Members and Other Friends

Time to Spare

The last students left for home early Thursday morning, March 19.  The service couples were also asked  to leave the Jerusalem Center because of  the corona-virus and restrictions of the government.  We are all sad to leave the members, the land and culture that we love. Hopefully, we will be able to return in a few months.
In the meantime, the area presidency has asked that I continue to serve as the Jerusalem district president until we can return; or, until they call another president.  Margaret has been asked to continue her work with humanitarian projects in the west bank and Israel.
Photo by Dennis Brimhall
Last Sabbath, we tried to reach all of the members of the Church in the district by a Zoom broadcast. We had a few technical problems but we are learning. 
We held the broadcast to comply with new restrictions set in place by the Ministry of Heath.  We also cancelled all Church meeting in compliance with a letter from the First Presidency.  This is a copy of the letter that was sent to all members:

12 de marzo de 2020
Estimados hermanos y hermanas:
Tal como se prometió en nuestra carta del 11 de marzo de 2020, seguimos observando las condiciones cambiantes relacionadas con el COVID-19 en todo el mundo. Hemos tomado en consideración la opinión de líderes locales de la Iglesia, funcionarios gubernamentales y profesionales del campo de la medicina, y hemos buscado la guía del Señor en estos asuntos. Comunicamos a continuación las siguientes instrucciones actualizadas.
Con efecto inmediato, se suspenden provisionalmente todas las reuniones públicas de miembros de la Iglesia en todo el mundo hasta nuevo aviso. Esto comprende:
• Conferencias de estaca, conferencias de líderes y otras reuniones con grandes números de personas.
• Todos los servicios de adoración públicos, incluso las reuniones sacramentales.
• Las actividades de rama, de barrio y de estaca.
Donde sea posible, los líderes deben efectuar todas las reuniones de liderazgo indispensables por medio de la tecnología. Las preguntas concretas al respecto se pueden dirigir a los líderes locales del sacerdocio. Se impartirán más instrucciones relacionadas con otros asuntos.
Los obispos deben deliberar en consejo con su presidente de estaca para determinar cómo hacer para que los miembros puedan participar de la Santa Cena al menos una vez al mes.
Instamos a los miembros a cuidarse los unos a los otros en su labor de ministración. Debemos seguir el ejemplo del Salvador de bendecir y elevar a los demás.
Damos nuestro testimonio del amor del Señor en estos momentos de incertidumbre. Él los bendecirá para que puedan hallar gozo al hacer todo lo posible por vivir el evangelio de Jesucristo en cualquier circunstancia.
Atentamente,
La Primera Presidencia
y el Cuórum de los Doce Apóstoles
Traducción de First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles letter, 12 March 2020: Public Gatherings of Church Members. Spanish.
17493 002

12 במרץ, 2020

אחים ואחיות יקרים,

כפי שהובטח במכתבנו מיום 11 במרץ 2020, אנו ממשיכים לעקוב אחר התנאים המשתנים הקשורים ל- COVID-19 ברחבי העולם. שקלנו את עצתם של מנהיגי הכנסייה המקומית, פקידי ממשל ואנשי מקצוע בתחום הרפואה, וחיפשנו את הנחייתו של האדון בנושאים אלה. אנו מספקים כעת את ההוראות המעודכנות הבאות.

החל מייד, כל הישיבות הציבוריות של חברי הכנסייה מושעות באופן זמני ברחבי העולם עד להודעה חדשה. זה כולל:

  • כנסי אירוע, ועידות מנהיגות וכינוסים גדולים אחרים.
  • כל שירותי הסגידה לציבור, כולל ישיבות קודש.
  • פעילויות סניף, מחלקה ומוקד.

במידת האפשר, על מנהיגים לערוך פגישות מנהיגות חיוניות באמצעות טכנולוגיה. שאלות ספציפיות ניתן להפנות למנהיגי הכהונה המקומית.

יינתן הכוונה נוספת הקשורה לעניינים אחרים. על הבישופים להיוועץ עם נשיא המוקד שלהם כדי לקבוע כיצד להעמיד לרשות חברי הקודש לפחות פעם בחודש.

אנו מעודדים חברים במאמצי השרת שלהם לטפל זה בזה. עלינו ללכת לפי הדוגמה של המושיע כדי לברך ולהרים אחרים.

אנו מעידים על עדתנו לאהבת האדון בתקופה זו של אי וודאות. הוא יברך אותך למצוא שמחה כשאתה עושה כמיטב יכולתך לחיות את בשורת ישוע המשיח בכל מצב.

בכנות,

הנשיאות הראשונה וכמותה של ערוצי שניים-עשר

12 марта 2020 г.
Дорогие братья и сестры!
Как было обещано в письме от 11 марта 2020 года, мы продолжаем отслеживать изменения, связанные с распространением коронавируса COVID-19 по миру. Мы рассмотрели рекомендации местных руководителей Церкви, государственных служащих и медицинских специалистов, а также обратились к Господу за наставлением по этим вопросам и предоставляем следующие обновленные указания.
Проведение всех публичных собраний членов Церкви временно приостанавливается по всему миру до особого распоряжения. Это указание вводится в действие немедленно. К таким собраниям относятся следующие:
• Конференции кольев и руководства и прочие крупные собрания.
• Все публичные Богослужения, включая причастные собрания.
• Мероприятия на уровне небольшого прихода, прихода и кола.
Там, где это возможно, просим проводить необходимые собрания руководства дистанционно. С отдельными вопросами можно обращаться к местным руководителям священства. Также будут предоставлены указания в отношении прочих моментов.
Епископы должны обсудить со своим президентом кола, каким образом организовать принятие членами Церкви причастия как минимум раз в месяц.
Мы призываем членов Церкви оказывать заботливое служение друг другу. Нам следует подражать примеру Спасителя, благословляя и возвышая окружающих.
Мы приносим наше свидетельство о любви Господней в этот период неопределенности. Он благословит вас, чтобы вы обрели радость, когда будете изо всех сил стремиться жить по Евангелию Иисуса Христа в любых обстоятельствах.
C наилучшими пожеланиями,
Первое Президентство
и Кворум Двенадцати Апостолов
Перевод First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles letter, 12 March 2020: Public Gatherings of Church Members. Russian.
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March 12, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As promised in our letter of March 11, 2020, we continue to monitor the changing conditions related to COVID-19 throughout the world. We have considered the counsel of local Church leaders, government officials and medical professionals, and have sought the Lord’s guidance in these matters. We now provide the following updated directions.
Beginning immediately, all public gatherings of Church members are being temporarily suspended worldwide until further notice. This includes:
  • Stake conferences, leadership conferences and other large gatherings.
  • All public worship services, including sacrament meetings.
  • Branch, ward and stake activities.
Where possible, leaders should conduct any essential leadership meetings via technology. Specific questions may be referred to local priesthood leaders.
Further direction related to other matters will be provided. Bishops should counsel with their stake president to determine how to make the sacrament available to members at least once a month.
We encourage members in their ministering efforts to care for one another. We should follow the Savior’s example to bless and lift others.
We bear our witness of the Lord’s love during this time of uncertainty. He will bless you to find joy as you do your best to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in every circumstance.
Sincerely,
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND QUORUM OF TIIE TWELVE APOSTLES
 
