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Thousands of BYU Women’s Conference-goers learn about service, ministering

Elder and Sister Gong in the Marriott Center (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah –In one of his first major addresses as a newly called apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Gerrit W. Gong spoke about ministering and covenant belonging in the church.

We belong to each other,” he said. “By divine covenant, we belong to God and to each other. Covenant belonging is a miracle. It is not possessive. It ‘suffereth long, and is kind.’ It envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Covenant belonging gives roots and wings. It liberates through commitment. It enlarges through love. In covenant belonging, we strengthen each other in His love, thereby coming more to love God and each other.”

Sister Susan L. Gong spoke of loving as Christ loved.

“As Christians we are called to feel the pain of others. In this we truly ‘bear one another’s burdens.’ When we have compassion—empathy—something wondrous happens. We begin to know how to help,” she said.

Thousands of women, and a handful of men, filled the BYU Marriott Center Friday to hear the Gongs speak in the concluding session of the two-day annual BYU Women’s Conference. Early in the week, close to 13,000 people had registered for classes.

A variety of sessions were held throughout the day Thursday and Friday, with topics ranging from Social Media Use to Self-Reliance.

On Thursday, Sister Sharon Eubank and Sister Reyna I. Aburto of the Church’s General Relief Society Presidency discussed the Church’s new ministering program.

Many women also participated in 20 different service project opportunities during the conference.