Sister Reyna I. Aburto
Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Sister Reyna I. Aburto was sustained as second counselor in the relief society general presidency in April 2017.
Prior to her call she served as a member of the primary general board and in different callings in relief society, young women, primary, Sunday School, and scouting.
Sister Aburto was born in Managua, Nicaragua. She moved to the United States in 1984 and joined the Church in 1989 in San Francisco, California. She and her husband, Carlos, live in Orem, Utah. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Sister Aburto studied industrial engineering at Universidad Centroamericana, in Managua, Nicaragua, and earned an associate degree in computer science from Utah Valley University. She has worked in the language industry for more than 25 years and currently works as a translator in a small translation business she owns with her husband.
Please respond to the questions below on the devotional discussion board:
“Jesus said … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it,Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mathew 22:37-39). In a similar way, He said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). These great commandments have to do with strengthening our divine relationships with Deity and others. In preparation for my message on June 4, please share the following:
What do you do to strengthen your relationship with Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ?
What do you do to strengthen your relationship with others?
My dear sisters and brothers, what a beautiful and handsome sight you are! As I was preparing this message, I often pictured you in my mind, and my heart would fill with love. I pictured the potential you have and the promising future that awaits each of you, and my soul would fill with hope. I also pictured your faith, your testimony, and your desires to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, and my whole being would fill with gratitude and awe.
One of the aspects of our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation that impresses me the most is the principle of love. Love is the greatest motivator. It is a powerful source of purpose, strength, and endurance as we go through our mortal experience. Because of our love for God and His love for us, He can enable us with His power to do things that we did not know we had the capacity to do.
The love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us explains much of why we are here in this world, why we have a mortal body, why we have to go through the sorrows and joys of mortality, why we have a Savior, why we will be resurrected one day, and why we will be eventually reunited with our Heavenly Parents.
Are you considering if that statement is true? If you are, then consider Doctrine and Covenants section 93, where our Lord, Jesus Christ, gives us a beautiful promise:
Come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father. 
We have been promised that if we keep the Lord’s commandments, we will receive of the fulness of the Father. What does that fulness consist of?
We know that His fulness includes the greatest of all of the gifts of God: eternal life.  With that comes Godly qualities and attributes. God’s capacity to feel love and to show love is one of His divine, eternal attributes. His perfect love is part of His fulness—part of that fulness we may receive in due time.
The Ten Commandments were given to help us keep the commandments to love God and our neighbor. During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ, in effect, summarized the Ten Commandments when someone asked Him:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 
He also told His disciples:
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 
This divine teaching shows how important it is for us to learn to love God and our neighbor. We may ask ourselves:
- How do I do that?
- How do I love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind?
- How do I love others as myself and as Jesus Christ loves me?
I appreciate all of you who participated in the discussion board. I have read each of your comments, and I invite you to keep pondering on those questions and to keep acting on the revelation that you will get.
One truth we learn from our questions is that in order to expand our capacity to love, we need to cultivate divine relationships. Our relationship with God and our righteous relationships with others are all divine, and they can help us become what we came to this earth to become. They can help us to be the best self each of us can be and to “[fill] the measure of [our] creation.” 
So what do we do? How do we cultivate relationships that are divine? Let me suggest five principles that may guide us.
First, follow the example of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of how to cultivate divine relationships. He has a close relationship with His Father, which is manifest in the way the Savior addresses His Father when He speaks to Him, in the way He respects and honors Him, and in the fact that He always wants to follow His Father’s will. Jesus said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” 
Jesus Christ also loves each of us, which is manifest in the way He approached those who came close to Him during His ministry on this earth and in the way we can feel His influence in our life when we turn to Him. He showed His love for His Father and for each of us when He offered Himself to be our Savior and when, through His Atonement (which included His suffering in Gethsemane, His crucifixion on the cross, and His glorious resurrection), He gave all of us access to eternal life.
