What an experience it was! Before the broadcast, there was a dinner and at least 40 loooong tables were dressed and spread out over the shiny gym floor and up on the stage. Hundreds of sisters filled the chairs, and conversations flowed as we talked, laughed, and shared stories with those around us, creating bonds that, even though we may have only just met, would tie us together a little tighter than we were before sitting down to eat.
After dinner, we migrated into the chapel to watch the broadcast. The opening prayer was given by a sister from South Africa. Her accent was thick and beautiful and made me cry. I was struck at the idea that this broadcast was being shown throughout the world, and that women whom I’d never met before were doing the exact same thing I was doing. I was awed to think that the sisters I met while on my mission in Brazil were likely sitting in a chapel not too dissimilar to the one I was in, seeing what I was seeing, and feeling what I was feeling. I thought of past missionary companions, sisters from the wards I served in there, and wonderful friends I shared the gospel with. We were all bound by the ties that were bringing us together into the warm embrace of the gospel.
There is something very special and unique about being in a room together with hundreds of other women who share beliefs and values. That we had all gathered to hear what the Lord had to say to us. That we were trying to become more Christ-centered. Trying to figure out how to be better moms, wives, daughters, sisters. That we’d come together to hear President Uchtdorf's words that “God loves you exactly as you are.”
At last year’s conference, Sister Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, told us:
The fact of the matter is, we really and truly need each other. Women naturally seek friendship, support, and companionship. We have so much to learn from one another, and we often let self-imposed barriers keep us from enjoying associations which could be among the greatest blessings in our lives...
If there are barriers, it is because we ourselves have created them. We must stop concentrating on our differences and look for what we have in common; then we can begin to realize our greatest potential and achieve the greatest good in this world. Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley once said, “Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young. And, hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old. It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.” Sister Hinckley was right; oh, how we need each other!
The sisterhood that exists within the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly unique. It is beautiful and real. It helps us to reach beyond what we imagined our capacity for love and service to be, and leaves us feeling fulfilled and loved and knowing that we are much, much MORE than enough.