Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rejoice! It's Fast Sunday

    Because last Sunday was a special Stake conference in our area, this Sunday is Fast Sunday. "A Sunday, usually the first one of each month, on which Latter-day Saints abstain from food and drink for two meals and donate the equivalent cost, or more, to the Church to assist the poor and needy. The money donated is called a fast offering. The sacrament meeting on each fast Sunday, called fast and testimony meeting, is devoted to the voluntary expression of testimony by members."
     How grateful I am for Fast Offering!
     More than once in my life, I have been fed by fast offerings. Fed well, I might add.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormons) keeps  Bishop's Storehouses throughout the world where food is available to worthy members in need (with the authorization of their Bishop).  The supplies in the storehouse may be produced in church farms and canneries and/or purchased if needed.  These are funded by fast offerings.   Fast offerings are also used to make emergency payments for neccessities like rent or to purchase food where there is no storehouse.  Because of fast offering, a faithful Latter-Day Saint need not go hungry.  
     Now I am grateful to know that my offering makes a real difference in helping others.  We are constantly bombarded with pleas to help the needy.  It is heart-wrenching and can be overwhelmig.  I am grateful to know that every penny I give actually goes to help people in need - more than a hundred percent because all the work is done by church members volunteering their time to serve.
     Additionally, members' other contributions fund numerous charitable efforts - disaster relief, community improvement, immunizations & clean water for underdeveloped countries, education assistance - it's a long list.  Again, every mite contributed is multiplied by donated time. 
    The one thing, the Church does not do that I know of that I want to support is animal welfare. 
    But I digress.  Today is Fast Sunday.  And we will skip a couple of meals with thankful hearts.  Personally, because of my diabetes, I will need to eat breakfast and take my medicine, but it will be a smaller, simpler meal than otherwise and I will still make my contribution.  What a blessing!
    In Sacrament Meeting, this week called Fast and Testimony Meeting, I will be lifted up and inspired by the testimonies of my friends and fellow members.  Perhaps, if so moved, I will stand and bear my testimony of the goodness of God and the truth of His gospel.  Who knows whose heart will be touched or who will be strengthened as we share.  Our Heavenly Father does and that's why He gives us this opportunity.

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