JustServe: Find Meaningful Service Opportunities

Are you looking for ways to serve in your community? Don't forget the wonderful resource:

You can also download the smartphone app for Apple and Google Play Stores to serve on the go.

JustServe is a great resource for finding opportunities to serve in our area. See this report for examples of the good this program does. Happy serving!

As We Keep Our Covenants, Christ Builds Us Up

By Emma Nelson (a Laurel)

I love the theme of "Rejoicing on the Covenant Path" because it is so important and applicable throughout our lives. Heavenly Father has asked us to do our best to keep our covenants, and through them comes joy. It is not always easy to find joy, especially during trials or hard times, but we need to trust our Heavenly Father and do what he has asked of us.

President Nelson said, “The highest compliment is to be called a covenant keeper.” This should be something we strive for, not because it is a compliment of the highest, but by keeping our covenants we show God how important our relationship with Him is to us.

Not too long ago I wasn’t sure if the Church was true. Every Sunday I would grudgingly go to church to renew my baptismal covenants and try to learn of Christ, not even knowing if He was there for me. After months of struggling, I was writing my frustration and feeling in my journal but got an overwhelming feeling of peace and love. I knew my Savior because I was renewing my baptismal covenants as I was trying to learn of Him. He has such a deep love for all of us that He will NEVER leave us on our own.

I’ve come to learn through trials that Christ lets us doubt to build us up stronger than we were before. Think about building muscles. As you work out your muscles, they are torn before they rebuild stronger. I feel we are like this as well. Sometimes we doubt, are torn, or broken, but by us always keeping our covenants, Christ helps to rebuild us stronger than ever.

2019 Women's Conference Breakout Sessions

We were so inspired at our recent women's conference by not only our wonderful guest speaker Sister Reeves but our other speakers as well.

There were five speakers in each breakout room. The first four spoke on a part of our scripture theme of D&C 90:24. The fifth was a Laurel bearing testimony of and inviting Relief Society sisters and Laurels to participate in the 21-Day Sacrifice Challenge.

Enjoy these videos of breakout room talks!

Tiffany Smith, Stone Creek Ward
"Seek Christ Diligently"

Janelle LaFontaine, Weaver Lane Ward

Heather Hughes, Swan Lakes Ward
"Be Believing, Doubt Your Doubts"

Lynnae Bitter, Evergreen Ward

Brynn Meredith (a Laurel), Roberts Farms Ward
"21-Day Sacrifice Challenge"

21-Day Sacrifice Challenge

Photo from BYUtv
 In 2015, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson gave a BYU Women’s Conference address titled “…My Soul Delighteth in the Covenants of the Lord” (2 Nephi 11:5). She shared that she received a cry for help from a friend who did not know what to say to a Relief Society group of sisters she would be speaking to because they were greatly stressed, depressed, overwhelmed, and even some feeling without purpose.

She was inspired to respond, “As counterintuitive as this may seem, I felt compelled, in a way I could not deny, to encourage [this sister] to offer a 21-day experiment to her Relief Society sisters. So I emailed back, 'Invite the sisters to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing their time in family history and in temple work for the next 21 days.'”

The experiment worked! She reports, “[Although] they were in distress, they focused on their covenant of sacrifice, they let that covenant be 'paramount,' and they were exactly obedient. And what happened? Their distress fell away!”

God’s love for us is real. He desires us to turn to Him so we may have joy. Through her entire BYU Women's Conference address, Sister Nelson bears a strong and insightful testimony of covenants. The privilege, the perspective offered, and the power of these beautiful exchanges of love between God and us are thrilling.

We are extending the same 21-Day Sacrifice Challenge to you, the Relief Society sisters and Laurels of our stake. We desire each of you to continue to be lifted and to feel joy! If you were to start TODAY, your 21 days would be complete on February 16th.

Please read or listen to the address by Sister Nelson. She will inspire you. We will continue to offer support throughout this challenge here, so return often.
Click here to read the talk transcript.
Click here to see a video of the talk.
Your distress can and will fall away! Let’s go forward and rejoice on the covenant path.

The Covenant Path Is the Way

We truly rejoiced in our covenants yesterday during our stake women’s conference. The entire experience was a testament of our Savior’s love for each sister in our stake; our very souls were lifted. Our covenants truly are an expression of God’s love for us. It was a beautiful and good day!

