Sister Linda K. Burton: ‘I was a Stranger’

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Sister Linda K. Burton

LDS General Relief Society President Linda K. Burton encouraged Mormon women to determine what they can do to serve refugees in their own community.

She announced a new program called “I Was a Stranger” with the purpose of serving one-on-one in families to “offer friendship, mentoring and other Christ-like services” to refugees.

Sister Burton reminded women of a time when they were asked to take everything they called temporal and send it to help the handcart pioneers that were still on the trail. She reminded women that these pioneers literally removed everything, like stockings and petticoats, in order to comply with the request.

More than 60 million refugees, half of them children, have been forcibly displaced. But “what they need is a friend and an ally,” she said.

She told sisters that she met Sister Yvette Bugingo who fled from place to place at age 11. Yvette lived in unruly circumstances, until her family found a caring couple that offered them a permanent residence in a neighboring home. They also offered transportation, education and other needs.

Sister Burton quoted President Russell M. Nelson, who urged women to use their special intuition to help others. He further called for courageous defenders of morality.

“As we consider the ‘pressing calls’ of those who need our help, let’s ask ourselves, ‘What if their story were my story?’ May we then seek the inspiration, act on impressions we receive and reach out in unity to help those in need as we are able and inspired to do so.”

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