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “We may never understand nor comprehend in mortality how He accomplished what He did, but we must not fail to understand why He did what He did. Everything He did was prompted by His unselfish, infinite love for us.” 
We all have the potential to love, but to love someone specific, we need to have the desire to get to know him or her and we need to spend time together. Likewise, to love Heavenly Father and the Savior, we need to read the scriptures and the words of the prophets, who testify of Them; we need to pray with real intent; we need to fast; and we need to follow the commandments so our life can be aligned with God’s will.
The same applies to our relationship with others; in order to develop love for someone, we need to have the desire to get to know them and we need to spend time with them, preferably face to face. You are in a crucial time of your life in which you need to develop friendships that will bring you blessings in the present and in the future.
Second, repent and minister.
President Russell M. Nelson has said:
Ministering is caring for people in the Lord’s way. . . . Ministering is part of our own process of repentance as we turn our hearts to God and His children. And as we do so, those to whom we minister are drawn closer to the Lord in their own efforts to repent. . . . As we embrace the gift of repentance we will rise up and minister in a holier way. 
Repenting and ministering go hand in hand with our efforts to fulfill the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor as Jesus Christ loves us. When we repent, we get closer to Heavenly Father and the Savior, and our love for Them grows. When we minister, we get closer to our neighbor—which includes our family, our co-servants in the gospel, and even strangers—and our love for them grows. In addition to increasing our love for God when we repent, our love for others grows, and when we minister to others, our love for God grows.
I would like to illustrate this principle with an example from my own life. When I joined the Church, I was 26 years old and had just gone through a divorce. I had a son, and finances were tight. When the missionaries explained the principle of tithing to me, I wanted to contribute, but it seemed impossible for me to obey that commandment. Every time I received a paycheck, I had a pile of bills to pay and I barely had any money left. Because of that reality, I did not pay a full tithing; I just paid what I had left, and I went on like that for a few years.
One evening, I was with a group of friends. We were just visiting with each other. You know how it is when a group of women get together—the conversation can go on for hours. For some reason, we started talking about money, and I felt impressed to open up to my friends. So I told them, “I have the desire to pay a full tithing, but I just cannot do it.” They listened to me intently and lovingly, and all of a sudden, the room was filled with the Spirit.
One by one, my dear friends testified to me about the law of tithing. One of them said, “Reyna, you need to prove the Lord so He can open the windows of heaven and pour blessings on you and your family.” 
Another one told me, “If you ask the Lord for help, He will help you. Remember His promise when He said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’” 
A third one counseled me, “Maybe you could follow a different approach. Try paying your tithing as soon as you get a paycheck, even if it is every week. Pay your tithing first, and you will see how everything else will fall into place.”
In the end, we were all crying, and we felt we were standing in a holy place. My friends did not judge me, they did not point fingers at me, and they were not self-righteous. They had a genuine concern for me, and they truly wanted to help. They strengthened me, and they gently invited me to come unto Christ. They exemplified what it looks like to have pure, Christlike love.
That night I knelt down by my bed, poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father, and pleaded for help. I felt the sweet assurance that if I made a sincere effort, He would help me. Then I made a decision: I determined that I would follow my friends’ counsel.
At the end of the month, a miracle happened: I was able to pay my tithing and all my other obligations. I did not have any money left, I did not get any extra money, but I was able to obey the law of tithing, and that was a miracle! Month after month, it was a recurring miracle that filled me with joy.
Several months after that, another great blessing and another miracle came into my life. I started dating my husband, Carlos, and we were able to be sealed in the temple because I was paying my tithing. The windows of heaven had truly opened for me.
Never underestimate the influence that you may have on your friends whenever you share your testimony with them and whenever you try to strengthen them in the Lord.  That conversation with my friends in which they manifested their love for God and for me was a turning point in my life with eternal consequences and blessings. They ministered to me in a way that helped me draw closer to God and repent.
Third, get out of your shell.
