News Release

Sister Eubank Speaks at National Women’s Conference in Finland

Outreach meetings held with humanitarian agencies

“We strive to follow Jesus Christ by embracing the two great commandments—to love God and to love our neighbor,” said Sister Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities, who traveled to Finland to speak at a national women’s conference.

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“We want to serve those in greatest need without respect to belief or political persuasion or nationality or orientation,” said Sister Eubank. “And the work is to relieve suffering, build stability, promote dignity and strengthen families.”

More than 600 women attended the meeting at Tampere University in Tampere, which was hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, September 21, 2019. Many women from the community attended the event. Participants came from as far away as the Baltics and the western part of Russia.

Sister Eubank, first counselor in the Church’s Relief Society general presidency, gave a keynote address on how women can serve during all stages of their lives.

“You can serve the Lord in any situation in any time period in anything going on in your life,” she said. “And I just want to encourage people if you’re feeling stuck, if you’re feeling that this is a tough time in your life, take heart because the Lord can be with you, and He will help you get through that.”

“We want the sisters to feel love, to feel that any questions had, they are not alone,” said Raija Pini Kemppainen, a conference organizer and Relief Society president in Helsinki. “That's why we had the sessions set up in a way that would speak to every person, every woman here in the different stages of life.”

“The actual planning of this conference started a year ago,” said Anna Maria Muhonen, a conference organizer and Relief Society president in Tampere. “We have had a group of 12 people who have worked actively for the whole year.”

Community Service

Relief Society leaders hope the conference will encourage women to seek out ways to serve in their communities.

“Relief Society is the humanitarian work for individuals and families,” Sister Eubank told the audience.

Sister Kemppainen said the public and private sectors can no longer respond to all of society’s needs. “We are as a church and as a Relief Society, we are the third sector that can answer to many of the questions or the needs that are out there in our communities.”

“I just feel like it’s important that we come together, we support each other, and we can learn from each other’s experiences,” said conference attendee Milli Silvennoinen. “I was grateful for the unity that I felt here and how they brought all these different people together. It feels like we’re all different, but we all still belong.”

“You can meet young women to … senior women who have seen everything in their lives, and you can still feel connected, and you can still feel like you have kindred spirits,” said Liisa Grant, who attended the women’s conference. “I have been trying to help … a little bit with immigrants … close to me, but I was thinking if there’s something else I could do. … You don’t have to be part of any special organization, other than Relief Society, of course. You can do good things.”

“They are powerful group of women,” said Emilia Koivisto, a member of the Relief Society who attended the event. “We can … make difference with the small things. It doesn’t need to be that overwhelming thing to do humanitarian work.”

Sister Eubank oversees the Church’s global humanitarian efforts. In the capital of Helsinki, she visited with several agencies that aid refugees, including the Finnish Refugee Council, SOS-Lapsikylä and Martat (the Martha Association). Local Relief Society leaders joined her to explore partnership opportunities.

Missionary Experience

Sister Eubank’s trip to Finland was also an opportunity for her to return to where she once served as a full-time volunteer for the Church.

“I served my mission, I came home in 1986, so it’s been a really long time,” she recalled. “I’m just thrilled to be going back to this country that I adore, to people that I love and to serve in this culture and country that I just feel so strongly about."

Sister Muhonen was impressed that Sister Eubank served part of her mission in Tampere and shared pictures and stories about what she learned from members in Finland. “We can see that she has influence in many parts of the world, and those people here … have been part of her life and her experiences.” 

Finland is home to about 5,000 Latter-day Saints in 30 congregations and the Helsinki Finland Temple.

“The temple is a great blessing for women, not only the women who go but [also] for all the people in the society where they serve,” explained Sister Eubank.

“I think [Latter-day Saint] Finns are very proud that they have great temple attendance,” she continued. “I think there’s something divine in the fact that there is a temple situated in Finland. They’ve been very faithful.”

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