Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016-10-17 President's Message

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Thank you for your amazing faith! Thank you for loving the Lord so much that you were willing to leave everything behind to serve Him here.

One of the greatest experiences of serving a mission is seeing someone you have loved, taught and prayed for get baptized. As you watch them standing in the water...as the simple but sacred words of the baptism ordinance are said..."Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen"...as they are immersed in the water and then come up again...as you see the smile and joy on their face...you experience one of the truly joyful moments in the life of a missionary.

The Spirit of the Lord is stronger at baptism services than almost any other time or place. Why? Because Baptism is the Gateway. Baptism is the first essential step in returning to live with our Heavenly Father.

"Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught: "We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives...We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and BAPTISM and confirmation in order to OPEN THE DOORS OF THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM TO THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD. No one else can do this." (Preach My Gospel, p. 9)

The reason he says that "no one else can do this" is because baptism must be performed by proper priesthood authority. Even Jesus Christ needed to be baptized and even Jesus Christ needed to be baptized by someone with proper authority (John the Baptist). The gift you bring to those you teach is very precious and it includes the proper authority to baptize.
This week in your zone meetings you will be learning about the importance of bringing recent converts to the temple to perform sacred baptisms for their ancestors. This is an important part of the conversion process. Our mission vision includes baptism, full activity in the Church, temple baptisms, temple preparation and temple ordinances. But when you think about our mission vision, or when you recite your Missionary Purpose, the word BAPTISM should always be in capital letters in your mind. Your main purpose as a missionary is to help people to repent and learn the gospel so that they can be BAPTIZED.

I invite you to pray for BAPTISMS in every prayer. I invite you to make BAPTISM the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning. I invite you to make BAPTISM the last thing you think about when you go to sleep.

When you OYM, when you teach, when you walk down the street, think about the joy that will come as these people repent, change their lives and make covenants with God through BAPTISM.

Heavenly Father answers prayers. He really does. He listens lovingly and carefully to your prayers. When you pray with all of your heart, when you are specific in your prayers, when you are doing your part, He will answer your humble request.

What do you need to do to bring more people into the waters of baptism?

1. Be exactly obedient.

2. Focus your mind and heart on serving the Lord. Push out all worldly concerns or distractions.

3. Work diligently, with a purpose, every day. What is the purpose? BAPTISM.

4. Be hopeful. Exercise faith. Be positive. Expect the Lord to bless you. I promise that He will.

I look forward to many joyful times as you and I witness many of those we love enter the waters of BAPTISM...and enter the gateway to eternal life.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler