Latter-day Saints Find Peace by Accepting President Nelson’s Global Call to Fast
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
Latter-day Saints who utilized Twitter on Sunday morning to gather the latest coronavirus news likely found peace in the words of a latter-day Apostle.
“Today I am following President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation and joining with you in fasting and prayer to appeal to our Heavenly Father to provide relief from the COVID-19 pandemic,” tweeted President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
His hopeful @BallardMRussell thread continued:
“I recognize that many of you are worried about this disease and its impact on your families. Turn to the Lord to guide you and your family through this difficult time. Look to Him as the Savior and the Redeemer of all mankind. Express gratitude for what you have. Be happy. Keep moving forward and do the best you can.
“In time, these circumstances will pass.”
Members of all backgrounds on Sunday joined President Nelson and President Ballard for a worldwide fast for “physical, spiritual healing” in response to the ongoing pandemic. Many Latter-day Saints invited friends and loved one from other religions—or no religion at all—to join in their humble invocations.
Several shared with the Church News their thoughts on unity and faith as they were concluding their Sabbath-day fast.
—In San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wilfred Rosa and Idaliz Santiago and their three young children centered their Sunday family home study on the joyful blessings of the restoration of Christ’s gospel.
“We are all fasting and the Spirit feels so strong,” reported Wilfred Rosa. “We can feel the power of following the prophet’s counsel. Our kids are so much more reverent then what they would normally be.”
—Jerry Hsieh of Belmont, Massachusetts, said a Sunday morning online Zoom conference with the Kendall Square Mandarin-language Branch afforded much-needed opportunities to fast and pray together.
“During the members’ testimonies, many mentioned how wonderful it was to be gathered together and praying and fasting in unity with all the members around the world.”
Utilizing social media, Hsieh also invited several associates from the Boston-area Chinese community to join the branch’s Sunday prayer and testimony meeting.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to be united with our neighbors for a common purpose.… It was a day of prayer where we could collectively exercise our faith.”
—Fasting alongside fellow Latter-day Saints around the world Sunday left Nancy Muñoz of Miami, Florida, feeling grateful for a living prophet and an attentive God.
“Whenever I see bad things in the world, I think of the sadness that our Heavenly Father must feel. With today’s fast, I’m glad I could demonstrate love and obedience for my Father in Heaven. The fast has filled me with the peace and strength to go on each day and make the best of things.”
Her sister, Maria Isabel Garcia-Craven, of Houston, Texas, added that accepting President Nelson’s invitation to fast and pray with others worldwide marked a priceless blessing.
“I have a strong testimony of prayer and fasting, and I know that we will pass this test, no matter the outcome. Our faith and love for Heavenly Father and His Son will grow larger and stronger.”
—Olympic marathoner and husband/father Jared Ward of Provo, Utah, also utilized Twitter Sunday to witness of President Nelson’s prophetic call and his global call to join Sunday in fasting and prayer.
“Slowing down today—praying and playing together—reminded me that peace and happiness are still here,” he reported to the Church News. “We shared a lot of smiles today…. I feel the blessing of peace.”
—Inés Aristizábal of Madrid, Spain, said Sunday’s global fast left her feeling spiritually-equipped “to quell the noise of the world” and reconnect with the Lord.
“Feelings of gratitude have helped me to know peace and to have confidence in a future that some might call uncertain. The fact that we can have peace in our hearts is a miracle that only God makes possible.”
—Juan Carlos Romero of Cartagena, Colombia, said following “our beloved prophet’s call to fast” invited the Lord into his home on Sunday.
“Tears have rolled down my cheeks knowing that my eldest daughter [is preparing] to serve a mission to El Salvador and that she was called to serve by President Nelson,” he said. “This fast has strengthened my testimony and my family—and I know it’s strengthened the stakes of Zion.”
—Alex Kelly of Lafayette, California, said Sunday’s fast provided assurances “that things were going to improve.”
Following Bay Area directives to remain at home has been difficult for Kelly. He’d like to be able to get out and help others in need. But faith, he said, precedes delivery.
“Even in these circumstances, I know that our Heavenly Father can provide His children with all they need to be happy,” he wrote. “This fast is an inspired way that we can show our trust in Him.
“I have seen miracles from fasts before, and I believe that miracles will happen around the world as an answer to our faithful sacrifice. I am comforted knowing that Christ will strengthen us—especially those I am unable to help myself—throughout this shared trial. This is an excellent opportunity to build up Zion, and to be of ‘one heart and one mind’ with the Lord” (Moses 7:18).
—Joining with fellow Latter-day Saints for Sunday’s fast will invoke the powers of heaven, said Arika Arami Cabrera of San Lorenzo, Paraguay.
“Doing these things gives us the hope and peace that is needed in the world at this moment,” she said. “I know that if we remain obedient to the Lord at this time we can become more like Jesus Christ.”
—Ricardo Barona of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, said Sunday’s fast was rich in spiritual promise.
“I felt strongly that God has accepted this fast with all His love,” he wrote. “I know that fasting is a very powerful way to not only measure our faith—but also to receive answers to our prayers.
“I’m thankful that Heavenly Father is offering me peace even while so much is unsettled in the world.”
—Fasting together as a Church signals a common trust shared by Latter-day Saints everywhere, observed Aida Gonzalez of Arequipa, Peru.
“We can put ourselves in the Lord’s hands,” she wrote. “He loves us.”
Wilfred Rosa and his wife, Idaliz Santiago, spent the Sabbath day, March 29, 2020, fasting and spending time with their children—Alexander, Daniela, and Marina. Like many members worldwide, the family accepted President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to fast for a resolution to the coronavirus pandemic.