The members of the First Presidency have discussed the merits of writing this weekly letter once the COVID-19 situation has finally allowed us to meet together again. For the past few weeks we have felt that it provides an opportunity to regularly share a few items. Perhaps this effort may prove less valuable once we are back in our respective congregations. We will probably continue to discuss this question a bit longer. In the Remnant Church, we are all busy, even with our schedules readjusted as they have been. So, we of the First Presidency are trying to make the minute or two it takes to read these letters worthwhile. A minute or two in a busy day is a lot.
As I got up this morning and started my day, as usual, I looked at my phone to see what messages, emails, etc. came in overnight. As always, I read the morning Moments with the Master. Beckie and I receive the hardcopy of the Moments with the Master (which can be received for a nominal donation), but I always start my day by reading (or rereading) the daily testimony from my emails (these are provided to anyone, at no expense to the reader). I always receive ministry from these testimonies. I think of the experiences of the person who wrote that contribution, the growth they experienced by what the Lord shared with them during that part of their life. And then I think of the one who has the responsibility 365 times a year documenting the testimony, with supporting scriptures, hymns, etc. Sister Cindy Patience took on this responsibility almost a year ago, gladly, knowing the effort it would entail. I feel that at times, she wonders if she will have enough testimonies and contributions to fill the next periodical. Somehow, with the Lord’s blessing, she is well able to accomplish this task, this avenue of blessing the Lord’s people. As we are each aware, several people are prolific contributors, sending in many testimonies per month. These people have the realization that they are responsible for the blessings and insights the Lord has given them. They then have the desire to share with others, what the Lord has done for them.
Last week, President Van Fleet wrote of the tentative, planned opening of our congregations. This is included here as a reminder.
Blue Springs, MO
Center , MO
During tough weather times in winter months, when there is ice and snow prior to services, it is a very difficult decision for pastors and counselors, whether or not to cancel services. Some people of the congregation are not happy when services are cancelled for purposes of safety. But when that decision is made, and the word goes out of the cancellation, the desire is to prevent even one broken hip, arm etc. In a similar desire for safety, it is a very difficult decision for pastors and counselors (in consultation with the First Presidency) to decide when to cancel or when to open services in our congregations during the virus outbreak. Whenever any congregation begins to meet again, for some it will be too soon, and for some, it will be too long a wait. (A comparison, is the observation that in any given service where there are many Saints, some are sensing that conditions are much too hot, fanning themselves, while others nearby are much too cold, putting on coats and wrapping themselves in blankets). President Patience has made it clear in the past, that if anyone feels unsafe meeting in person, they need to feel comfortable staying home and watching/listening on broadcast. But, either way, we need to lovingly support our pastors' and counselors' decisions. These decisions, as stated, are not made without a lot of thought/prayer. Some pastors will be able to have their congregations meeting regularly, including Sunday school and Wednesday night prayer service (which could include many congregations outside Center Place), starting June 7th orbefore. Others are going to open initially with Sunday morning preaching starting June 14th, with no Sunday school and no Wednesday night prayer service other than online, such as First Missouri Congregation. (On the evening of June 9th, at 7 PM, there will be a meeting of all First Missouri priesthood at the Gathering Place Worship Center to discuss the opening process.) Efforts will be made and discussed to be certain that all rules and regulations of the state, county and city are being followed.
The same great effort is going into deciding how and when to continue our camps and reunions etc. Perhaps due to the format, and proximity, camps and reunions will be more difficult to open safely than weekly services in congregations. Not everyone involved will have the same idea, but the beauty of it is we are all pulling in the same direction with the same goal. We all have the desire that Zion, the kingdom of God on earth will be, and that we are able to enter Celestial Glory when our day of probation is past.
For the First Presidency