“The Blessings of Ministering,” Ensign, Oct. 2009, 34–37
The exemplary ministry of President Thomas S. Monson is well-known among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For more than six decades he has reached out to those in need, giving comfort and peace to countless individuals and personally ministering to the sick and afflicted.1
“Today there are hearts to gladden, there are deeds to be done—even precious souls to save,” President Monson has declared. “The sick, the weary, the hungry, the cold, the injured, the lonely, the aged, the wanderer, all cry out for our help.”2
In his personal ministry, President Monson has shown the difference between administering and ministering. Church members administer programs and ordinances, but they minister to individuals, loving them and coming to their relief. In reaching out to others, President Monson has emulated the Savior, who “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Mark 10:45).
As the following four accounts illustrate, Latter-day Saints who “go, and do … likewise” (Luke 10:37) bless others, the Church, and themselves.
My recovery following minor surgery was not as easy as I had been led to expect. But as ward Relief Society president, I felt that I should be giving help to others, not asking for it. On Monday morning, three days after my surgery, I had to get seven children up and ready for school. I wondered if I would have to keep my oldest daughter home to help with the baby.
As these thoughts went through my head, the doorbell rang. Vickie Woodard, my first counselor and a good friend, had come to help. She announced that she was there to make pancakes. She had a bowl of batter in her arms and asked where she could find a frying pan. The children were delighted.
After breakfast, Vickie got the children off to school, cleaned up, and took the baby home until his noon nap time. Later, when I asked who was caring for her own young children, she told me that her husband had taken a couple of hours off work so she could help me.
Vickie’s and her husband’s service that day allowed me to gather my strength and contributed to my recovery.
Beverly Ashcroft, Arizona, USA
One day when I was home alone with my youngest son, I slipped on a step and fell. Resulting abdominal pain persisted for several days, so I went to see a doctor.
I was pregnant at the time, and tests indicated that my placenta had become detached. This condition required complete rest, or I could lose the baby.
I was worried because we had three little children and could not afford to pay for help. The sisters in my branch, however, found out about my condition and, without being asked, came to my aid. They organized themselves into three groups that helped me in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
They came to wash, iron, cook, clean, and help my children with their homework. A sister named Rute, who was baptized into the Church while I was confined to bed, became well-known in our home. Rute, a nurse, helped at night and administered necessary injections.
I didn’t need to ask for anything; these sisters anticipated my needs and took care of everything. When they had more help than they needed, one sister would sit and visit with me. They did this for three months.
These sisters gave me strength, love, and dedication. They gave of their time and talents. They made sacrifices to be there. They never asked for anything in return. They loved and they served, following the example of the Lord, who taught us, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
Enilze do Rocio Ferreira da Silva, Paraná, Brazil
While my husband, Brandon, was in Orlando, Florida, on business, he woke up one night with a high fever and difficulty breathing. He called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital, where he learned that he had a serious case of pneumonia.
Because Brandon and I have toddler-age sons, I couldn’t immediately travel from our home in Pennsylvania to Florida. I called Brandon daily, hoping for his improvement so that he could return to us.
However, Brandon’s condition worsened. When a nurse at the hospital urged me to come to the hospital as soon as possible, I started thinking about who might be able to take care of our boys.
My mother agreed to take time off from work and said she would come as soon as she could, but the flight I needed to take left before she would arrive. I called a few friends to see if they could watch the boys until my mother arrived. A friend from Relief Society, Jackie Olds, said she’d be happy to watch them.
“Just bring their clothes and diapers,” she said, “and I’ll keep them for however many days you need to be gone.”
I started to refuse because this sister, with three children of her own, had a busy life, but she insisted. When I dropped our boys off a short while later, she comforted me by saying, “Don’t worry about them. Worry about getting Brandon better and getting him home. I’ve taken care of toddlers before.”
I knew then that the boys would be safe, happy, and well taken care of, which they were. I was able to be with my husband, who was seriously ill by the time I arrived at the hospital. But after a few days, he was well enough to return home.
I am grateful for a good friend who responded—far beyond what I would have asked of her—and ministered to us in a time of need.
Kelly Parks, Pennsylvania, USA
Brother Anderson, the dynamic 35-year-old ward Young Men president, was the kind of youth leader everyone admired: returned missionary, father of five, business owner, young at heart. But now he had leukemia. After receiving this news from the bishop, Ryan Hill, the priests quorum first assistant, swung into action, calling each active and less-active priest in his quorum.
“We’re going to the hospital to see Brother Anderson. We need everyone. Can you come?” he repeated during each call.
“I’m not sure I can make it,” one priest said. “I may need to work.”
“Then we will wait until you get off work,” Ryan responded. “This is something we must do together.”
“OK,” the quorum member said. “I will see if I can switch shifts with someone else.”
All 11 priests went to the hospital. Those who were less active and those who never missed a Sunday meeting were there. Together, they laughed and cried and prayed and made future plans. In the ensuing months, they scheduled times to rub Brother Anderson’s feet when his circulation was difficult, took turns donating blood platelets during two-hour sessions so he would get only their blood, and even drove 20 miles (32 km) on prom night with their dates (including two young women who were not members of the Church) to his hospital bedside so he could share in their high school experiences.
In his final days, Brother Anderson asked them to serve missions, marry in the temple, and keep track of each other. More than a dozen years later, home from their missions, married in the temple, and starting families of their own, they still recall these watershed spiritual experiences of service together with their beloved leader.
Norman Hill, Texas, USA