General Authorities Visit Edmonton on Easter

General Authorities Visit Edmonton on Easter

In the Edmonton area, five stakes received instruction from two general authorities and an area seventy on Easter Sunday, April, 20. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder G. Lawrence Spackman, North American Central area seventy, conducted two special stake conferences and a leadership meeting.

In the Edmonton Alberta North Stake Centre, “Elder Soares spoke of the love he had for the Saints and the love President Monson had for us as well,” said President Andrew Bachelder of the stake presidency. Elder Soares also spoke of missionary work and the blessings that come from sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. He bore witness of Jesus Christ and His divine mission.

“All the messages of the conference taught us to live the gospel to receive blessings from our Heavenly Father,” said President Bachelder. “I feel our members have a renewed dedication to live the Gospel more fully and receive the blessings the Lord would bestow upon us.”

Another conference was held in the Edmonton Alberta Millwoods Stake Centre  presided over by Elder Christofferson and accompanied by Elder Spackman. “It has been many years since a member of the Twelve Apostles has visited the Millwoods Stake,”  said Bishop John C. Strong of the Wetaskiwin Ward. “Attendance at the conference was very high and the feelings were amplified by the fact that the visit came on Easter Sunday.

Elder Spackman emphasized missionary work and the power of the Book Of Mormon in conversion. In his address, he reviewed Doctrine and Covenants 17:6 where the Lord testifies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how it changes lives for good, not just non-members lives.

Elder Christofferson explained the role of the Twelve Apostles, instructing and sharing what it means to be a special witness of the Saviour. He bore his personal witness of the divinity of the  Jesus Christ and left an apostolic blessing of a full measure of the Holy Ghost, a blessing of harmony, peace in the members' homes that will push away other influences so that they can centre their lives in Him. He blessed their scripture study to give them added light and he said  they would have security and refuge in their stake.

Bishop Gerald J. Kastendieck of Southgate Ward commented, “Elder Christofferson said if we keep our individual covenants, ‘we know all end well.’ He also testified that President Monson, with all the concerns and administrative things he has on his mind, still continues his personal ministry. Each week, he visits someone or administers in a personal way. Elder Christofferson stated that we are an ‘outward-looking religion’ and one of the primary objectives of the gospel is service.”

“Elder Christofferson emphasized our responsibilities as members of the Church to move Heavenly Father’s work forward,” said Bishop Darven W. Smetaniuk of the Beaumont Ward. “We have to do our part and he helped us feel excited about doing more. The missionaries are here to assist us, but we as members need to be the driving force to share the gospel. Our apostle also helped the members in attendance feel peace. We know that we have obstacles and challenges, but we can keep going forward. He brought a spirit that everyone felt.”

After the conference, Elder Christofferson invited all the children and youth to come forward so he could shake their hands. “It was a very exciting experience for the children,” said Bishop Strong. “My own children got to shake his hand and were very excited to have had the opportunity. It also provided us an opportunity to teach them what an apostle is.”

“Our ward felt blessed to be personally at the conference. “We usually are included by broadcast because we are an out-of-town unit. I was very pleased that our members came out in full force. One of the most frequently heard comments was that members were impressed with how personable Elder Christofferson was. He was relaxed and taught them, and they felt like he was one of them.”

“I felt very strengthened by the day,” continued Bishop Strong, 'knowing that I had indeed heard a prophet testify that my Saviour lives. I felt personal confirmation of that. I left feeling grateful for the Easter season and renewed to live my life as Christ would have me live.”

A recently baptized member said he loved the conference and  he felt the spirit as soon as Elder Christofferson entered. Another member said, “I felt so good as he spoke and bore testimony.” 

Bishop Kastendieck said, “Elder Christofferson told us that through these multi-stake conferences, the general authorities could personally reach across the Church in three years.”

At the leadership meeting, Elder Christofferson taught, “The gospel must not only be part of your influence, but part of your character. Stop from time to time and measure yourself.” The leaders were counselled that they 'should not only be busy, but fruitful in their service, to move their feet to march forward and not to just march in place as they serve.”

Elder Christofferson concluded by expressing love and appreciation for the membership of the Edmonton area. “Thank you for your service, we recognize your offering; it is sacred.  We are deeply grateful for what you do.”