Takeaways from the First Half of 2020
As I sit here and write this article, we’re coming up on the halfway mark through 2020 and also the three-month mark of our buildings being closed. Wow, what a year so far.
Pretty much every major function has been cancelled or postponed, from General Church and region conferences to GMBA Camp, to sporting events (both pro and recreational), to school proms and graduations. And if that were the worst of it, then I think we’d be OK with that, but there are many more issues that the world is facing right now. It’s been a crazy year to say the least … but, let’s look at just a few of the positives that have surfaced over the last six months instead of the negatives.
When all our gatherings were put on the shelf, God gave us something that would keep us going. Many of our branches jumped on the streaming bandwagon via multiple platforms. Rather than tuck away and sulk, we found ways, via the inspiration of God, to work the problem. Now, instead of having conference twice a year, in some cases, it’s like having it every week!
I know brothers and sisters who spend their entire Sundays going from Sunday school and a preaching service on the east coast, to another preaching service in the central U.S., to another meeting out west.
Recently, we had a joint meeting with the Lake Worth Branch in Florida, and several of the saints from New Jersey jumped on, too. We had 80-plus different attendees on a Zoom call, and many logins had multiple people watching. So, I think it was probably close to 100 or so — on a Zoom call! We opened it for testimony and never had an issue. For those who use Zoom every day at work, that’s a miracle in it’s own right. The Spirit of God was felt so powerfully during the meeting. We had testimonies of God’s protection, blessing His people with gifts of the Spirit, and other powerful blessings. Our Heavenly Father is working with all of us during this time and strengthening us even when we can’t be together.
Another positive is that many brothers and sisters can attend more church meetings now than ever before. For those who live a far distance from a branch or mission, those who don’t have any other saints to meet with, and those who are always shut-in, this time has been a true blessing. Church now is literally within arm's reach via a phone, tablet, or laptop.
When we do finally get back to meeting in person, many branches will continue to stream their services and auxiliary meetings. I know for our little group here in Houston, Texas, streaming will be a tremendous support for midweek meetings. While we’ll hold our typical in-person Sunday service, we can join with the Ft. Worth Branch for Wednesdays and other auxiliary meetings. It will give me a chance to be more involved, and I praise God for that!
There are plenty more positives that I could write about. But we all know that God is in control of everything that’s going on. He knows what’s best and continues to provide for His children.
The scripture from 3 Nephi 21:14-22 has been on my mind. This section discusses what will happen to the Gentiles in the latter days. But after all the destructive things are mentioned, there’s a way to keep it all from happening -- repentance! Many reading this have made their covenant with the Lord, but I encourage everyone to be repentant and seek to be closer to God every day. If you haven’t made that covenant yet, then give it some real, serious thought and be prayerful. Ask God to show you the truth, and I guarantee He will because Jesus said so (3 Nephi 18:20).
Regardless of what else might be in store for the second half of 2020, God will bring His people through. Hold on to the rod of iron with both hands, and stay steadfast and sure in His promises!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.