Monday, March 20, 2017

2017-03-20 President's Message "A Fresh Start"

Dear Sisters and Elders,
This week is Transfer Week! This is the week when every missionary knows that his/her world can change in an instant. You can be transferred to a different island, to a different companion or to a different area. You can be called to lead or be released from leading. You can be moved after only a few weeks or assigned to stay in the same place for many months. The most important thing to do during transfer week is to exercise FAITH--faith that this is the Lord's work; faith that the Lord will strengthen you; faith that you are called by inspiration; faith that you can do it.

We learn from Lehi's family in the Book of Mormon how to deal with change. The difference between Nephi and his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, was not their circumstance. It was how they acted in their circumstance. The Lord, through their father Lehi, asked them to go back to Jerusalem and undertake the dangerous assignment of obtaining the sacred records. Laman and Lemuel doubted and complained. Nephi prayed, exercised faith and received the help of the Lord. The Lord did miracles through Nephi because of his faith.

When the Lord sends a change into your life, do not complain--pray, and then act in faith.
Every transfer is a time for a FRESH START, a new beginning, a time to put the past behind you. It is a time to ACT IN FAITH. It is a time to welcome the future with enthusiasm. It is the time to remember what you felt during your last interview. It is a time to remember what you felt when you were taught by an apostle of God. It is the time to remember the kind of person you wanted to become when you started your mission.

I invite you to make a fresh start this week. The past is the past. The future is in front of you. The Lord is by your side.   "...I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." (DC 84:88)

The Lord gives us a fresh start more often than every 6 weeks during Transfer Week. Every time you take the sacrament with full purpose of heart you are making a fresh start. Yesterday I was blessed to partake of the sacrament twice--once in Narra Branch and once in Sandoval Branch. Twice I felt the sweet, peaceful Spirit of the Lord giving me strength and helping me to start anew. I love taking the sacrament. I love receiving the gift of the Atonement of Christ. I love knowing that God forgives me. I love having a fresh start in my life every week.

Taking the sacrament gives us the chance to start our lives anew. It is a time, step-by-step to become the daughter or son of God that we can become:  "For the natural man/woman is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)  "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Every week, for the rest of your life, accept a Fresh Start. Accept the blessings of the Atonement. It always surprises me when someone becomes too lazy or distracted to come to church. It always surprises me when someone is offended and stops coming to church. Taking the sacrament is so important and so meaningful...and so essential if we are to return to our Heavenly Father...that NOTHING should ever get in our way, nothing should stop us, from taking it. Receiving the fresh start of the sacrament each week should be a major focus of our lives. If we partake of the sacrament properly each week, we will live with God again. Without it, we are probably on the wrong track.
May the Lord bless you my dear elders and sisters, not just during Transfer Week, but every week, as you partake of the sacrament and make a fresh start in your life.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler