President and Sister Dunn

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Women's Day Out(ing)

Women's Day in Africa
National Women's Day is a South African public holiday celebrated annually on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of approximately 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country's pass laws that required South Africans defined as "black" under The Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanization, and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era. The first National Women's Day was celebrated on 9 August 1994.[1] In 2006, a reenactment of the march was staged for its 50th anniversary, with many of the 1956 march veterans.

 In honor of this day and the valued role of women in the gospel, a few of the "sisters" in this mission gathered together and enjoyed a Women's Day Out(ing)! 

Sisters in top picture above: 
Claudia Hamilton, Martha Egan, Sherrie Allred, Liz Walton, Pauline Jeffries, Willissa Thompson, Leigh Pond and Connie Barton.

We enjoyed the opportunity to gather those of us that work in the mission office, with our CES and Humanitarian sister missionaries and those from the Area Office that we have the pleasure of interacting with.

We started the day with a visit to Art Africa, where we all found something little and special from this fun store in Parktown.

Taguna was our next stop, with appreciation for African Artifacts and Kaross stitched handiwork. It is similar to visiting a museum.

Last stop was with Brett and Tamiko's wonderful property and amazing  products. We loved seeing their newly designed treehouse flat. All of their products are creative and beautiful. 
Above: Connie Barton and Martha Egan
Below: Claudia Hamilton and Liz Walton

We had fun just getting better acquainted one with another. It is a blessing to be a woman...and we all have the pleasure of being here together in South Africa at the same time. 
I was also honored to receive a painting from a woman artist and next door neighbor whom I have come to know and love. Pictured below is the artwork of my friend, Lynn Van Breda with her husband Cecil and their son Pierre. We are so fortunate to know and love them as dear neighbors and friends. We hosted them for dinner on Women's Day and I am happy to post this gift and memory here on this Women's Day page.
Below are wonderful quotes about women...for women!
(Thanks to Martha Egan for passing this along.)

“I am just beginning to have a glimpse of what the Lord has in mind for his daughters.  The vision that comes to me sometimes
is so glorious and staggering and humbling and thrilling.  It is difficult to contemplate.  It is part of that vision of Daniel
of the stone rolling forth to bless the earth.  The Lord expects and requires that His daughters participate in building
His kingdom to bring to pass what He calls His strange act.”
- Sister Julie B. Beck

“What a different world and Church this would be if every Latter-day Saint sister excelled at making, renewing, and keeping covenants; if every sister qualified for a temple recommend and worshiped more often in temples; if every sister studied the scriptures and doctrines of Christ and knew them so well that she could teach and defend those doctrines at any time or place.
Think of our combined strength if every sister had sincere prayer every morning and night or, better yet, prayed unceasingly
as the Lord has commanded. If every family had family prayer daily and had family home evening once a week, we would be
stronger. If every sister was self-reliant enough to be able to give freely of her knowledge, talents and resources and if
every sister’s discipleship was reflected by what she said and what she wore, we would be immovable in that which is correct.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, every woman in this Church is given the responsibility for upholding, nurturing, and protecting
families. Women have distinct assignments given to them from before the foundation of the world. As a covenant-keeping
Latter-day Saint woman, you know that raising your voice in defense of the doctrine of the family is critical to the strength
of families the world over.
The only place Latter-day Saint women will learn the whole and complete truth about their indispensable role in
the plan of happiness is in this Church and its doctrine.
Notwithstanding the important relief efforts of the past, the greatest and most important work for the women of this
Church still lies ahead. The earth must be prepared to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and we must help with this preparation
in the midst of wars, turmoil, natural calamities, and an increase of evil.”
- Sister Julie B. Beck

Remember in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were
foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious
reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are
those we sustain as prophets and apostles.!
Finally my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before, or at least in quite this way.
Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women
of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers.
This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives
and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.
Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the
spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.
- President Spencer W. Kimball