As human beings, we tend to build a shell around ourselves. We feel that somehow we need to protect ourselves from harm. It is a natural behavior because we do not want to get hurt—either because we have been hurt in the past or we have seen others get hurt. Although we do need to protect ourselves and we need to discern between good and evil, I wonder if we just go too far—to the point where we prefer to isolate ourselves instead of opening up for friendship and for love.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Though it may not be reciprocated, . . . love is never wasted.”  This is so true. Every act of kindness has a positive effect, even if we do not see the results right away. Others can feel our good intentions, and even though they may not react the way we expect, in the end, goodness always brings more goodness.
If we spend too much time and effort building that shell around us, we run the risk of distancing ourselves from the influence of God on our life and from the influence that others may have on us. Being too comfortable inside our shell goes against the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ; it goes against His doctrine. We did not come to this earth to be isolated.
My friends, do not be afraid to show your vulnerabilities. We are all vulnerable, and we need each other so we can overcome the vulnerabilities that we face in this mortal life. Many times, we can be the means through which Heavenly Father answers prayers, and most of the time, our prayers are answered through others.
Turn outward instead of inward. Turn to others so you can know them with their weaknesses and strengths and realize that you and they are not alone in your pains, in your struggles, and in your desires and efforts to get closer to God. We become stronger and we grow when we help others and also when we accept the help of others.
Give relationships enough time to grow and to give fruit. I feel that many of us “write off” other people after only a few minutes of interacting with them or after we catch them making one single mistake. Many of my BFFs (or best friends forever, for those of my age) did not become my friends from the first interaction. In fact, when I look back, many of those friendships did not seem to start with strong compatibility.
Also, many of us did not fall in love at first sight and did not realize that we would marry someone until years after we met that person. In my case, I married my husband three years after we met. We simply were not ready to get married sooner. We needed to grow and to learn in our separate ways before we realized that we could start a family together.
Do not worry so much about the unwritten rules of society. Sometimes we feel that we need to follow a script through NPC conversations (or non-player character conversations), like in video games. When we do that, the interaction is forced. Be yourself, treat others like they are already your friends, and the conversation will be more natural. Focus on the other person and not on yourself. Ask follow-up questions, listen with the desire to get to know him or her, and express your feelings and points of view. Show genuine interest, and before you know it, you will have many friends and you will become a better friend.
Nowadays, it seems that there are many acronyms that rule relationships. After only a few dates, we feel forced to DTR (or define the relationship), when we could be patient and give ourselves more time to get to know each other. Do not stress over specific scripts or ways of doing things. Do not overthink dates. There is not a mold; there is not a single pattern. The Holy Ghost does not have a script. Many times, He will just whisper to us, “It is time to go home,” and we need to listen to those unscripted, individual-to-us promptings. If you are making a sincere effort to follow divine laws and to be respectful of others, the Holy Ghost will guide you and you will know what to do.
If your friendship with someone of the opposite sex turns romantic and you fall in love, well, that will be a wonderful bonus! Do not be afraid to fall in love and to get married. Eternal marriage is such an important part of the plan of salvation. It is the beginning of an eternal family and the beginning of a journey that allows us to love God and our eternal companion in a divine way.
Fourth, be active participants in your priesthood quorum and Relief Society.
There are divine reasons why we, as men and women, are organized in priesthood quorums and Relief Societies in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the kingdom of God, we have work to do—as individuals, as families, and as priesthood quorums and Relief Societies.
Sister Julie B. Beck explained:
A priesthood quorum is a group of men . . . who are to perform a special labor. . . . “The Relief Society is the Lord’s organization for women.” . . . The word society has a meaning nearly identical to that of quorum. It connotes “an enduring and cooperating . . . group” distinguished by its common aims and beliefs.
