in my life. I was discouraged, sad, angry…so many emotions. It became so hard and I started questioning the reason for our decision, so many years prior. It was difficult on our marriage and so hard on our adult children to watch what was happening. I prayed with all my heart for things to become better.
Over a period of a few years, I felt that my prayers weren’t being heard. Through several experiences and continued prayers, I finally began to see and feel what it was that I was to learn. Looking back on this experience, I truly “felt seen” by Jesus Christ. Because of Him, my Heavenly Father began teaching me why these two beautiful daughters had come into my life. They have taught my husband and I, along with our other children, what it means to truly love unconditionally. To accepts our girls for who they are and to allow them to choose for themselves. And to love no matter what! We have become less judgmental, more loving and patient. Through this process, I have felt greater peace in my heart. He has taught me where to turn for peace and what to see in and how to see my girls and others. How to see things differently, through Him! For this I am grateful!
Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.

Seen by Christ: Kim Sellers Copenhaver


DESCRIBE AN EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU HAVE FELT SEEN BY JESUS CHRIST:
Kim Sellers Copenhaver, Greenbriar Ward
At the young age of 15, I lost three of my brothers in a car accident… This changed my life entirely. I was the 4th of six kids. I now have one older brother and a little sister. My whole world was turned upside down. I have never prayed so hard, or have been uplifted by the spirit more than through this trial. At a young age I gained a firm testimony of the church. It gave me peace and hope that through the ordinances of the temple we will be together again as an eternal family.
When I turned 16 I got my patriarchal blessing. My blessing specifically talks about my wedding day. It says that I would have additional revelation in the temple and leave with thankfulness for my Heavenly Father.
Now that you know some of my story I want to share an experience where I felt seen by Jesus Christ.
I met my cute hubby when I was 21. We got engaged and as we were getting ready for our wedding day- I started to have this overwhelming feeling come over me, I was so devastated… I didn’t want my brothers to miss such a huge life event . I was so sad. I cried a lot as it got closer. I’m sure anyone who has lost someone has felt this. It’s hard when life moves forward and your loved ones aren’t there. I remember on my wedding day signing my marriage license before our temple sealing , my hands were trembling. I MISSED THEM! I wanted them there more than anything.
As I was walking down the hall in the temple, we started to approach the sealing room. I have a very large extended family. So with family and friends we had over invited to our sealing. People were standing anywhere there was room. It was PACKED! As I walked in with my mom, I stopped to give my dad a hug. My sweet dad whispered to me , “ They are Here!!! Look! “ I looked over at the front row of a packed room- there were three open seats. I started to cry. My bishops wife who was a friend of the family said before the sealing started. “The boys are here! “ The spirit was soooo very strong. Everyone was crying. It was then I knew Jesus knew me and exactly what I needed. He knew my heart. And I was so very thankful to have that experience and to have my brothers at my sealing.

I love this picture. It just stands out to me. I think because in life we can feel like we are drowning. Whether it is in laundry, house cleaning, or life’s trials - he is there. To help pull you out.

Eyes to See: Focus on Him

 

Tiffany McMinn, Layton South Stake Relief Society President
DELIVERED AT WOMEN'S CONFERENCE: EYES TO SEE ON MARCH 11, 2023
Many years ago, my brother and his wife (already experienced and avid divers) convinced my husband and I to get scuba certified before going on a Caribbean Cruise with them. We did a crash course over a couple of full weekends to get our certification in before the trip--with our final test dive being at the Homestead Crater in Midway. I have always loved swimming and being in and around water, which made me extra excited to learn to dive, allowing me to be able to move and breathe deep under the water while taking in all the amazing sea life. We had some great dives planned at some of our island stops.
When it comes to diving, there are quite a few safety rules you learn as part of your certification. One of the biggest is to always have a diving buddy—someone you stay with your entire dive. Then if you get into any trouble they will be right there to help. I was grateful to have my husband Brian as my diving buddy.
Now obviously under water it is hard to communicate. This is where hand signals are important to know and understand. One of the most important hand signals is the okay signal. This is used as a question, not declaration. If things are “not okay” or there is a “problem”, you respond with this hand signal (hand flat tipping back and forth).
On the ascent it’s very important that you allow for safety stops as you come up. Safety stops are designed to allow the gases that have been absorbed in your body tissues during the course of the dive, to be released. Rushing an ascent can be very dangerous, causing decompression sickness, and even death.

The first dive was an awesome reef dive off the island of St. Thomas. I loved it! It was like this new underwater world had just opened up for me. We saw tons of sea life, including a barracuda. There weren’t many concerns about safety stops coming up because our depth for this dive was only around 30 feet. I was hooked!
The second dive was off the island of Barbados to a sunken ship. We would even get to swim through part of the ship. It involved a little more skill going much deeper at a depth of about 90-110 feet. I knew we would be going much deeper and that our safety stop coming up would be mandatory—no panicking and shooting up to the surface. For this dive we descended on an anchor line.

Brian and I entered the water and began our descent to the ship using the anchor line as we slowly equalized. There were so many bubbles around us as we descended (probably due to my husband and I being the last of our dive group and following the same anchor line down). The bubbles made the visibility hard for me and I began to become disoriented with my surroundings and felt some vertigo. I couldn’t see my diving buddy anywhere and I began to start breathing fast looking all around me, confused as to whether I was going up or down. In retrospect, I think I may have been a little nervous, realizing this was a very deep dive and safety precautions were mandatory. And where was my diving buddy? I was counting on his expertise for the dive.

As my breathing continued to speed up (I was sucking air out of my regulator like my tank was almost empty) and I continued to look up and down trying to find my diving partner, the dive master must have recognized my lack of movement down and came over to me. He looked questioningly at me through his mask and did the “okay?” hand signal. With big eyes, my response was a “not sure” hand signal. He then proceeded to point to me and then point to his eyes to follow him. I looked at him and he began to exaggerate slow breathing, having me follow my breathing pattern with his. I began to focus my eyes on him (and not the darkness and bubbles surrounding me) and I began to follow his breathing. As I continued to focus my eyes on him, I began to feel more calm and suddenly it felt like more oxygen had been put in my tank. After he saw my breathing had slowed down and the “shocked deer in the headlights” look fade, he pointed down, and we began to finish the descent to the sunken ship. The bubbles began to dissipate, the visibility was clear, and I found that my diving buddy had been right under me on the anchor line the whole time. I was calm and we had an awesome experience swimming through and around this ship.

As our presidency met with our Women’s Conference Chairs, a few months back, and we discussed this theme of “Eyes to See” for Women’s Conference, this scuba diving experience came back to my mind. Even though that experience happened so many years ago, I specifically remember the change that took place in me that day on my dive—a change from a state of panic to a state of peace. And that change happened once I focused my eyes on my dive master and followed his breathing with my breathing. I had to make a conscious effort to focus on him and not my dark, distorted surroundings. I know this is what can (and does) happen to us when we focus and truly seek for Jesus Christ in our lives. He can open our eyes to things we would not normally see. As the scriptures teach, we can begin to understand, and see “things as they really are, and things as they really will be…”(Jacob 4:13).

The Savior, our true master, has said “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36). He told his disciples the people needed eyes to see to be healed. Healing couldn’t happen if their eyes were closed with spiritual blindness and unbelief (Matthew 13:15).

In our lives are there times when we close our eyes instead of turning to the Son (meaning the son of God), our true source of light? President Nelson said that “our focus must be riveted on the Savior and His gospel. It is mentally rigorous to strive to look unto Him in every thought. But when we do, our doubts and fears flee.” I know this is true. When I turn to Him in my daily life, I receive that peace, and I receive needed strength in my struggles, and at times I also receive new understanding.
Sisters, as we reach and strive to come to the Savior, we begin to see Him in our lives. “Come unto me”, He says, “that ye might feel and see”(3 Nephi 18:25). Sister Bonnie H Cordon said, “The more you seek Him, the more you will see Him.” Just as I had to look to my dive master when I felt like I was drowning, we too must look to our Master in our daily lives. If we seek Him, and have eyes to see, we realize He has been reaching out for us all along.
As we meet today, my prayer for all of us is that our eyes will be opened to specific things each of us can do in our personal lives that will help us come closer to the Savior. We may even ask ourselves the two questions Sister Michelle Craig asks herself each week as she partakes of the sacrament: “What am I doing that I should stop doing and what am I not doing that I should start doing?” As we do this, we will be able to draw upon more of the Savior’s power in our lives—a power that opens our eyes to a larger reality. A power that gives us eyes to see Him.


