Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015-08-23 President's Message

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Our mission vision can be expressed in words or in a pictures. As you read this letter, please picture some specific people you are teaching. For my purposes I will use the names Jocelyn and Victor. Imagine the following pictures:

Picture 1:Before this Life: The first picture to bring to your mind is a picture of Jocelyn and Victor before this life. They lived as spirits with Heavenly Father. As they eagerly looked forward to coming to earth, their greatest hope was to find the gospel of Jesus Christ. As they watched missionary work coming to the Philippines they jumped for joy with the hope that someday a faithful, spiritual missionary would meet them. They hoped that they would be receptive to their message. Picture the great light and hope in their eyes.

Picture 2: The Day they Meet The Missionaries: The second picture is 30 years later. Jocelyn and Victor have met each other and are married, but life is not as happy as they had hoped. They love each other but there are arguments and stresses. But on this day, Jocelyn is working at the family fruit stand and a couple of missionaries stop to talk to her. These missionaries have prayed and fasted to find someone to teach. They have committed to the Lord that they will be exactly obedient, to show the Lord that they truly desire this great gift of someone to teach. This picture shows the day that the missionaries greet her at the fruit stand. With smiles and in a friendly way they greet her. She smiles back and feels something inside as they ask to share a message.

Picture 3: Dressed in White-Baptism: Two months later is a great day! After being taught the lessons, giving up some bad habits, performing service in the church, and feeling the spirit change their lives, they are dressed in beautiful white. This picture shows each of them smiling in front of the baptism font. (If you look in the audience of this picture you will see tears of gratitude in the eyes of two missionaries.)

Picture 4: Dressed in White-Temple Ordinances: The next picture is one year later. Again, Victor and Jocelyn are dressed in white. This time they are kneeling at the altar of the Holy Temple, being sealed for time and all eternity. One of their original missionaries is still in the mission and is present. The two missionaries currently assigned their area are present, along with ward members and leaders. The spirit is strong in this picture as an eternal family is begun.

Picture 5: Dressed in White-Blessing Children: One year later, Jocelyn has a new baby girl. This blessed little girl is born in the covenant of the temple. A month after her birth, Victor, who holds the priesthood, blesses her during sacrament meeting. He tenderly holds this sweet little girl, all dressed in white. After the meeting, they take a picture and send it to their missionaries.

Picture 6: Dressed in White-Baptizing Children: Eight years later, both Victor and their daughter are dressed in white again, this time for her baptism.

Picture 7: Dressed in White-Temple Sealing of Children: Fifteen years later, this daughter is dressed in white, along with her worthy young fiance. They are sealed in the temple, with Victor and Jocelyn shedding big tears of joy. They send a picture to their beloved missionaries so that they can share in their happiness.

Picture 8: Dressed in White-You, Victor, Jocelyn and their family: Fast forward many years later, after this life. You are dressed in white. Victor, Jocelyn and their children and grandchildren all live in the presence of Heavenly Father. As you come to see them, you see hundreds of their family members--including past ancestors who received the gospel after this life and whose temple work Victor and Jocelyn have performed.  You also see hundreds of their descendants who learned the gospel from Victor and Jocelyn as their parents, grandparents or great grandparents. Has you survey this happy scene, the scripture is fulfilled for you..."And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me,how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" (DC 18:15-16)

Elders and sisters, as you pray for the Lord to bless you in this great work of salvation and exaltation, pray to see these pictures in your mind for those you are finding and teaching. Teach, testify and love with all of your heart. Get rid of every distraction and every bit of selfishness or self-centeredness. I promise you that the Lord has these exact pictures ready for you, if you will do your duty. This is a work of great joy. We are blessed to participate and to taste the joy that comes from blessing the lives of these precious people.

May the Lord bless you to experience the mission vision and the joy that is waiting for you.