“The Relief Society, the Prophet told us, is organized after the pattern of the Priesthood. When a man holds the priesthood,
he belongs to something bigger than himself. It is something outside himself to which he can make a complete commitment.
It requires full dedication and loyalty. There is connected with it an oath and a covenant.
If you sisters follow after that pattern, you will not be preoccupied with the needs of women. You will serve your organization,
your cause—the Relief Society—this great circle of sisters. Your every need shall be fulfilled, now, and in the eternities;
every neglect will be erase; every abuse will be corrected. All of this can come to you, and come quickly, when you
devote yourself to Relief Society.
Service in the Relief Society magnifies and sanctifies each individual sister. Your membership in Relief Society should be
ever with you. When you devote yourself to the Relief Society and organize it and operate it and participate in it,
you sustain the cause that will bless every woman who comes within its influence. You are organized, I remind you again,
after the pattern of and under the authority of the priesthood.
This great circle of sisters will be a protection for each of you and for your families. The Relief Society might be
likened to a refuge—the place of safety and protection—the sanctuary of ancient times. You will be safe within it.
It encircles each sister like a protecting wall.
Sisters you have a great work to do. Build Relief Society! Strengthen its organization! Do not be enticed to leave it.
Do not allow yourselves to be organized under another banner. Do not run to and fro seeking some cause to fulfill your needs.
Your cause stands under the authority of the priesthood of Almighty God; that is the consummate, the ultimate power
extant upon this earth!
Rally to the cause of Relief Society! Strengthen it! Attend it! Devote yourselves to it! Enlist the inactive in it and
bring nonmember sisters under the influence of it. It is time now to unite in this worldwide circle of sisters. A strong,
well-organized Relief Society is crucial to the future, to the safety of this Church.
We now move cautiously into the darkening mists of the future. We hear the ominous rumbling of the gathering storm.
The narrow places of the past have been a preliminary and a preparatory testing. The issue of this dispensation now
is revealed before us. It touches the life of every sister. We do not tremble in fear—for you hold in your gentle hands
the light of righteousness. It blesses the brethren and nourishes our children.”
- Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Know that you are daughters of God, children with a divine birthright. Walk in the sun with your heads high, knowing
that you are loved and honored, that you are a part of his kingdom, and that there is for you a great work to be done
which cannot be left to others.”
- President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Ancient prophets foresaw a day “when the knowledge of a Savior would spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue,
and people” Mosiah 3:20. That day has come. And it is our turn to thrust in our sickles and help with the harvest. That we
are here now is no accident. For eons of time our Father watched us and knew He could trust us when so much would be at stake.
We have been held in reserve for this very hour. We need to understand not just who we are but who we have always been.
For we are women of God, and the work of women of God has always been to help build the kingdom of God.
When in pre-mortality we accepted our Father’s plan, said Elder John A. Widtsoe, “we agreed, right then and there, to be…
saviors for the whole human family. … The working out of the plan became … not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work,
but also our work”.
President Spencer W. Kimball lamented that there was a power in Relief Society that had not “yet been fully exercised to…
build the Kingdom of God” “Relief Society—Its Promise and Potential,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 4. For all the good it has done
in the past, Relief Society has yet to help move this latter-day work forward as it must. Sisters, the time has come to
unleash the power of righteous happiness that exists among women of God. The time has come for us to be anxiously
engaged in the work of saving souls. The time has come for the sisters of Relief Society to stand with and for the prophet
in helping build the kingdom. The time has come for us each to stand tall and to stand together.
The most effective way to share the gospel is to live it. When we live like disciples of Christ should live, when we aren’t
just good but happy to be good, others will be drawn to us because we are “distinct and different—in happy ways,”
as President Kimball prophesied “The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 104. Happy about the way we’ve
chosen to live, happy because we’re not constantly reshaping ourselves in the world’s image, happy because we have
“the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost” 1 Ne. 13:37, happy to stand tall so that we will stand out.
Every time we strengthen our own testimony or help someone else strengthen theirs, we build the kingdom of God.
Every time we mentor a newly baptized sister or befriend a wandering soul without judging her or invite a nonmember
family to home evening or give a Book of Mormon to a colleague or lead a family to the temple or stand up for modesty
and motherhood or invite the missionaries into our homes or help someone discover the power of the word, we build
the kingdom of God. No woman is more persuasive, no woman has greater influence for good, no woman is a
more vibrant instrument in the hands of the Lord than a woman of God who is thrilled to be who she is. I like to
think of us as the Lord’s secret weapon. Imagine what would happen in this Church if every morning 4.5 million of us got
on our knees and asked our Father who He needed us to reach out to that day. And then imagine if we did it!
Imagine if we consecrated our energy and our focus en masse to the greatest service of all, that of leading our sisters and
brothers to Christ. Imagine what will happen when we mobilize the sisters of Relief Society to stand together to
help build the kingdom. We will see the awakening and arising of a sleeping, slouching giant.
Tonight I invite you to stand tall, to thrust in your sickle and join in this work with vigor. I invite you to rededicate your
life to building the kingdom. To reach out to someone who has wandered. To take a new member under your wing.
To consider serving a mission with your husband. To look and pray for missionary moments. To make a difference in
someone’s life spiritually, especially the members of your own family. None of us have to reach everyone. But what
if we all reached someone? And then someone else? And so on. President Hinckley has asked us to “become a vast army with enthusiasm for this work”. As we do so, we will become one of the mightiest forces for good this world has ever seen. For we, the sisters of Relief Society, are women of God. And the work of women of God and the work of the Relief Society has always been to help build the kingdom of God. I believe that we can do more to help our priesthood leaders than we have ever done before.”
- Sister Sheri L. Dew

“Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his “earthly empire.
And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.
Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the
priesthood in mortality,  righteous women were endowed pre-mortally with the privilege of motherhood. 
Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women.
It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.
Elder Matthew Cowley taught that “men have to have something given to them in mortality to make them saviors of men,
but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of
human souls … and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.”
Never has there been a greater need for righteous mothers—mothers who bless their children with a sense of safety,
security, and confidence about the future, mothers who teach their children where to find peace and truth and that the
power of Jesus Christ is always stronger than the power of the adversary. Every time we build the faith or reinforce the
nobility of a young woman or man, every time we love or lead anyone even one small step along the path,
we are true to our endowment and calling as mothers and in the process we build the kingdom of God.
As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in
place from the beginning. In the pre-mortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand
in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan and that He would endow us with
gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joy 12  at least in part because of
the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.
We just can’t let the Lord down. And if the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility
and divinity in motherhood, so be it. For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the
highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence.”
- Sister Sheri L. Dew

“Each of you should be grateful to be a woman!  To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age.
To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior,
is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be
in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help, to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—
which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail,
but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some
mortals know in the midst of storm and strife. ”
- President Spencer W. Kimball

“More than ever before we need women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity, as the
Relief Society Declaration proclaims.  We need women who can hear, and who will respond to the voice of the Lord,
women who at all costs will defend and protect the family. 
We don’t need women who want to be like men…dress like men…act like men.  We do need women who…have a spiritual confirmation of their identity, their value, and their eternal destiny.  Above all, we need women who will stand up
for truth and righteousness and decry evil at every turn.”
- Elder M. Russell Ballard

“Each of us has a vital role, even a sacred mission to perform as a daughter in Zion.  It is a new day, the dawning of a new era. 
It is our time, and it is our destiny to rejoice as we fill the earth with greater kindness and gentleness, greater love
and compassion, greater sympathy and empathy than has ever been known before.  It is time to give ourselves to the
Master and allow Him to lead us into fruitful fields where we can enrich a world filled with darkness and misery. Each of us,
no matter who we are, no matter where we serve, must arise amd make the most of each opportunity that comes. 
We must follow the counsel given by the Lord and His servants and make our homes houses of prayer and havens of
security and safety.  We can and must deepen our faith  by increasing our obedience and sacrifice. . In this individual
process a miracle will take place.  The Relief Society will begin to stretch and reach out to the millions in need.  It will
continue to become an organization that brings relief and rejoicing.  This will happen one sister at a time.  We will
unite in our righteousness and truly partake of the fruit of the tree of life together.  The fruits of our labors can heal
the world, and, sisters, in the process they can heal us too!”
- Sister Mary Ellen Smoot

