While serving in the South Africa Durban Mission, Elder Brigham Jewkes and his companion faced an intense summer drought in the Leribe, Lesotho area. The water to the chapel was shut off, and any water they needed would have to be hauled in buckets from the town well. That meant that the baptismal font was empty, the sinks were dry, and the sacrament cups would have to be filled some other way.
One Sunday morning the two missionaries brought a two-liter bottle of water from their apartment to use for the sacrament that day. As Elder Jewkes gathered the sacrament trays and began to prepare the bread and water, he silently prayed that the Spirit would be with him in that moment and throughout the day's meetings. Because of the limited amount of water, Elder Jewkes realized that he couldn't fill the cups as he normally would—running a steady stream of water over the tray to fill whole rows of cups at a time. Instead, he filled each cup, one by one, being careful to pour exactly the right amount.
Although this method was slower and more tedious, Elder Jewkes recognized an important lesson as he worked. Pausing for a moment over each cup, he felt the Spirit testify of Christ's suffering for each individual, one by one. The Atonement was not quick, casual, or impersonal. The Savior felt our pains and sins on an individual and personal basis, and He understands, knows, and loves each of us personally.
“Christ brings joy as a personal handwritten note as well as a worldwide broadcasted announcement,” Elder Jewkes wrote in an email to his family the next day. “I felt it right there, in the back room of the chapel, and I can feel it every time I think of His love for me.”
Just like Elder Jewkes on that morning in Leribe, every member of the Church can gain a personal testimony of the sacrament. Church leaders have emphasized the importance of this ordinance in recent general conference messages, Sabbath-day trainings, and through the #HisDay social media campaign.
Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) administration has encouraged teachers and employees to renew “our focus on teaching the principle of Sabbath-day observance and the doctrine associated with the sacrament and to enlist the youth and young adults of the Church to strive to better understand and live these principles” (Chad H Webb, “The Sabbath Day” [Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, Aug. 4, 2015], LDS.org). As we make the Sabbath a meaningful opportunity to worship and remember the Savior, His sacrifice and Atonement will become real and personal to each of us.
As you gain a personal witness of the sacrament, teach and testify to your students about the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the importance of the sacrament as you discuss related passages in the scriptures. These passages could include the Last Supper (see Matthew 26:26–30), the Savior’s institution of the sacrament to the Nephites (see 3 Nephi 18:5–12), and events surrounding the Atonement (see Luke 22:39–53).
Review the following additional resources to better understand the doctrine of the Sabbath and to learn how you can make it a personal experience for yourself and your students:
- “Upon My Holy Day—Getting Closer to God” (video; LDS.org)
- Chad H Webb, “The Sabbath Day” (Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, Aug. 4, 2015), LDS.org
The above story was shared by Brother John Jewkes, the father of Elder Brigham Jewkes. Brother Jewkes has worked for S&I for 30 years and currently works at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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