The final testimony in each breakout was shared by a Laurel inviting the Relief Society sisters and Laurels of the Layton South Stake to participate in a 21-Day Sacrifice Challenge. The Laurels speaking each participated in the challenge leading up to and completing it on women's conference day.

Oh, these incredible Laurels! They are busy and bright, and they did it! Their testimonies were amazing!

President Nelson recently extended an invitation to our youth to join the Youth Battalion. Just as the army of Helaman had an army of women behind them, so must our youth. They need us women to offer our best to them to help build the kingdom of God on this earth.

As we are living in the last days, we each need an increase of God’s power in our lives to fulfill our earthly missions. The Lord will do His work and will help us do our part. The covenant path is the way.

Come to Stake Women's Conference!

Dear Sisters of the Layton Utah South Stake,

I extend a heartfelt, personal invitation to you to attend the Stake Women's Conference this coming weekend. It will be held on Saturday, January 26th, from 12pm-2pm at the Stake Center. Much thought and prayer have gone into the planning of this Conference. Please know that the very purpose of the Conference is to honor, nourish and strengthen you wonderful sisters, who play such an important role in Heavenly Father's Plan for the happiness, progress and salvation of His children.

One of the choicest blessing of my service as Stake President has been the opportunity to interact with and get to know the amazing women of this Stake. Each of you are unique, talented and beautiful. Many times while in your presence, I have been blessed to feel the tremendous love that Heavenly Father and the Savior, Jesus Christ, have for each of you individually. These are experiences I will never forget.

I recognize that your lives are busy and demanding and it is sometimes difficult to set aside some time just for yourself, but I believe this Conference is one of those important opportunities to do so. Please choose to attend and consider a neighbor or friend you could invite to attend with you. My sincere promise to you is that if you will come to this special Conference, bringing your trials, questions and burdens with you, the Lord, through the impressions of the Holy Spirit and the remarks that are made, will speak understanding, direction and peace to your souls.

I look forward to the privilege and blessing of spending some time with you on Saturday. May the Lord bless and keep you. Thank you for who you are and all you do!

Warmest Regards,
President Jensen

Feeling Joy in Our Lives

by Courtney Hagberg

Growing up, I was raised in a home where my mother took us to church. My father was a member, but he was not active. He got baptized so that my mom would marry him. A year later they were sealed in the temple. He didn’t go back to the temple for 25 years.

Photo from LDS.org; used by permission
As a child, I didn’t realize what a sacrifice it was for my mother to take three kids to church by herself each week. She also worked and served as young women’s president several times. Now that I am a mother, my heart is beyond grateful that she stayed on the covenant path when it would have been so easy to not stay on the path.

As a teenager, I remember feeling sad and praying to my Heavenly Father and asking Him how to truly be happy. My prayer was answered in seminary. My seminary teacher asked the class, “Do you want to be truly happy and feel joy in your life?” Of course we all wanted that. He said the answer was to read our scriptures every day. I took that challenge and felt that joy.

He Rejoices When We Return

by Jenny Barlow 

I am grateful for the time I have had over the last couple of months to think about my testimony of covenants. I have come to realize that although I have a knowledge of the covenants I have made and a testimony of their importance, it is a testimony and knowledge that could use much strengthening and studying.

I have read others' testimonies, read talks on these topics, and have spent time pondering what I have experienced in my own life and what I believe. I'm grateful for this gentle nudge from a loving Heavenly Father to work to build upon what I currently have as a testimony to make it into a stronger foundation that I can always rely on.

I know that God blesses us for our desires and for our efforts. He rejoices when we make efforts to return whenever we stray from the covenant path.

I know He loves us with a love that we can't even comprehend. He has given us His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the way and to provide the way that we can fully partake of that love and return to Him.

An Eternal Perspective

by April Klavano 
April's family in their "Team April" shirts

I was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on March 15, 2017. At the time, my kids were 2, 4, 8, and 11. I was terrified of cancer but relieved I was the one being diagnosed, and not one of my kids.

When being diagnosed and starting treatments, I never felt that I would die, but just that this was my trial I needed to go through. I was able to use this trial as a learning experience, and understood it to be one of the many ways I can be shaped to become more like my Heavenly Father.

I was able to rejoice on the covenant path, even while going through cancer treatments. By keeping our covenants, there are great blessings poured down upon us. I witnessed many of these blessings during this trial, which made it a very positive experience, and I did rejoice through my treatments.

When President Nelson spoke at the Alamodome, he said, “An eternal perspective will help you endure serious storms.” By staying on the covenant path, I was able to have an eternal perspective. This is how I was able to be so happy and positive, even when the doctor told me I had cancer, when I was sick in bed for days, and even when I shaved my head.

When my husband lost his job in November, someone at his work asked him how his wife was handling the news. He said something to the effect that I can handle getting diagnosed with cancer or my husband losing a job like it’s no big deal, but things like taking someone dinner is what stresses me out. And it’s true! I can see the big picture with big trials, but the little things are what I need to work on.

I’m far from perfect, but because I’m striving my best to stay on the covenant path, I know the Lord is right there with me, helping me make it through the toughest trials and becoming the person I need to be.

Covenants Guide Us Back to God

by Lindsay Wall 
Women's Conference Publicity Chair

I know that the covenants we make and keep can truly lead us back to our Heavenly Father. I remember thinking many times in my life, especially during trials, that I wish Heavenly Father would just tell me exactly what I need to do! I wished He would just lay it all out for me, and I would do it. Then, one day, I realized He already has!

He has given us these covenants and simple commandments as a guide to follow so that we can feel the Spirit, so we can be blessed here on earth and for all eternity. I know that Heavenly Father gave us covenants because He loves us and He wants every opportunity to bless us--and the blessings are even greater than we can imagine! Keeping our covenants really can make us rejoice in life! We can be at peace and know the steps we need to follow.
Photo from LDS.org; used by permission

With that in mind, I also know that no matter how good we are at following and keeping our covenants, there are always going to be trials that make things hard. I know that not one of us is perfect and that the simple path He’s given us can seem really rough and full of temptation at times.

The best part, though, is that Heavenly Father has planned for that too. He’s molding us into who He wants us to be, and he’s also made a way for us to get back on course if we ever wander off. Keeping our covenants can get us through those hard times and make us stronger.

I know that our covenants were made for us to become closer to the Spirit, which helps us in every aspect of our lives. I know that there are so many things I, myself, need work on to become better at keeping my covenants, and I also know that that’s normal! This is the reason we’re here on earth--to be tested and to show that even when we falter, that we can get back up and try and do better at keeping our covenants the next day.

Feeling Joy, Peace, and Love on the Covenant Path

The publicity committee for the Women's conference has been asked to share how they are "Rejoicing on the Covenant Path."

by Debbie Allred 
We really can find joy, peace, and love when we strive to be on the covenant path. There have been times in my life that it has not been such an easy path, but I know in those hard times, if I am striving to do the best I can in keeping my covenants, that God and my Savior are there to make up the difference where I lack. They strengthen me as well as bear me up.

In my life, I have witnessed that sometimes my timing is not the same as theirs, so that is where having faith, trusting in them, and continuing to stay on the covenant path comes in.

That can be very hard at times. There have been many times I have had to continue to work through and strive to endure my trials because I understand that they are for my growth. I know that my trials always strengthen me as well as my relationship with God and my Savior. I am so grateful for a loving and all-knowing God who knows what I need before I do and allows me to learn and grow, even when it may be hard.

Covenants Are an Expression of God's Love

The chairs of the upcoming women's conference share their testimonies of what it means to them to "Rejoice on the Covenant Path."

by Emily Wensel 

When I think of rejoicing on the covenant path, I’m reminded of a walk I took a few months ago. I was on a back road by myself. I had some things on my mind and was praying out loud.

As I prayed, I began to look at this road as a path that led me back to my Heavenly Father. I started to think of all the times in my life when I felt closest to my Savior. As I began to recall these instances in my life, there was one consistent theme that kept me tied to Him, and that was my covenants.

The covenants and promises I've made with Him has allowed me the opportunity to strengthen my relationship with the Savior.
Image from LDS.org; used with permission

I have recently come to know and appreciate one of the first covenants I made at eight years old as a newly baptized member of His church, and that is the covenant to always remember Him. This seems like a simple promise to make, and perhaps one that I have easily overlooked.

I have recently realized how much this simple covenant of always remembering Him throughout my day has blessed me and given me joy.

I have come to Him through words in the scriptures, through thoughts and feelings, and through conversations with friends and family. I have come to Him while at the grocery store, helping my kids with homework, taking a walk with a friend, doing the dishes, or talking with my husband.

I have spent the last several weeks relying on Him and His grace, more than I have in a long time. In turn He has blessed me with His spirit. I have also come to know and love the covenants and promises I make in the temple.

With all those beautiful covenants and promises I’ve made and continue to make on this path, I realize how simple they are. I am promising to him to do all that I can to come closer to my Heavenly Father through His Son. I am promising to give up things in my life so that I can more fully commit myself to Him. I do that by keeping my covenants.

Covenants: Giving Us Understanding, Hope, and Perspective

“Covenants with God help us to know who we really are.” 
Jean A. Stevens, “Covenant Daughters of God,” Nov. 2014

As we prepare for the women’s conference and our thoughts have been more focused on "Rejoicing on the Covenant Path," the stake Relief Society presidency wanted to share our testimony of our covenants and what they mean to us.

Tiffany McMinn

One day, many years ago, while I was serving as a missionary in the town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, my companion and I were needing to get to the home of a sister and her son we were teaching (which was several miles from our apartment). The problem was that we were out of driving miles for the remainder of the month.

We had bikes to ride, but the only road to this sister's house was off the old highway. There were no back roads or side streets—she lived on a private dirt road that came right off this somewhat busy highway.

Feeling brave (and a little invincible as missionaries) we decided to ride our bikes to this appointment. There was no sidewalk to ride on—just a white painted line with cars zooming by on the road just to our left, and ditches, drop offs, and gravel just off to our right.
Image by Alan Levine (public domain, Flickr)

I remember focusing on keeping my front bike tire right on that straight white line as I rode. If I did that, I was fine.

But, if I took my eyes off that white line (even for a second) I would get wobbly and begin to veer off, putting myself at risk to get struck by a car or crash my bike into a ditch.

I have thought many times about that thrilling bike ride that got us to where we needed to go. I’ve thought about how that white line was the safest and really the only path to our destination.

I believe my covenants are like markers (or that white line) on a path that guides me on my journey home to my Heavenly Father. They direct me and give me power and strength as I put my focus on them. They give me understanding, hope, and perspective of where I am headed. They keep me safe and protect me from the evil distractions in the world.

Though I still have a long ride ahead of me, my covenants are helping me change, and, through Jesus Christ, become who my Heavenly Father intended me to be.

The Power of Covenants

Image from LDS.org. Used with permission.
"In times of distress," said Elder Todd D. Christofferson in his April 2009 general conference talk, The Power of Covenants, "let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact."

Elder Christofferson related a story about how covenants strengthened a family in Peru, where a massive earthquake that all but destroyed the coastal cities of Pisco and Chincha. Wenceslao Conde, the president of the Balconcito Branch of the Church in Chincha, immediately set about helping others whose homes were damaged.

When Sister Condes was asked about their own home, home, she replied that it and all of their belongings were gone--yet she was still smiling. How? She responded:
“I have prayed and I am at peace. We have all we need. We have each other, we have our children, we are sealed in the temple, we have this marvelous Church, and we have the Lord. We can build again with the Lord’s help.”
Click the link above to read the full talk and ask yourself:

What is it about making and keeping covenants with God that gives us the power to smile through hardships, to convert tribulation into triumph, to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, … and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:27)?

How do our covenants give us strength in times of distress as well as in regular daily life?

The Miracle of the Christmas Yard Inflatables

by Deija Peterson

Our family will never forget the Christmas of 2017. It was the "miracle of the yard decoration blowups," all because one inspired sister ministered to our daughter.

Our daughter Charlie was diagnosed with epilepsy at 18 months. Hundreds of seizures a day caused her to be severely developmentally delayed. Last year, just after Thanksgiving, we put an inflatable snowman in our yard, and to say Charlie loved it would be an understatement.

I shared a video on Instagram of Charlie singing and dancing as she watched the snowman fill with air and come to life. A sister in our ward saw the video and had an idea. She talked to neighbors, and soon her idea spread. During an already busy holiday season, with budgets tight, neighbors went out and bought Christmas inflatable yard decorations. On a planned night, many earthly ministering angels all went outside in the cold and plugged in the decorations, for the love of one little girl.

As we drove into the neighborhood that night, Charlie saw the street full of inflatables.