Saturday, November 19, 2016

2016-11-20 President's Message

Dear Sisters and Elders,
What is the most valuable thing you have ever held in your hands?
Was it a large amount of money? Was it a diamond? Was it a valuable piece of art?
All of these things are worth a lot of money, but they have only temporary value. They are not the most valuable things in this world.
When I ask myself this question, I think of holding Sister Ostler's hand across the marriage altar. She is very precious to me.
I think of holding each of our newborn children in my hands when they were only 5 minutes old. They are priceless gifts from God.
I think of each of you, my precious missionaries, as I held your hand the first time I met you.
Yes, the most precious things in our lives are PEOPLE.  But these are not just human animals that live on this planet with us. These are valuable, loved daughters and sons of God. These are individuals with divine potential and great worth.
Henry B. Eyring said: "Whoever you are, and wherever you may be, YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS THE HAPPINESS OF MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE."
Your influence is much, much greater than you can imagine. You literally hold in your hands the eternal happiness of others.
We are not on this earth or on this mission to just "do our time" or to "punch the clock." You have been called by God and set apart by priesthood authority to bring eternal happiness to His children--those you teach, and their ancestors.
The great missionary, Alma, understood this when he said: "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God...Yea, I wold declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." (Alma 29:1-2)
His goal? His goal was to eliminate all sorrow and replace it with joy.
John the Revelator prophesied, about those who accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ by repenting and following Him: "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7:16-17)
Isaiah describes the blessings that Jesus Christ will bring to those that we bring to Him: "...He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the comfort all that give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Your actions, every minute of every day, have a great effect on the lives of others.  Someone once said that: "People's lives turn on small hinges." People become ready to change without warning. Often it is a small act of kindness or a small invitation that leads to huge changes. Many people feel some emptiness in their lives. At some point they realize deep down that there is more to life than simply surviving.
Your role is to point the way back to God. Your role is to serve and teach and lift. Your role is to selflessly give your time, your talents and your energy to bless their lives.
Alma said: "Now you may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by SMALL and SIMPLE THINGS are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." (Alma 36:6-7)
I invite you to pray with all of your heart to see the people around you as valuable children of God. I invite you to live your lives and serve the Lord, realizing that YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS THE HAPPINESS OF MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.
"If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you accountable for the people you might have saved, had you done your duty." (John Taylor)
Let's live the gospel and serve the Lord with all of our hearts. Let's bring the happiness and peace of the gospel to everyone within our reach.
Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler