Sister Cristina B. Franco, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, virtually addressed BYU-Idaho students and faculty through a prerecorded video from Salt Lake City.
Sister Franco centered her talk on the Savior’s commandment to be of good cheer. She acknowledged how this can be a difficult thing to do, especially amongst all the wars, crime and uncertainty of this time. She shared four elements that help her to follow the counsel to be optimistic.
1. Understand that we have a Father in Heaven and a Savior who love us.
Sister Franco explained the Plan of Happiness and Heavenly Father’s perfect knowledge of His children can give those who believe in Him hope and happiness in this life.
“When this plan was introduced by the Father, His sons and daughters ‘shouted for joy,'” Sister Franco said. “Isn’t that a great reason to be happy?”
2. Understand that Heavenly Father gave us commandments to help us be happy and return to Him.
Sister Franco illustrated this point by reading from the Book of Mormon. She read Mosiah 2:41, which speaks of the joy that can come from keeping God’s commandments. She shared her belief that this element can bring the same peace to people today as people in the scriptures.
3. Understand the importance of gratitude in our lives.
To emphasize this point, Sister Franco told a story about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina. About 150 members gathered under a tree every Sunday to read the scriptures. They didn’t have the authority to take the sacrament so they gathered for seven years without it.
Eventually news of these people reached her husband who was the mission president at the time. He met with them and gave them the authority to hold sacrament meetings and organized them as a group. She said the people shed many tears of gratitude during this experience. Sister Franco continued to say that all members of the Church can feel similar gratitude for their ability to take the sacrament.
“Brothers and sisters, aren’t we so thankful for the tremendous opportunity we have each week to partake of the sacrament and for the blessing of the Lord’s infinite Atonement in our lives?” Sister Franco asked.
4. Understand that service brings joy to our lives.
Sister Franco shared that the final element she finds continual joy in is searching for opportunities to serve. She said service brings her closer to Christ and ultimately makes her happier.
“Opportunities to serve others are limitless,” Sister Franco stated. “Kind words and deeds can lift burdens and cheer up hearts. Sharing the gospel and helping our ancestors on the other side of the veil through family history work are great services that brings joy not only to the recipients but also to us.”