“There is certainly a place for formal teaching in our homes with our families.  There is also a power in informal teaching that
goes on in families.  Informal councils involve parents and children to bless families and strengthen individuals. 
I like to call them “kitchen councils”.  The mother went to the kitchen to prepare dinner, and her daughters joined her. 
They stood side by side peeling and chopping, talking and coordinating activities.  They were counseling together!  Second,
in ward or stake councils, besides representing your organization, you also represent your own point of view.  Women
who attend these council meetings can be the family filter, which would certainly include being a defender and a protector
of the family.  When activities are discussed, a woman can voice her perspective on how an activity will affect the family.”
- Sister Margaret D. Nadauld

“Sisters, you are each like the lioness at the gate. This means that there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught years ago
that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then
our priorities have to be straight.”
- Sister Julie B. Beck

“President Howard W. Hunter explained: “There is a great need to rally the women of the Church to stand with and for
the Brethren in stemming the tide of evil that surrounds us and in moving forward the work of our Savior.
“… So we entreat you to minister with your powerful influence for good in strengthening our families, our church,
and our communities.”
- Sister Carole M Stephens

“We are the Lord’s secret weapon…The world won’t tell us this stunning truth,
but the Spirit will…It is time for us to wake up to the potential magnitude of our full influence as latter-day women of God
and then to arise and do what we were sent here to do.”
- Sister Sheri Dew

“Sisters, you must graduate from thinking that you only attend Relief Society to feeling that you belong to it!”
- President Boyd K. Packer

“I recently read the story of Marie Madeline Cardon, who, with her family, received the message of the restored gospel of
Jesus Christ from the first missionaries called to serve in Italy in 1850. She was a young woman of 17 or 18 years of age
when they were baptized. One Sunday, while the family was holding a worship service in their home high in the Alps of
northern Italy, an angry mob of men, including some of the local ministers, gathered around the house and began shouting,
yelling, and calling for the missionaries to be brought outside. I don’t think they were anxious to be taught the gospel—
they intended bodily harm. It was young Marie who marched out of the house to confront the mob.
They continued their vicious yells and demands for the missionaries to be brought out. Marie raised her Bible up in her
hand and commanded them to depart. She told them that the elders were under her protection and that they could
not harm one hair of their heads. Listen to her own words: “All stood aghast. … God was with me. He placed those
words in my mouth, or I could not have spoken them. All was calm, instantly. That strong ferocious body of men stood
helpless before a weak, trembling, yet fearless girl.” The ministers asked the mob to leave, which they did quietly in
shame, fear, and remorse. The small flock completed their meeting in peace.
Sisters, few of us will ever have to face an angry mob, but there is a war going on in this world in which our most cherished
and basic doctrines are under attack. I am speaking specifically of the doctrine of the family. The sanctity of the home
and the essential purposes of the family are being questioned, criticized, and assaulted on every front.
Just as Marie Madeline Cardon courageously defended the missionaries and her newly found beliefs, we need to boldly
defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance
of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or
no longer relevant. Everyone, no matter what their marital circumstance or number of children, can be defenders of
the Lord’s plan described in the family proclamation. If it is the Lord’s plan, it should also be our plan!
- Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson


  1. How fun is this! You gather people wherever you go :)
    Love the quotes!

  2. Who can worried u,and who can love u so much,who can support u,and who can encourage u in all worries,who can live for u,she is one and only the best mother and the best women in the world....happy womens day...from..
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