 
With this letter, we have temporarily suspended all Church meetings.
The general direction of the Brethren is that the sacrament meetings should normally be home centered, that is, held in the homes with the father (or mother) presiding. Our district was granted an exception because of the large number of caregivers in our district.
We have permission to hold virtual sacrament meetings in our district as needed. When a virtual sacrament meeting is broadcast, it may be at the branch level and sometimes at the district level.
In order to protect the sacred nature of the sacrament, streaming of the services will be stopped during the administration of the sacrament and begin again after the sacrament.
  • Those who do not have a priesthood holder in the home are encouraged to read and ponder the words of the sacrament.
  • Those who have a priesthood holder in the home may bless and pass the sacrament if approved by their branch president.
Also, we hope to provide the service in Hebrew, English, Russian, and Spanish as needed. We are asking for help with the translations.  
First Virtual Jerusalem District Sacrament Meeting 
March 12, 2020 
It is hard to know what to say during times like this, with such enormous changes on every front. Our feelings are near the surface and carry us down a wide path of emotions.  Many of our close friends and students will soon leave for home.
There is a Chinese blessing: May you live in interesting times. We are living in very interesting times. You can say that with confidence.  Quite suddenly, we find ourselves in a time of concern, uneasiness, some anxiety, and a great deal of uncertainty.   
There are many things that we don’t know. But, today, I want to talk about some of the things that we do know:
  1. We know that this debilitating trial of the corona virus will not last. We will rise above it. We are all resolute and determined. Life will go on.
  2. We know that this trial is not the last one that we will face. It is the nature of life and of the times in which we live.
  3. As the Brethren have recently said: The most important work in the world is the Lord’s work and it needs to go forward. We should not react out of fear.
We have much work to do. The gathering on either side of the vail is not anywhere near complete.
  1. The Lord will bless us and give us the power and strength to succeed in our mission.
Alma and his people were in a tight spot. They were told they could not even pray or they would be put to death. So, they prayed in their hearts to God and he answered: Mosiah 24:13,14,16
If there is any doubt, read the promises in the scriptures. Read your patriarchal blessing. Read again the promise of the First Presidency and Twelve.
“We bear our witness of the Lord’s love during this time of uncertainty. He will bless you and find joy as you do your best to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in every circumstance.”
Comments
May I share two comments that I know are apparent to all. The first comment is how the church has changed its focus from Church centered programs to Home Center and Church Supported.  Could anything be more timely and needed?
The second comment is the relevance and timely introduction of Come Follow Me manuals. This gives us the materials and support that we need today, this very day.  Materials that help us strengthen our children and each other in our homes.
And, along with this is the ongoing need to lift and help one another in our ministering efforts to care for one another in unique ways.
Here is a question:  with the additional time that we now have on hand, how do we spend it? The Lord has given us two priceless gifts in this life: time and agency. We now have more discretionary time because of the changes we face.
Here is one suggestion: Our prophet asked us, urged us to find a way to spend more time doing family history and temple work.  Maybe this additional time is a gift of significant importance.
Another suggestion may be to spend a little more time studying the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon as we prepare for April Conference.  The Book of Mormon answers all the questions of the soul. 
Conclusion
These are uncertain times and we don’t know the outcome in the short run. But, in the long run, we know. We know that if we do our best, the Lord will bless us. Our testimonies will be strengthened, our families will become stronger, we will see many who are now less active come back to the church, and we will find an added measure of peace and joy. 

7 Comments

  • Kristine Eccles

    I love these sweet thoughts and testimony of the gospel. Thank you for the incredible sacrifice of serving with the members in Isreal. We love you and are grateful for your continual example of devotion and dedication. Love you! And so glad you made it home safely.

  • James Todd

    You both are and have always been, an inspiration to all of us. Welcome home and may the Lord’s blessings be with you.

  • Priscilla Todd

    Although the circumstances of your return are less than ideal, Welcome Home! Thank you for your service and, as always, positive attitude and visionary ability to see things in an eternal perspective. You are right! This, too, will pass! I have had a couple of thoughts. We live in a chaotic world that cannot or will not, slow down. We have had to slow down giving us an opportunity to not only hear with our ears, but listen with our hearts. We have been quieted. We are gathered as families, with each man’s tent door, if you will, facing the temple for Conference. And I do not know this, but have wondered if our “shake out” perhaps showed weaknesses in the temple that will need extra shoring. Like burying the foundation for Johnston’s army. Anyway, just thoughts. Welcome Home!

    • Gay Muir

      So thankful you are safely home.I am going to do a Drive by hello soon.
      You will love being a lone for 24 days…Ugh. Have loved having Sacrament here with just the two of us. I am reading and practicing waisting time also. Looking forward to Conference
      Take good care of yourselfers. We know we are being watched over and blessed. Thankful for the teachings of the gospel more now then ever before!
      Love you two…see you Soon
      Gay &Dal

  • Tanya cahoon

    Glad you are home safely. We were just getting ready to send in an application package to BYU so are not sure of a time right now. You have had a great opportunity! Three of our favorite things- working with members, working with youth and wandering the streets of Jerusalem. What marvellous memories you have. We love and admire you. Paul and Tanya Cahoon

  • Lisa Lifferth Brown

    What a beautiful post. I am so grateful to have a living Prophet who continues to guide us. I am so grateful we have the Come, Follow Me program in our homes so we can continue worshiping no matter what the circumstances are. The time spent in a Israel will be one of my favorite memories. I am so glad our family had time with you in Israel. We fell in love with the place, especially the people. We love you and are so grateful you are home.

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