On March 12, 2020 leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that all Sunday gatherings would be temporarily on hold as nations struggle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Several families and individuals from different parts of the world took time to share their Sunday, March 15, 2020 worship experiences.
Jose Garcia, Carmen Campos (his wife), and Marta (their teenage daughter) enjoyed a pancake breakfast at their Tarragona home in northeastern Spain before dressing in their Sunday best for sacrament meeting in their living room.
With Carmen conducting and Marta accompanying on the piano, they sang an opening hymn followed by prayer. Since Jose Garcia had permission to administer the sacrament in their home, they sang a sacrament hymn before he reverently blessed and passed the bread and water to his family.
Then, they watched President Russell M. Nelson’s video message of hope. Sister Campos explained that President Nelson’s words, “Left us comforted, unafraid, and grateful.”
After sharing testimonies, the family spent the rest of the day watching talks from Church leaders, listening to hymns, and ministering to friends and loved ones in their community via text messages and video conferencing. They set many goals for the week ahead—the first being that Marta will continue with seminary by using video conferencing.
Salt Lake Valley, Utah
Christa Woodall and her roommate, Christina Davis, hosted a Sabbath day gathering on Facebook Live. Their virtual worship service was both lively and welcoming.
Sister Woodall explained: “I greeted people as they popped into the Live, and by the end of nearly an hour’s discussion, the video had 90 views. Among the viewers were friends not of our faith, and I felt like this is a wonderful opportunity to not only discuss the gospel with fellow Saints but to share its message with anyone in my Facebook network.”
During their Come, Follow Me discussion, they made sure to add context to their discussion of the Book of Jacob so fellow online congregants of all backgrounds could better understand its meaning.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
For Elder Jorge M. Alvarado, a General Authority Seventy and a counselor in the Caribbean Area Presidency, Sundays are typically filled with stake and district gatherings. But on March 15, 2020, Elder Alvarado’s sacrament service was held in the family living room with his wife, Sister Cari Lu Alvarado, and their 16-year-old son, Jorge Daniel.
The Alvarados first tuned in to the weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast before Jorge Daniel blessed and administered the sacrament to his parents and himself. On this unforgettable day, Elder Alvarado said he was uplifted by the words of the hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul.”
Elder Alvarado explained: “We cried together and shared messages, as we were asked to do. We know that there are challenges, but we have peace because of Jesus Christ and the Atonement.”
They also re-watched President Nelson’s video message that added comfort and hope.
Argemiro Trochez wrote that for his family of different ages: “It was a very spiritual experience to partake of the sacrament together, and we are grateful to have a prophet who guides us. I feel that our Heavenly Father will not abandon us in moments of trouble, and I appreciate having the power of the priesthood in my home. I felt the love of my Savior on this unforgettable day of rest.”
Studying Come, Follow Me together added priceless guidance for the Trochez family. Brother Trochez concluded: “We also set goals as a family to be servants working alongside the Lord in His vineyard, even amid the crisis. I feel immensely blessed to have the tools to strengthen my spirit and my family.”
Dustin and DeLynne Brown and their six children dressed in their Sunday clothes and shared testimony and instruction in their home. “We received counsel from our stake president and bishop to create a reverent atmosphere in our home,” reported DeLynne Brown. “In following that counsel, we tidied our home and had piano music of the hymns provided by one of our sons.”
They enjoyed a Church-themed game as part of their home-centered Sunday worship. The young family also discussed how they can still feel joy and peace during times of uncertainty.
The Brocks (Michael, Nanda and Jessica) gathered in their home for their approved sacrament service. Brother Brock wrote, “We all felt the Holy Spirit as we participated in the sacrament together.”
Fourteen-year-old Jessica then shared this week’s lesson from the Come, Follow Me manual. They discussed the allegory of the olive trees and how the Lord is merciful to His children, with His arm extended continually toward us.
Diego Escobar spent the Sabbath day by himself, but he was not alone. After putting on his Sunday suit, he answered a video call from three men and a woman from his ward. Together, those five friends enjoyed a Sunday service together via technology.
“The brother who organized the video call was the bishop’s first counselor, and he presided and led the meeting,” said Brother Escobar. “We sang a hymn, said a prayer…. and then the presiding brother shared some scriptures and closed with his testimony. He then encouraged us to share our testimonies.”
After the video call ended, Brother Escobar remained in his Sunday clothes—“ready to fulfill any assignment given to me.”
Richard and Tara Mickelsen, a member of the Primary General Board, enjoyed Sunday’s sacrament meeting in their home with a few relatives and four women from their ward.
Sister Mickelsen wrote: “It was a sweet experience for me to see my husband and son-in-law worthily bless and pass the sacrament to each of us. As we discussed the scriptures, each individual contributed personal experiences and thoughts which enriched us all. We also enjoyed the opportunity to visit with each other—something that does not always happen with our rushed schedule at church.”
Sunday was a busy day for Thomas and Carole Raymond and their three young children. The family took time to renew sacred covenants and worship together.
“I reminded the children in a few words about the importance of the sacrament and what we were doing,” wrote Brother Raymond.
San Clemente, California
Sunday’s home-based Sabbath services allowed Russ and Barbara Bell to share their Sunday worship service not only with their immediate family but also with their full-time missionary son, Elder Joe Bell, who is serving in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. The Bells have become accustomed to studying Come, Follow Me with Elder Bell during his weekly phone calls home.
This special Sunday reminded the family that the home can be a sacred place of worship and refuge where the Spirit resides.