Eyes to See: What can we do to have ‘Eyes to See Others’?

 


- Emily Rydman, Stone Creek Ward

DELIVERED AT WOMEN'S CONFERENCE: EYES TO SEE ON MARCH 11, 2023
Last summer, I was in NYC with my 17-year-old son Davis. We were coming out of a busy Subway station when I made eye contact with a woman at the bottom of the stairs. Something about the expression on her face caused me to blurt out, “Do you need help?” A look of relief washed across her face and she said that she wasn’t able to carry her luggage to the top of the stairs. I said, “well my son would love to carry that for you”. Davis grabbed her bag and we followed her up the stairs. When we go to the top, I asked her if she needed any additional help to get wherever she was going. Instead of answering my question, she looked at me and said “you’re not from around here are you?” (wondered if it was my accent?) I said, “no we’re visiting from Utah” and she responded, “ya, people around here aren’t that nice”.
When I was asked to speak today on the topic “Eyes to see others” I thought back to this day in New York and wondered about that woman. How long was she standing there? How many people passed her by? She was of the opinion that “people around here aren’t that nice” but I don’t actually think that was the problem. My guess is that most people would have been happy to help her with her luggage. I think the problem is that no one noticed.
So, how can we improve our ability to notice? What can we do to have ‘eyes to see others’? I’ve come up with 4 ideas to consider.
First, and probably the most obvious, is to pray for opportunities to see and notice others. Elder Bednar shared this story in a devotional given at BYU:
Before attending her sacrament meetings, Sister Bednar frequently prays for the spiritual eyes to see those who have a need. Often as she observes the brothers and sisters and children in the congregation, she will feel a spiritual nudge to visit with or make a phone call to a particular person. And when Sister Bednar receives such an impression, she promptly responds and obeys. It often is the case that as soon as the “amen” is spoken in the benediction, she will talk with a teenager or hug a sister or, upon returning home, immediately pick up the phone and make a call. As long as I have known Sister Bednar, people have marveled at her capacity to discern and respond to their needs. Often they will ask her, “How did you know?” The spiritual gift of being quick to observe has enabled her to see and to act promptly and has been a great blessing in the lives of many people.
I love his reference to “the spiritual gift of being quick to observe”. This is not a spiritual gift that I have ever thought about before. Imagine the impact we could have if we attended our meetings each week with a prayer in our heart that we could be prompted to see another’s needs.
Another way we can notice others is by assignment. You might think I’m referring to the church’s ministering program. And, that would definitely fit. But, in my case, I’m referring to an assignment from my parents. Many years ago my parents told us kids that they didn’t want any more gifts on holidays. They felt like they had enough ‘things’ and didn’t want to add to that. So, my mom said that for birthdays, Mother’s day, Father’s day, we were off the hook. She then asked if at Christmas time, each family would do some act of kindness and then at our family Christmas party we could all share what we did. One particular kindness that stands out to me was something my brother and his family did.
It had been a particularly cold December and they went down to SLC, around 4th South, where there are many homeless people. They got out of their car and walked through the park handing out hand warmers and talking to people. I am assuming that many people in the homeless community feel unseen. In fact, I know that I have been guilty of looking the other way when I see someone on the street. My brother’s kindness did not solve their problems in the long term, but in that moment, he helped them to feel seen, acknowledged, and hopefully a little bit warmer – even if only for one night.
Over the years, I have learned to appreciate this assignment from my parents. I have realized that one of the blessings from this is that I am always on the lookout for ways my family can lift and serve others. This assignment has helped me to have ‘eyes to see others’.
The next idea that came to my mind is that we can be more direct and specific when we offer help. Three years ago, my brother-in-law passed away at the age of 43. He left behind his wife and 2 young children (ages 5 & 😎. As an extended family, we tried really hard to offer help and support to my sister-in-law. However, I noticed that most conversations ended with “if you need anything, please let us know”…and we really did mean that. But, the problem was that my sister-in-law never “let us know”. So, one day I decided to approach her in a more direct and specific way. I texted her that my family was available on Saturday and that we would be coming down to do yard work. I told her if there was anything specific she needed, to make us a list. Otherwise we would just come and do whatever we could see needed to be done. She responded that she did have some garden beds that she couldn’t keep up with anymore and that it would be great if we could take them out and cover them with sod.
I didn’t know it at the time, but me learning to serve my sister-in-law in a direct and specific way would be needed even more when she was diagnosed with cancer in Sept 2021. She fought a hard battle for one year and passed away the following Sept. During that year, I tried to offer help in all kinds of ways. Some she would accept, others she would not. I will say that there is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. It’s possible that I may have crossed that line. But, I like to believe that whatever her experience is on the other side of the veil, that she knows that my efforts were genuine and sincere.
My last idea is to ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’. If that sounds familiar, it’s because I have borrowed that idea from Steven Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People." I think the book was written for the business professional, but this same principle is confirmed in James 1:19 “be swift to hear, and slow to speak”.
There was a pivotal time in my life when I was on the receiving end of this counsel – ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’. 12 years ago I sat across from my bishop, pouring out my heart over an issue within the church that was deeply troubling and personal to me. I expected to be met with the doctrine and a list of reasons why I shouldn’t be feeling the way I was feeling. Instead, this kind bishop listened intently and then responded in such a kind and compassionate way. The way he treated me in that moment changed the trajectory of my membership in the church. I realize that sounds dramatic. However, I had gotten myself to a place in my mind where I was believing that because I have a difference of opinion on this particular issue, that maybe there wasn’t a place for me within the church. I have reflected often of that interaction with my bishop and have had the thought that I should write him a note to let him know how profoundly he influenced my life. I never got around to writing that note, until today. I was hoping that Pres. Erickson would be here today so I could deliver this note (finally 😊).
In summary, as we work towards having ‘eyes to see others’, we become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. And the more we become like Him, the better we become at noticing others. So, we create this beautiful forward progression that moves us along the covenant path.
Just as you are actively seeking to notice others, God is actively placing people in your life who will see you. We are not meant to do this journey through life alone. We are meant to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those who mourn, lift up the hands that hang down…and we do that when we have ‘eyes to see others’. As I look out at all of you today, I feel a collective strength knowing that we are all genuinely trying to do our best. We live in such a great community where there are so many people who want to be disciples of Christ, and for that I am so grateful. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Eyes to See: Seeing with your Spiritual Eyes

