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In the tearful days after a wildfire devastated entire neighborhoods in California’s Sonoma County in October 2017, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles traveled to affected communities to be with the Latter-day Saints.

He was on a mission of ministering. He and Sister Melanie Rasband comforted fire-weary members in their meetinghouses and at the edges of their charred homes.

And wherever he went, members came forward to shake his hand. It was a gesture of appreciation. They thanked the Apostle for his support. But each handshake communicated a common sentiment: “I sustain you.”

An Act of Faith

Sustaining is a sacred action that connects membership of the Church to Church leaders, says Elder Gary E. Stevenson. With more than 16 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, relatively few Church members will ever speak face to face with an Apostle or shake an Apostle’s hand. But every member has the opportunity to make a personal connection with these and other Church leaders through his or her formal sustaining vote and daily sustaining actions, says President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve.

“We sustain with our raised arm but also with our hearts and our actions,” says Elder Gerrit W. Gong. “We sustain Church leaders in the same way we sustain each other. We know we are bound by covenant.”

Praying for the Apostles remains a priceless element of sustaining, says Elder Ulisses Soares. “We are regular people, and the Lord has called us to something above our capacity. But we feel we can reach that capacity because people are praying for us.”

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