At the 2016 BYU Women’s Conference, LDS Charities put up a board and invited attendees to share how they were going to give back and take part in the “I Was a Stranger” initiative.
In the 1972 October general conference, Elder Marvin J. Ashton said:
“It takes courage to be a real friend. Some of us endanger the valued classification of friend because of our unwillingness to be one under all circumstances. Fear can deprive us of friendship. Some of us identify our closest friends as those with the courage to remain and share themselves with us under all circumstances.”1
Find the courage to be a friend at all times. Just as the Savior is our friend, we should be friends to those around us. When we show charity and love to the strangers around us, we are following His example. Here are some thoughts about how to be a friend, as shared by the sisters in attendance at the 2016 BYU Women’s Conference:
“Always say kind things.”—Anonymous
“Do something daily to increase the sum total of happiness in the world.”—Anonymous
“Encourage others positively.”—Tiffany H.
“I will strive to uplift others as I go.”—Debbie
“I will try to lift another’s burden each day.”—Shauna L.
“I will get involved in LDS Charities and continue to do one deliberate act of kindness each day.”—Lexy
“I will do a kind turn daily.”—M. S.
“Smile to a stranger.”—Mariellen T.
“I will try and find people to build new relationships with to help meet their needs.”—Traci
“I will seek the lonely.”—Gwen
“Get to know my neighbors better—invite them over for BBQ.”—Wendy H.
“I will seek out those in need actively through organizations and help people feel more hope and joy in their lives.”—Lisa M.
“I work in an assisted-living home and love talking with and getting to know the wonderful people who live there. I feel their sweet spirits.”—Heather S.
“I will discover the strangers that live on my block and open the gates to bring them inside.”—Sharon
“I will be more willing to welcome people around me.”—Shawnee M.
“I will smile at others and be kind.”—Kelly
“I will learn the names of all the families on my street.”—Lori
“I will always be a good example to others.”—Morgan H.
“I will love my neighbor!”—Anonymous
“I was and still am a stranger, so I know what it means to be a refugee. Let’s therefore be our brothers’ keepers!”—Tito M.
“I will try to talk to every person I observe who might need a friend, especially in my community, stores, and parking lots. I will seek the inspiration to know what he or she may need.”—Linda S. Reeves
1. Marvin J. Ashton, “What Is a Friend?” Ensign, Jan. 1973, 41.