Often referred to as the 'Northern Capital' of British Columbia, the city of Prince George actually sits geographically closer to the centre of the province. Situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, the area is also the traditional homeland of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation, whose very name means 'people of the confluence of the two rivers”.
The Prince George Stake is spread geographically across a very large area extending from 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Bella Coola, Quesnel, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, and Dease Lake in the far northwest corner of the province. For these members, travelling long distances to Church meetings is a way of life—one that they accept willingly because of the faith and testimony that burns within them. Despite these challenges, the members of the Prince George Stake streamed in from their various communities and joined together the weekend of September 12-13 for stake conference. Many stake members drove several hours from outlying areas to attend training and receive instruction from their local leaders, as well as from Elder Jorge F. Zeballos of the First Quorum of the Seventy who presided over the conference.
During the Sunday session of conference, Stake President Eugene Marks instructed stake members to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives using the analogy of preparation for running a marathon. He encouraged members to 'put in the time' to prepare before challenges occur in their lives.
For many members in attendance, the highlight of the conference included instruction from Elder Zeballos. In his soft Spanish accent, encouraged members to live happy lives. Outlining the points of how accomplish that, Elder Zeballos taught that true happiness comes through living the gospel of Jesus Christ and he suggested four key ingredients to living a happy life:
1) Be obedient to the commandments
2) Repent often
3) Develop the capacity to forgive
4) Bring souls to the kingdom through missionary, retention and temple efforts.
After the conference, members of the stake lingered for a while to maintain the feeling of the “warm embrace of the spirit” that had attended the meeting and to enjoy associating with each other before heading back out on the road for the long drive back to their separate homes. Armed with the counsel of their leaders and their shared testimonies and sacrifices, the members agreed it was a trip well worth the effort.