 


- President Todd Poulson, Layton South Stake Presidency

DELIVERED AT WOMEN'S CONFERENCE: EYES TO SEE ON MARCH 11, 2023
Sisters – so thankful to be with you this morning. What a wonderful conference this has been. It is a great sight to look out at all of you. We as a stake presidency are thankful for your goodness and express our love and appreciation to each of you. Thankful for the time you have set aside this morning to attend this conference and allow the spirit to teach you. We all have been blessed by attending.
Elder Uchtdorf once said, “You are choice daughters of our Heavenly Father, and you are a great power for good. You will make the world a better place.”
The YW theme states that you are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny. The RS theme reminds us that you are beloved spirit daughters of God, and your lives have meaning, purpose and direction"
These themes and Elder Uchtdorf remind us of your Divine heritage. We all are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to have joy in this life. He sent his son - our brother - Jesus Christ to earth to prepare the way that we can return and live with him. We are blessed to live when the fullness of the gospel is here upon the earth to give us guidance and direction. You have a vision of your purpose on earth and desire to nurture and influence those around you.
I work as an Occupational Therapist. One of my patients is Carol Jean. She is blind and would ask me to describe myself. I said I am this Tall & this old and about my family. She said No, what do you look like. She wanted to develop a mental picture in her mind of what I looked like, so she could SEE me when we meet. Helen Keller said, "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."
Mom and the picture of Christ. Are we doing everything we can to as it states in 2 Nephi 25 by “talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, and prophesying of Christ” so we can see him - not with our mortal eyes but with our spiritual eyes.
During our stake temple and family history week I attended a class by Chuck Easton about the origin of the temple ordinances. He shared with us some insightful verses from D&C 76
5 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven;
10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.
In order to be enlightened by the spirit we often need to find quiet time. We need to disconnect from distractions of the world. We need to prioritize the search for knowledge. We need to set aside the good and better things of this life and devote a portion to the best.
Sisters - it is my prayer that you will see yourself as the Savior sees you- You will see and know of your divine heritage and potential. I pray that we might all see others as Christ sees them. That we will be less judgmental and more kind and compassionate. Charity truly never faileth. And may we see the Savior as our brother - our redeemer - who gave his life that we might all have Eternal Life.