Each month, the Church News publishes a message to complement the Visiting Teaching message found in the Ensign magazine. This article is based on the July 2010 theme, "Strengthening at every opportunity."
This is Sister Julie Maree Beugre Powa from Africa's Ivory Coast. Sister Powa served as first counselor in the Cocody Ivory Coast Stake Relief Society presidency during the Ivorian civil war in 2002 and is now the stake Young Women president. She tells of the struggles that the sisters and the families faced during their civil war, and how the gospel helped to strengthen them.
In the Church News article, Sister Powa emphasized how the members relied on visiting teaching and food storage to help them with the difficulties they faced in the Ivory Coast. In addition to their hard work and provident living needs, here is an excerpt about how the members spiritually handled their struggles.
"We taught them that they should keep their faith; most of them did keep their faith," she said. "You have to rely on God. If you don't have hope, your life is gone. You have to keep praying that the war will stop; you shouldn't give up."
Eventually, the war did end, but members still face difficulties every day. What amazes Sister Powa about her ward and stake are the people who walk miles and hours to and from church, who have tough challenges in life and who sell goods on the street to feed their families when no other jobs are available. These people come to church with smiles on their faces, excited to be part of the gospel, she said.
It's a great article, and if you'd like to read the rest of it, you can find it here. It's so faith inspiring to read how members all over the world use their faith to assist them in their trials, and it makes me want to be better too! Plus, this gave me a lot more to think about when reading this upcoming month's visiting teaching message. Strengthening families and homes really can be life and death in different times and areas around the world, and it makes me really think if I could do the same when hard times come to me. I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy this inspiring article!