9 lessons learned from Elder and Sister Renlund during LDS Face to Face in Africa


Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Ruth, presented the second regional Face to Face event in Africa on Saturday. 

The Face to Face event originated from the Ghana Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Renlund began the Face to Face by talking about why the brethren chose to host a Face to Face in Africa.

“It’s because the First Presidency and the Twelve care an awful lot about you in Africa and the nations of the Indian Ocean,” Elder Renlund said. “They wanted Sister Renlund and me to give you their greetings and to share their love and I think more importantly to let you know how important you are in Heavenly Father’s plan.”

Elder Renlund and Sister Renlund shared thoughts on many topics, from missionary work to revelation to keeping the commandments.

How to share the gospel

Elder and Sister Renlund shared four ways the youth can share the gospel with their friends.

1. Live like a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Elder Renlund discussed three ways that living like a disciple of Jesus Christ can give us confidence in missionary work.

  1. “As you do that, you are a light unto the world and a beacon to the world that will attract questions and invite further discussion,” Elder Renlund said. 
  2. “When the opportunity comes to talk to your friend about the gospel, you will be genuine,” Elder Renlund said. “You will be authentic and there will be no hypocrisy in anything you are saying.”
  3. “The third reason to live your life as a disciple is because then you have the Holy Ghost to help you,” Elder Renlund said. 

2. Accurately report your activities.

Sister Renlund noted being accurate and open can be a way to prompt missionary work. For example, the youth could tell their friends on Monday about how they attended church that weekend.

“Don’t be afraid to simply be who you are,” Sister Renlund said. “Accurately share what you do in your life. You’ll be sharing the gospel.”

3. Pray for opportunities and recognize them.

“We should all pray for the opportunity to share the gospel and God will answer those prayers,” Elder Renlund said. “We should pray to recognize it when it happens.”

4. “Come and see.”

Elder Renlund shared the experience of Philip found in John 1:45-46. After finding the promised Messiah, Philip tells Nathanael that he has found Jesus Christ and invites him to “Come and see.”

“That’s a great answer to have,” Elder Renlund said. “If someone comes to you and says, ‘I understand that you’re giving a talk in your church on Sunday,’ you can explain what you’re going to say or you can say, ‘Come and see.’”

Do and act

When asked about how to recognize the Holy Ghost, Elder Renlund said many people wonder about how to know know whether a thought is a prompting of the Holy Ghost or a personal thought. He shared Moroni 7:16-17 and pointed out if a thought invites someone to do good and believe in Christ, one should act on it.

“I shouldn’t sit there and hesitate and say is this my thought or is it the Holy Ghost? I should act on it,” Elder Renlund said. “And when I act on it, that very frequently leads to knowing it was from God.”

Joy in afflictions

One question was centered around James 1:2 which says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” Elder Renlund pointed out that the Joseph Smith Translation changes the word temptations to afflictions.

The Renlunds shared one of their afflictions when Sister Renlund was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Their dreams were dashed of having a big family.

“Having gone through that hardship, we are far better able to do the things that we need to do — mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort,” Elder Renlund said. “Nothing prepared me better to be a bishop or a home teacher for that matter than having to have gone through that experience because I knew how it was to hurt.”

Elder Renlund said people can decide if a trial builds them up or makes them better.

“The decision of which way you do it depends on you,” Elder Renlund said. “It doesn’t depend on the trial.”

Find good friends

Some of the youth experience times when they are the only member in their school and wonder how to live the standards of the church. Sister Renlund said to find good friends.

“A good friend will help you do what you need to do even if they’re not a member of the church,” Sister Renlund said. … “Good friends will help support you wherever you are.”

Elder Renlund reminded the youth they are never alone.

“You have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost is a comforter,” Elder Renlund said. “He will remind you that you have a Father in Heaven who loves you and that you have a Savior there to help,” and added parents, siblings and church leaders are also there to provide support.

Marriage lets us go far

One youth asked why marriage is sacred.

“Marriage is sacred because our Heavenly Father intends for marriage to not just be for this earth but to last into the eternities,” Sister Renlund said. “He intends to bless us as families and certain blessings and promises are reserved for those who are married and sealed in a temple of God.”

Elder Renlund quoted an African proverb found in the Johannesburg airport, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

“God intends us to go far — far into the eternities,” Elder Renlund said.

Tithing to bless the nation

When discussing the blessings of tithing, Elder Renlund read from Malachi 3. One verse he focused on was verse 12: “And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.”

He then said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve has said that he faithful payment of tithes by citizens of a country will bless the nation.

“If I were from Sierra Leone and I wanted to be a patriot and bless my land I would faithfully pay my tithing because God will then help pour out blessings on my country,” Elder Renlund said. “If I wanted to be a Ghanaian patriot I would faithfully pay my tithing because God will pour out blessings.” 

I must do

Sister Renlund recalled when she was a child, the lyrics to “I Am a Child of God” were, “Teach me all that I must know to live with Him some day.” When Spencer W. Kimball was serving in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he suggested changing the lyrics to “I must do” instead of “I must know.”

Sister Renlund related the story to how we must act to increase faith.

“Faith grows by doing something,” Sister Renlund said. “Does faith come from knowing you need to pray? No, you have to pray. Does faith come from knowing you need to be baptized? No, you have to be baptized.”

Taking covenants anew

When asked about how to partake of the sacrament worthily, Elder Renlund discussed how taking the sacrament should be approached the same way the covenant of baptism is approached.

“We say we renew the covenants of baptism when we partake of the sacrament but you listen to those prayers what we’re really doing is we are making a covenant anew,” Elder Renlund said. “We make a new covenant every week when we partake of the sacrament. Yes, it’s like other covenants we’ve made at baptism and prior weeks, but each week we’re doing this anew.”

Sister Renlund discussed that partaking of the sacrament worthily doesn’t mean partaking of the sacrament perfectly.

“We don’t have to be perfect to partake of the sacrament,” Sister Renlund said. “We have to be worthy and willing to change, willing to accept Jesus Christ, willing to take upon us His name and in doing that, that process helps us become more refined and become more perfect.”

Sisters serving missions

One question posed by a youth asked if sisters who do not serve missions lose blessings.

“She will never be denied blessings when she always does what the Holy Ghost directs her to do,” Elder Renlund said. “A sister who is directed not go on a mission is blessed by following that direction.  A sister who is directed to go on a mission is blessed by following that direction.”

Watch a full video of the Face to Face here


Utah Valley is Lindsey's home away from her Colorado Springs home. She writes for Utah Valley Magazine, UtahValley360.com and Prosper Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @lindsey5brooke.

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