She went on to illustrate “five important reasons why we are organized into quorums and Relief Societies.” First, “to organize us under the priesthood and after the pattern of the priesthood.” Second, “to focus Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters on the work of salvation and to engage them in it.” Third, “to help bishops wisely manage the Lord’s storehouse.” Fourth, to provide a defense and a refuge for Heavenly Father’s children and their families in the latter days.” And fifth, “to strengthen and support us in our family roles and responsibilities as sons and daughters of God.” 
Why does it matter that each of us connect ourselves with our quorum or Relief Society? I testify that doing so helps us be part of the most important work there is. President Russell M. Nelson has said, “Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again.” 
The Lord Himself has said:
Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.
And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean. 
President Nelson has invited us to gather Israel on both sides of the veil. If we are to accomplish “ the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today,”  we need to labor together at the individual level; at the family level; as members of the divinely organized priesthood quorums and Relief Societies; interdependently as members of our wards, stakes, and the Church as a whole; and under the direction of priesthood keys.
“In ecclesiastical callings, temple ordinances, family relationships, and quiet, individual ministry, Latter-day Saint women and men go forward with priesthood power and authority. This interdependence of men and women in accomplishing God’s work through His power is central to the gospel of Jesus Christ restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith” and will help prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming.
Fifth, pray for that love and be patient.
Fortunately, we are not alone in this quest to love at a higher level. We are all striving to develop such love, and to acquire it is a lifelong process. We are all learning to love; we are all learning to love better; we are all learning to love our Heavenly Father and our Savior with all our heart, soul, and might; and we are all learning to love others in a holier way.
Despite what the world may say, cultivating relationships is a decision: we decide whom we will put effort into and whom we won’t. We can all use our agency to be more intentional in cultivating our divine relationships with God and our neighbor.
There is not a mold in which we all have to fit. Each of us is different, and each of us has something important to contribute to God’s work. As we keep our covenants with God, we will all write our own story, and if we let Him, the Lord Jesus Christ will hold our hand as we are writing it.
Live according to the commandments of God; live so as to learn to follow the Holy Ghost; live knowing that you have a Father in Heaven, who loves you and who has a plan for you; live knowing that you have a Savior, who always has His arm stretched toward you and who is willing to take you by the hand and pull you up when you are down; live like you are alive; live like you have much to offer God and others; and live like others also have much to offer Him and you.
Please do not give up. Do not give up on your faith, do not give up on your efforts to live the commandments and to get closer to God, and do not give up on your efforts to develop love for others. Be patient with yourself and with the people around you.
I love this part of the mural in the Visitors’ Center at the Rome Italy Temple because it illustrates the love that the Savior feels for us. He is always ready to lift us up, every time we reach for Him. His grasp is strong enough to sustain us and to give us the strength to endure. His love is pure, perfect, abundant, and everlasting.
Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him [or her].
Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. 
It is my prayer that we may continue cultivating our divine relationships with our Heavenly Father; our Savior, Jesus Christ; and our neighbor, so we may always have the Spirit of the Lord with us. And I share this humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Doctrine and Covenants 93:19–20; emphasis added.
 Doctrine and Covenants 14:7.
 Matthew 22:36–39; emphasis added; see also Mark 12:28–31.
 John 13:34; emphasis added.
 Doctrine and Covenants 88:19; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:25.
 John 6:38.
 Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ: Our Savior and Redeemer,” Ensign, Nov. 1983.
 Russell M. Nelson, General Conference Leadership Meeting, Apr. 2019.
 See Malachi 3:10.
 Matthew 7:7; see also Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 7:12; Luke 11:9; 3 Nephi 14:7.
 See Alma 15:18.
 Neal A. Maxwell, “A Brother Offended,” Ensign, May 1982.
 Julie B. Beck, “Why We Are Organized into Quorums and Relief Societies,” BYU devotional, Jan. 12, 2012.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2018.
 Doctrine and Covenants 88:73–74; emphasis added.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Hope of Israel,” Worldwide Youth Devotional, Jun. 3, 2018.
 “Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, Women,” Gospel Topics.
 Moroni 7:47–48.