As we discuss service today, I’d like to teach you an important Japanese word. It’s kigatsuku.

Kigatsuku means “an inner spirit to act without being told what to do.” First, we can do great good when we act as an organized group. One hundred and fifty years of Relief Society speaks for itself. One stake in Denver, Colorado, is making quilts—dozens of thick, warm, comforting quilts—which they will donate to the homeless and those in need. Second, we can do great good when we act in small, informal groups. The Relief Society general board volunteered to clean a littered highway, pulled on their gloves, and discovered that it doesn’t take a long time to make a big difference. And third, we can do great good on our own—just as individuals who care enough to serve. Think of Sister Julia Mavimbela in South Africa, teaching children who had never had a real home to tend the earth by planting gardens. It is the desire in individual hearts that powers not only small, individual acts of service, but also the great acts that become mass movements and even revolutions. You have that power, too.

Are you sitting on a mat or on a polished bench? Are you wearing a sari or a three-piece suit? Are you hearing me in English or in Tagalog? It doesn’t matter. Hear the words of my heart. Feel the power that can come from your own desire to do good!

When I was just a little girl, my mother began teaching me to be kigatsuku. When she swept the floor, she would say, “Chieko, what would a kigatsuku girl do now?” Then I’d run and get the dustpan.

First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

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