“Baskets and Bottles” – Representation and Speaking Their Language

Sister Chieko Nishimura Okazaki

April 1996 General Conference Address

“When I was called to the Relief Society general presidency six years ago this month, President Hinckley counseled me: “You bring a peculiar quality to this presidency. You will be recognized as one who represents those beyond the borders of the United States and Canada and, as it were, an outreach across the world to members of the Church in many, many lands. They will see in you a representation of their oneness with the Church.” He gave me a blessing that my tongue might be loosed as I spoke to the people.

President Hinckley, I want to bear witness to the Lord before you and this congregation that your counsel and your blessing have been literally fulfilled.

I do not speak Korean or Spanish or Tongan. But when I received my assignment to go among the Relief Society sisters and their priesthood leaders in lands where those languages were spoken, I was filled with a great desire to speak to them in their own language. I drew strength from President Hinckley’s words of comfort and blessing. With the help of the Church Translation Department and good coaches who spent hours working with me, I was blessed to deliver my addresses in Spanish, Korean, and Tongan as I went among those people. I could feel the Spirit carrying my words to their hearts, and I could feel “the fruit of the Spirit”(Gal. 5:22) bringing back to me their love, their joy, and their faith. I could feel the Spirit making us one.”