Millions of LDS women tuned in from across the globe for the first session of the 186th annual General Conference to learn from leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Relief Society General President, Sister Linda K. Burton, asked Latter-day Saint women to “serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities,” at the General Women’s Session on Saturday, March 26. Other speakers that evening echoed her request.
Sister Burton announced a new relief effort called “I Was a Stranger” and invited members to “prayerfully determine” how they can serve.
Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, asked members to be “His hands” when performing true Christlike service. Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, asked women to testify of truth and selflessly sacrifice to “become builders of the kingdom.”
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, closed the meeting reiterating the sisters’ requests to serve. “My prayer for the sisters in the kingdom, wherever they may be or in whatever circumstance, is that their faith in the Savior and His Atonement will lead them to do all they can for those the Lord asks them to serve,” he said. “As they do, I promise that they will move up the path to become holy women, whom the Savior and our Heavenly Father will welcome warmly, and reward openly.”
Throughout the session, videos emphasized the need to serve. One particular video showed early Latter-day Saints fleeing from religious persecution, while another video showed the friendship between a female member of the church and a refugee she had welcomed into her home.
Women and girls age eight and older came together in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City for the session.
President Thomas S. Monson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presided at the women’s session. Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President, conducted the meeting. Members of Relief Society, Young Women and Primary general presidencies and boards and many general authorities were also in attendance.
While the Conference Center seats 21,000 people for each session, millions more viewed and listened to the women’s session of the conference in more than 80 languages in over 100 countries via television, radio, satellite and Internet broadcasts. The meetings were provided in a total of 94 languages and were broadcast at over 7,400 church meetinghouses worldwide.
The unique choir that performed at the session was made up of Primary girls, young women and female refugees representing the languages and cultures of over 50 different countries and the “worldwide unity” of the church.