Sunday, August 9, 2015

2015-08-10 President's Message

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Maraming maraming salamat! Thank you for all of your faith and hard work. Remember that, even if no one else on earth sees your sacrifice--not your companion, not your investigators, not your family, not your mission president--that there is One who does see. And He is the only one who really matters. He called you to serve. He gave His Son as a ransom for your sins. He made sacred covenants with you at baptism and in the temple. And He sees every effort you make. He takes joy in your joys and is sad when you are sad. After this life, He will greet you as a loving Father.

Joseph Smith once taught that: "Happiness is the object and design of our existence..."

"Object" means "goal" or "purpose." "Design" means that our life on earth was created in a specific way so that we could obtain this goal of happiness.

Are YOU accomplishing the goal or purpose of your existence? Are you living your life so that you can have happiness in this life and in the life to come?

Jesus Christ used the word "happy" only once in the New Testament record. After washing his disciples' feet and teaching them about the important of serving others, he said: "If ye know these things, HAPPY are ye if ye do them." John 13:17

Happiness does not come from being self-centered, self-serving or selfish. Happiness comes when we follow the Savior and serve others. Christ endured great suffering during his time on earth. But He also experienced great joy. After healing the Nephites and Lamanites of all of their sicknesses and afflictions, and seeing their great faith in Him, He said: "...Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full. And when he had said these words, he wept..." (3 Nephi 17:20-21)

Happiness and joy come from living the gospel and serving others.

Our calling as full-time missionaries is simple in its purpose and amazing in its impact. We are called to "invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end."  We could could re-phrase our purpose to: "Invite others to be happy."

As people accept our message, great peace and happiness enter their lives. Yesterday I met with several wonderful people who are preparing to be baptized this week. Their hearts and their faces were full of the new-found happiness of the gospel. Several of them wept with joy because they will finally be clean and they will be closer to their God. So many people try to find happiness in sin and selfishness but, as Alma taught: "Wickedness never was happiness." (Alma 41:10)

Let us each choose happiness, as we live the gospel and serve others. Let us go forward with renewed enthusiasm and faith to invite others to partake of "The Plan of Happiness." (Alma 42:8)

The full quote from the Prophet Joseph is:

"Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness and keeping all the commandments of God." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 255-256)

King Benjamin said: " I would desire that you would consider upon the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful unto the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness." (Mosiah 2:41)

Let us live, as Nephi's people did "after the manner of happiness" (2 Nephi 5:27)

May the Lord bless you, my fellow-servants, that you will have true happiness--the happiness of righteousness and service to others.

I pray that the Lord will bless us to bring many, many people into His perfect plan of happiness.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler